Swedish was proud to host several community clinics and their patients this week at a vigil on our First Hill campus. The goal was to urge lawmakers, who are currently in Olympia and facing difficult decisions about the state’s budget crisis, to protect funding for community health clinics dedicated to serving uninsured and low-income individuals.
More than 200 individuals gathered at the vigil.
Local clinics – such as Country Doctor, Health Point, International Community Health Services, Sea Mar, Seattle Indian Health Board and Neighbor Care – play a vital role in the health care safety net of our community.
And they are some of Swedish’s most important partners. Together, we work to provide access to health care for those in need regardless of income or insurance status.
In this economy, however, that has not been easy. We have seen a surge in uninsured and low-income patient populations. Swedish provided $112 million in charity care, Medicaid subsidies and other community benefits in 2010, double the amount from the previous year.
Meeting the needs of underserved populations is something no single organization can do alone. It requires partnership and collaboration.
Our work with the community health clinics is an excellent example of that. The community clinics play an important role by providing front-line primary care in local community. Swedish supports their work by making our hospitals, diagnostic services, specialists and ERs accessible to their patients and providers.
While we understand the budget realities facing our state, we encourage you to learn more about this critical issue and we urge our lawmakers to seek creative solutions to these difficult problems.
Thank you to all those who attended this week’s vigil, and thank you to the community clinics for the important work you do.