As CEO, I am incredibly proud of Swedish’s unwavering commitment to provide care to everyone who walks through our doors. We believe in serving our communities with the highest quality care delivery by the best physicians, nurses and other caregivers.
In 2017, Swedish spent almost $200 million on community benefit programs. This included $23.9 million in free and discounted care, a 12% increase from the prior year. Swedish is also proud to care for Medicaid patients in our community, serving more than 107,000 Medicaid distinct patients in 2017.
Over the last five years alone, Swedish has invested more than $900 million in community benefit and, by the end of 2018, we are on track to increase this to more than $1 billion. This incredible investment ensures that those who cannot afford health care on their own or through their employer are not denied access but are instead treated with the same respect and high quality, compassionate care as those who can.
Not only are we working to ensure that free or discounted care remains possible, but we are also focused on improving access to care in other ways. We are committed to addressing growing community health concerns in a variety of areas including the mounting opioid epidemic, the increasing need for mental health services, the critical issue of reducing disparities in birth outcomes through improved maternal and child health initiatives, and the vital request of our LGBTQ community for a welcoming and inclusive environment for medical care. Through our Community Health Needs Assessment, we are focused on helping to address these needs that are directly shaped by geography, demographics, environmental exposure, health-related issues and socioeconomic factors. We are committed to the health and wellness of the communities we serve and believe it is our responsibility and our privilege to be a significant influencer in ensuring that people in our communities have the resources and help they need to live healthy, happy lives.
As a part of this, we also firmly believe in partnerships and our legacy is built on working closely with more than 120 large and small local non-profit organizations – like Lifelong, March of Dimes and the American Diabetes Association, Community Lunch on Capitol Hill and the Somalia Health Board – in order to find innovative and measurable ways to reduce health care costs and improve the health of all people in our community. Our 2017 Community Benefit Report provides just a few examples of some of our partnerships and investments that are focused on addressing these needs.
Our organizational promise would not be impactful if it were not for the commitment and compassion of our employees. Not only do our employees provide exceptional care and support for our patients, but they also collectively volunteer thousands of hours in the community through individual and group service. I am consistently amazed and inspired by our Swedish employees, who, in 2017 spent 6,500 hours in community service.
I am honored to lead an organization that has made such an impactful pledge to serve the people of our community. Thank you for your partnership in supporting our efforts in 2017.