Providence Health System in northeast D.C. (Courtesy of Turner Construction Company)
Providence Health System in northeast D.C. (Courtesy of Turner Construction Company)

Since our founding more than 150 years ago, Providence Health System has regularly evolved to meet changing health care needs in the District. Our evolution continues this month, as we transition from providing hospital services, including emergency care, on April 30, to boldly moving toward a transformation that will better align our offerings with community needs with the goal to help improve health outcomes overall.

We are committed to identifying and addressing gaps in care delivery, transforming health care in D.C. to serve the needs of the community—especially for those who live in poverty—and we will continue to provide needed services including: primary care, specialized geriatrics care, skilled nursing care, a pharmacy and free medications to those who need it most. Additionally, we are working to provide immediate care access through an urgent care center, which is opening soon.

Our exciting new journey is being guided by changes in how people we serve want to access healthcare. Often, emergency room admissions are preventable through access to timely and appropriate primary care. The District’s recent Community Health Needs Assessment and the DC Health Systems Plan found that the top health concerns of area residents included: managing chronic disease, caring for an aging population, and increasing access to mental and behavioral health services. Since these top health concerns are most effectively addressed in an outpatient setting, Providence is re-investing and redeploying its resources from hospital-based care to primary, and community-based services. This will allow us to deliver a new evolution of care that area residents want, need, and deserve.

The ongoing changes at Providence also reflect a new and exciting frontier for health care. As the industry continues to evolve, gone are the days where providers only cared for people when they were sick. Our changes reflect our mission to partner with patients to support their well-being as a whole person — in times of illness and good health.

We have a responsibility to care for the poor and vulnerable in innovative ways that meet their needs. The transformation happening at Providence is designed to be a model for the rest of the country, and there is no better place to act on this bold new vision than in our nation’s capital.

Our focus for providing care will also be inclusive of both the traditional and non-health-care-related services that impact the wellbeing of individuals and communities, including addressing the social determinants of health — those economic and social conditions that influence individual differences in health status. We are committed to partnering with community organizations to support the non-medical factors that can influence up to 80 percent of a person’s health and well-being.

Providence has been a beacon for hope, change and innovation since our founding as the first hospital in the District. By evolving our services and addressing both the medical and non-medical determinants of health, we’re confident we can better meet patients’ needs and dramatically improve health outcomes. For more information on our transformation, please visit ProvidenceHealthyVillage.org.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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