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Advocate Aurora Health contributed $2.1 billion to community charitable care and services in 2018

The nonprofit health system has sponsored numerous programs and services that help address social determinants of health.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

Advocate Aurora Health, which primarily serves Illinois and Wisconsin, contributed $2.1 billion in charitable care and services in 2018, which is more than a $110 million increase over the previous year.

To respond to unique community needs across its geographic footprint, the nonprofit health system sponsored numerous programs and services, including behavioral health and school-based care, wellness screenings, workforce development initiatives, community-building efforts and more -- all of which can have an impact on the social determinants of health.

The system's community programs focus on expanding access and removing barriers to care, as well as preventing illness, properly managing health concerns and addressing the social and behavioral factors that influence wellness.

WHAT'S THE IMPACT

Advocate Aurora's community benefits contributions in 2018 included charity and other uncompensated care that is provided free, subsidized or without full reimbursements from Medicare, Medicaid or other government-sponsored programs

Another contribution was subsidized health services that respond to unique community needs, including trauma services, behavioral health services, health screenings, immunization programs, school-based healthcare and other community outreach programs.

In addition to those, the system also spearheaded community-building initiatives, workforce development programs and neighborhood support; education to train physicians, nurses, radiology technicians, physical therapists and a host of other skilled healthcare professionals; volunteer services provided by team members who donate time to supporting their communities; and language assistance and interpreter services, as well as translation for signage, forms, brochures, patient education materials and information in languages other than English

Advocate Aurora also made contributions of equipment, supplies, and meeting and clinic space, as well as other assistance to community groups.

WHAT ELSE YOU SHOULD KNOW

One of hundreds of programs carried out in communities from northeast Wisconsin to central Illinois, the Aurora Healing and Advocacy Services Forensic Nurse Examiners, or FNEs, provide free, trauma-informed care and follow-up referrals at Aurora Sinai Medical Center in Milwaukee, resulting in individual and group counseling sessions for more than 4,300 people in 2018.

Dedicated FNEs assisted survivors through interventions with employers, creditors, landlords and academic institutions; as well as transportation needs, interpreter service encounters, crisis interventions and on-scene crisis responses.

In Oak Lawn, Illinois, Advocate Christ Medical Center's Primary Care Connection program connects patients that seek routine care in the emergency department with more appropriate, lower-acuity care options available in their communities. Community health workers also assist with care coordination, schedule follow-up appointments and link patients with local social services that can contribute to their overall well-being.

The result is prevention of inappropriate ED utilization and subsequent readmissions. Since the program launched in 2016, it has expanded across multiple hospitals and served more than 20,000 patients.

ON THE RECORD

"These critical programs and services reflect our commitment to building healthy communities and our team members' dedication to helping people live well both within and beyond our hospital walls," said Jim Skogsbergh, president and CEO of Advocate Aurora Health. "By taking a collaborative, data-driven approach to addressing gaps in care with community stakeholders, together we are creating better conditions for health and well-being."

Focus on Social Determinants of Health

In September, Healthcare Finance News, Healthcare IT News and MobiHealthNews will take a look at the SDOH and how varied health systems, IT companies, Congress and others are addressing it.

Twitter: @JELagasse

Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com