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Wednesday, May 25, 2022 9:41 AM

Partnerships key to Community’s wide-ranging outreach

Giving Back

Community Health System’s mission to create a healthier community for all takes more than just medical care. Last year, Community Health System provided $231 million in uncompensated care, medical education, outreach and patient support services in the Valley — about 12% of the hospital system’s operating expenses. The details on how we create a healthier community for all are published annually in our Community Benefit Report.

In this three-part series, we explore how Community partners with others to help feed the hungry, provide Spanish-speaking diabetes educators, promote the need for COVID-19 vaccinations, support mental healthcare in our community and train healthcare professionals for the Valley.

Ada was alone and living in a shelter when she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had no family support system and no way to get to her numerous medical appointments.

“A staff person at the shelter connected me with the American Cancer Society,” Ada said, “and ACS gave me the tools and support I needed to understand my diagnosis. I felt calm and without fear thanks to them. With the help and compassion of ACS, I was able to receive free transportation to my life-saving treatments and a place to stay closer to my cancer center.”

Last year, Community Health System helped fund the American Cancer Society’s “Road to Recovery” program — a service that provides rides to and from appointments for low-income and disadvantaged patients with cancer. Community also supported the Cancer Society’s temporary lodging program as part of its $231 million community benefit work in fiscal year 2021. 

These types of community benefit investments are based on a tri-annual Community Health Needs Assessment done jointly among more than a dozen hospitals and health partners in Fresno, Kings, Madera and Tulare counties and facilitated by the Hospital Council of Northern & Central California. 

Building relationships

Efforts to improve the community’s health status vary from sophisticated medical research that addresses the Valley’s unique health needs to lactation education and support for new mothers, many of whom delivered their babies outside our hospital system. 

With community benefit funding last year, Community also partnered with other organizations on trauma prevention, transportation, housing support for cancer patients, feeding needy families and training neighborhood health advocates.

promotoras lead a fitness class for the communityIn addition, Community helped secure a grant through its leadership role in the Fresno Community Health Improvement Partnership’s Diabetes Collaborative to hire eight promotoras and a program coordinator. 

The Diabetes Collaborative along with Every Neighborhood Partnership, a nonprofit serving low-income Fresno neighborhoods, is using the grant funding to educate recognized neighborhood community leaders on the promotora health promotion model. Promotoras engage Latino, Hmong and Black families and individuals at risk of developing diabetes and chronic disease conditions in their own neighborhoods.

Community also contributed $165,000 to Fresno Metro Ministry’s Food to Share program to help redistribute 1 million pounds of nutritious food from schools, retail stores and produce packers that otherwise would have gone to waste. More than 22,100 local residents facing food insecurity were able to pick up fresh produce from food distributions and community pantries through Food to Share’s efforts in fiscal year 2021.

A long tradition of service

Going beyond the services for patients by providing resources and education that benefit Central Valley families has been a part of Community’s mission for more than a century. 

Community serves as the area’s main “safety net” provider, caring for our region’s most vulnerable populations and providing the only Level I Trauma Center and comprehensive burn center between Los Angeles and Sacramento.

More than $1.8 billion invested in the past decade

Community has historically spent more on uncompensated community benefit than all other Fresno-area hospitals combined, investing an average of 10-15% of the healthcare system’s operating budget on “community benefit” work.

Since 2012, Community has provided more than $1.8 billion in community benefit, with the single largest unreimbursed cost being for Medi-Cal patients. 

Statewide, Community Regional Medical Center had the second highest number of Medi-Cal patients discharged from the hospital.

For more details on how Community Health System is creating a healthier community for all, please read our Community Benefit Report.

View previous articles: Bringing more medical expertise, access to Valley residents and Addressing Central California's mental health needs