Happy holidays and thank you

What a year! There are so many things to say about 2016. The past 12 months have been a time of change, both internally and externally, and a time of important, new opportunities to meet the needs of our communities.

We brought together two long-standing organizations with similar rich heritages, as we joined as Providence St. Joseph Health. And we have put a stake in the ground to address the growing mental health crisis affecting the lives of so many individuals and families in our communities. We also served nearly a million more people this year – most of whom are newly insured under the Affordable Care Act. This is good news because it means more individuals are finally getting the care they need and deserve. But it also brought challenges. While we served significantly more people, we were reimbursed about the same amount as the year before, requiring us to make difficult decisions to reduce the overall cost of care.

Though these are challenging times for health care in the United States, I am optimistic for the future, and I’m excited about what we’ll achieve together in 2017. This past year, you may have heard me talk about six key focus areas that will be important for next year and beyond: population health; whole person care; the digital platform; strengthening our core services; genomics; and mental health and wellness.

Along with patient safety, high reliability and incredible clinical outcomes, a key part of strengthening our core is faithfulness to our Mission. Although we show this faithfulness through our programs and services every day, it is important to call it out, especially in times of financial uncertainty and big question marks around where health policy will move with a new administration in Washington, DC.

In 2016, we celebrated the 160th anniversary of Mother Joseph and the Sisters of Providence arriving in the Pacific Northwest. The “Sisters of Charity of the House of Providence” originally incorporated as a not-for-profit for the “relief of the needy and suffering humanity in the care of the orphans, invalids, and the sick and the poor, and in the education of youth.” That promise lives on today, through each of you.

Every morning, I wake up and think about three things: the eight million people we serve every year; our 107,000 caregivers; and our dear neighbors, the countless poor and vulnerable who struggle to access compassionate, high-quality care. If we all continue to focus on those three populations, together, we will keep the legacy of all of our founders intact for generations to come.

Merry Christmas, happy holidays, and thank you for everything you do to help extend our Mission every day. I hope you find time to relax and recharge with family and friends as we wind down the year. And to those of you working over the holidays – thank you for the care and hope you give our patients and their families.

  1. As you know, you provided many caregivers the gift of pink slips for the holidays, with their last day being January 6, 2017. I am one of those unfortunate souls. It seems not many organizations are hiring during the holidays.

    It would have been nice if you had added an extra thank you, sorry to lose you, when you mentioned difficult decisions, i.e., laying off many loyal caregivers. Decisions which may well add some of us newly unemployed to the ranks of the poor and vulnerable if we cannot find work in time. Its not just the reimbursement level remaining flat that caused this crisis, there are other factors that you know better than I. I pray better future decisions prevent more layoffs of quality support personnel, because it inevitably leads to missing the mark on Providence’s Core Values: Stewardship of people, Excellence of work in all aspects, clinical and non-clinical. Non-clinical excellence is suffering from these mass layoffs.

    Regardless how the System Administration of Providence behaves, the hospital that takes care of me when I am ill is still near and dear to my heart. The Clinical care is spot on, the support services need to be stable to support it though. Please take steps to return Providence to its spiritual roots, it needs to be run like a business, of course, but not to the detriment it becomes too secular to model God’s love as it should.

    May the Lord provide for all those leaving Providence employment as of 1/6/17.

    • Rebecca – Thank you for taking the time to share this comment. You are correct. This has been a challenging year that has required us to make painful decisions affecting some of our talented and dedicated caregivers. Thank you for your years of service and commitment to our Mission and the poor and vulnerable in our communities. You and all our affected caregivers and their families remain in our prayers every day. With my deepest gratitude – Rod

      • Rod, I believe what Rebecca is commenting on highlights a much larger issue. The system’s routine lack of professional culture and dignity while top executives clench tightly to a “Mission” to which their sole interests revolve around the almighty dollar.

        Enjoy the holiday bonus, Rod.

        Rebecca, best of luck in your job search

      • Thank you for your comment. I appreciate hearing from everyone. Please be assured that our Mission of serving our communities, especially the poor and vulnerable, is always at the heart of everything we do and drives every decision we make. Best to you.

  2. I didn’t realize that Swedish is now known as Providence St. Joseph Health. I thought we were just affiliated with them.

    • Mary – To clarify, Swedish is still known as Swedish and there is no change to the Swedish name or brand. Swedish is part of the larger Providence St. Joseph family, which serves communities across the Western U.S.