For Release: May 06, 2011
PALO ALTO, Calif. — Throughout its 20-year history, Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford has been committed to providing world-class care to children and expectant mothers. In 2010, the hospital further expressed that commitment through a $144 million contribution to a variety of community benefit programs. From caring for publicly insured patients and homeless teens to putting nurses back in schools, the hospital continues to use innovative strategies designed to lower the barriers to obtaining high-quality, consistent health care.
Many hospitals or physician groups won’t accept patients enrolled in public insurance programs such as MediCal because the low reimbursements contribute to financial shortfalls. Not only does Packard Children’s accept these publicly insured patients, it also administers several types of programs that benefit underserved children and families throughout the region. “We are equipped to treat children with extraordinarily complex medical needs,” said Candace Roney, executive director of community partnerships at Packard Children’s. “Families in need are thrilled to have access to our caregivers and to know that we offer advanced care that might not be available to them elsewhere.”
The hospital’s largest community contribution in 2010 was $129 million to cover the shortfall in reimbursements from government programs. Other contributions in 2010 included over $1 million in charity care for children with no insurance or with extraordinarily high medical expenses; nearly $11 million to help educate pediatricians in training; and $3.3 million for a variety of community health-improvement services and financial assistance for local organizations, said Roney.
In addition to providing the community with access to cutting-edge medicine within the hospital’s walls, the hospital has also worked to reach out and care for those who may be homeless. For almost 15 years, Packard Children’s has provided this assistance through its “Teen Van”, a mobile health clinic that brings basic health services to uninsured and homeless teens at school and community locations in San Francisco, Santa Clara and San Mateo counties. The hospital has also contributed funding to build and staff local health clinics, such as the Ravenswood Family Health Center in East Palo Alto. Since its opening in 2001, Ravenswood has grown to the extent that almost every child in the East Palo Alto school district now has a medical home. Through this partnership, Ravenswood has built capacity, adding such programs as mental health and dental services. In 2010, Packard Children’s began a similar partnership with San Mateo County clinics. Rather than building a new clinic from scratch, the hospital is helping existing clinics increase capacity by providing physicians or nurse practitioners, or providing the funding for the clinics to hire additional pediatricians.
Also in 2010, another important community benefit continued gaining momentum: the hospital’s five-year Putting Health Care Back Into Schools Initiative. To study the effects of re-establishing school nurse positions in local schools, in 2008 the hospital partnered with the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health, the San Jose Unified School District and the School Health Clinics of Santa Clara County. This consortium funded four new, full-time nurses to provide asthma, vision, hearing and scoliosis testing and management, care for children with serious chronic conditions when attending school, and other health programs such as vaccinations. The program has made a dramatic impact on students’ health, wellness and school attendance. It has also inspired other nurses in the San Jose Unified School District to increase vision and other testing. Packard Children’s hopes the data collected from this project will firmly establish this benefit and inspire additional funding from other sources.
The hospital’s community benefits are not just focused on care but also on education. That’s why in 2010 Packard Children’s began partnering with El Camino Hospital and HealthTeacher Inc. to provide comprehensive health education for kids from kindergarten through grade 12. With 300 lesson plans in the 10 health topic areas aligned to national and California health education standards, Health Teacher’s curriculum covers health, wellness and prevention on subjects such as alcohol, tobacco and other drugs; anatomy; community and environmental health; injury prevention; mental and emotional health; nutrition; personal and consumer health; physical activity; family health and sexuality. Funding from Packard Children’s and El Camino Hospital in Mountain View makes the program available free of charge to teachers in Santa Clara County public schools. This three-year collaborative project has so far been adopted in 10 districts with 179 schools, potentially reaching more than 127,000 children.
“Without our comprehensive Community Benefits program, many children would face serious barriers to receiving medical care for chronic conditions, having a medical home for routine care, or have access to education to promote healthy lifestyles, Roney said. “These benefits represent our ongoing commitment to the health of all children , and it’s a commitment that never ends.”
Stanford Medicine Children’s Health, with Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford at its center, is the Bay Area’s largest health care system exclusively dedicated to children and expectant mothers. Our network of care includes more than 65 locations across Northern California and more than 85 locations in the U.S. Western region. Along with Stanford Health Care and the Stanford School of Medicine, we are part of Stanford Medicine, an ecosystem harnessing the potential of biomedicine through collaborative research, education, and clinical care to improve health outcomes around the world. We are a nonprofit organization committed to supporting the community through meaningful outreach programs and services and providing necessary medical care to families, regardless of their ability to pay. Discover more at stanfordchildrens.org.