St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center Community Benefits Programs Aid Region

More than $13.2 million reinvested in community through hospital’s programs

BRIGHTON June 8, 2015 – St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, a teaching hospital of Tufts University School of Medicine, and member of Steward Health Care, invested more than $13.2 million back into the region in 2014 through its Community Benefits Program including approximately $5.8 million in charity care.

The programs funded through St. Elizabeth’s were aimed at improving patients’ access to health care, behavioral health, management of chronic disease and substance abuse prevention and intervention. These areas of support were determined through a needs assessment conducted by the medical center in 2012-2013 in the surrounding communities served by St. Elizabeth’s. The medical center also provided an additional $1.4 million in community service programs such as volunteerism and spiritual care at the hospital.

“We are proud of the contributions that we have made back to the Allston-Brighton community through these programs,” said Roger D. Mitty, interim president of St. Elizabeth’s. “Our Community Benefits programs are helping families put nutritious, healthy meals on the table, undergo preventative health screenings and receive the help they need particularly when facing difficult issues such as mental health or substance abuse health-related problems.”

Working through its Diabetes Center, St. Elizabeth’s provided nearly $8,000 in support to nearly 40 individuals through a Farmers Market voucher program. The vouchers enabled participants to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at local farmers’ markets. Through the Diabetes Center, they also received one-on-one sessions with a diabetes nurse and dietician for instructions on healthy eating and portion control. Approximately 60 percent of program participants completed at least three of four months of the program, receiving $1.00 per day per family member in vouchers.  About 85 percent of participants attended a farmers’ market at least weekly and 83 percent of participants found it easy to prepare meals using produce found at the market while and 86 percent of participants prepared at least between one and five meals each week using market produce.

In addition to distributing vouchers through the hospital’s Diabetes Center, St. Elizabeth’s also provided approximately $15,000 in vouchers to St. Mary’s Center for Women in Dorchester, MA to operate their own voucher program.  As a residential center, St. Mary’s was able to offer group outings to farmers markets as well as information and education around healthy eating in order to improve knowledge of the health benefits of incorporating fresh fruits and vegetables into daily meals and the availability of fresh produce at farmers markets.

The programs also provided assistance to more than 200 patients through the St. Elizabeth’s Emergency Department through a behavioral health navigator who coordinated wrap-around services for patients who frequently use the ED. Through screening, the navigator provided early detection, a brief intervention, and referral to appropriate services for patients with behavioral health problems such as mental health and alcohol and drug-related health issues. The position also worked to accept referrals from outpatient clinics, refer to community agencies as necessary, and provided education and consultation to clinical staff to ensure achievement of quality outcomes.

 St. Elizabeth’s also provided nearly $60,000 in annual funding to the Allston Brighton Health Collaborative. Last year the organization expanded its membership to 70 agencies, conducted a Neighborhood Health Assessment report and formed committees focused on food access and substance abuse, mental health and behavioral health, among other accomplishments.

Dozens are area residents also benefited from St. Elizabeth’s programs by participating in health screenings including monthly blood pressure screenings at the Watertown Mall and Watertown Housing Authority. Blood pressure screenings were also provided in partnership with community organizations including Brighton High School, the Oak Square YMCA, WGBH, the Brazilian Women’s Group, and the Allston Village Farmers Market.  Nearly 60 community members participated in annual skin cancer screenings at the hospital and within the community last spring and in October of 2014, St. Elizabeth’s also provided a breast cancer awareness event to educate the public about the disease and provide community members with the opportunity to obtain a mammogram.

“We look forward to continuing to support the communities that we serve and providing opportunities for people to improve their quality of life through better health care access, resources to manage their medical needs and preventative screenings,” Mitty said.

All non-profit hospitals are required to provide community benefits; however, St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center, part of the Steward Health Care System, provides the same level of community benefits as non-profit hospitals as well as pays real estate taxes to the City of Boston. In 2014, the taxes topped $6.5 million.

 

About St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center
St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center is a major academic medical center affiliated with Tufts University School of Medicine.  Areas of medical excellence include vascular and endovascular surgery, cardiology, neurosciences, general and robotic surgery, bariatric surgery, women’s health, high-risk obstetrics, bone and joint health, hematology/oncology, pulmonary medicine and emergency medicine.  St. Elizabeth’s is a member of Steward Health Care, which is the second largest health care system in New England.  Visit St. Elizabeth’s online at www.semc.org

 

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