Providence Hospital
**FILE** Providence Hospital (Courtesy photo)

In a move that repositions patient care from acute to preventative and community-based, Providence Health System announced today a transformation of services believed best-suited to the needs of residents. While maintaining traditional engagements with the District’s care populations, Providence will begin focusing on collaborative work that effectively removes barriers to healthy lifestyles at the close of 2018.
“We know that 15 percent of a person’s life is spent in actual healthcare, which means the remaining 85 percent is spent in other areas that either positively or negatively impact their overall well-being,” said Keith Vander Kolk, Health System President and CEO in a prepared statement. “That is where the greatest opportunity to make meaningful change lies, and we must put our focus and energy on advancing a model of transformation that will serve the District in new and lasting ways.”
The new Providence will look to transform the way care is delivered in the District with a new community-focused perspective that provides other types of needed services, such as care coordination, telehealth/virtual care, primary and urgent care, home care, community-based behavioral healthcare, and senior care. In addition, Providence will look at non-healthcare-related services that impact an individual’s well-being. This new approach will allow Providence to take a leadership role in transforming healthcare delivery.

Ruth Pollard, Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Providence Hospital (Providence Health System) / Courtesy picture

“We are committed to our mission that we serve all – especially the most vulnerable. Our shift to focus on community health will allow us to engage community and civic leaders, look at the data [detailing the needs of District residents] in a collaborative way, and to shift – keeping health at our center, but also addressing those factors that keep people healthy and out of episodic visits to the hospital,” Ruth Pollard, Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at Providence Hospital (Providence Health System) told the Informer. “We are looking to create collaborative solutions, using a holistic approach that does not duplicate services.”
Providence Health & Services rests on a 160-year tradition of caring for the city’s most vulnerable, often disenfranchised residents. That care, established by the Sisters of Providence (Sacred Heart nuns) in 1856, championed a ministry for a continuum of medical care that spanned the lifetime of the patient – from birth to end of life, and resulted in the erection of Providence hospital in 1861. Pollard believes that mission will be further enhanced by the transformation.
Providence and Ascension will remain in the District and continue to provide care for the community through this transformation, according to Pollard. The plan will utlize task forces, representing associates and physicians throughout Providence, who will have a voice in defining targeted transition plans for the future of Providence. While acute care services will close, these bodies will also review plans for all other services, such as Carroll Manor, Providence’s skilled nursing facility, which will continue to operate uninterrupted as part of Ascension Living, the senior living and care division of Ascension.
“It is important, and we are committed to making sure we continue to engage our consumers and civic leaders in meeting the needs of seniors, for instance. What does that future look like? Agencies that represent senior populations, which include the D.C. Office on Aging, would help us provide the services our seniors need to be healthier – whether that is staying in their homes, or offering outpatient therapy.”
Director of the D.C. Department of Health LaQuandra Nesbitt, said the shift would work towards larger goals for the city’s health.
“DC Health’s vision is for the District to be the healthiest city in America,” said Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt, Director of the DC Department of Health. “Providence’s new approach is a positive step towards creating a comprehensive, accessible, equitable healthcare system capable of providing the highest quality services in a cost-effective manner to those who live and work in D.C.”
Providence’s transition also touts the increased utilization of technological innovation and digital, personalized care – necessary tools in the future of expedited and efficient care delivery.
“Digital, personalized heath and care coordination ensures that as our patients and consumers navigate through systems of health and even social services, there will be better communication and sharing of respective data. This allows all service providers — health and non-health providers – to contribute to the wellness in the patients,” Pollard told the Informer. “The needs-assessment data we’ve collected over a decade shows that barriers to healthy living like affordable housing, transportation, and employment, can be addressed in the District as we all come together to engage and collaborate.”

Dr. Shantella Y. Sherman

Dr. Shantella Sherman is a historian and journalist who serves as the Informer's Special Editions Editor. Dr. Sherman is the author of In Search of Purity: Eugenics & Racial Uplift Among New Negroes...

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