CommonSpirit Health and United Way Worldwide Partner to Address Root Causes of Illness

Alexandria, Va. and Chicago, Ill.—March 25, 2019—CommonSpirit Health and United Way Worldwide are creating a new partnership to improve the health and quality of life for communities and people in need. This first-of-its-kind effort between one of the largest health systems in the U.S. and the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit, will initiate a series of projects designed to enhance health while also reducing the overall cost of care. The partners will address the social determinants of health by connecting people to the resources they need to be well.

“We are reaching beyond our hospital walls to address the root causes of serious health issues. Too many people lack stable housing and access to healthy food, which makes them more susceptible to disease,” said Charlie Francis, Chief Strategy and Transformation Officer for CommonSpirit Health. “CommonSpirit Health is committed to supporting our neighbors with the most innovative approaches to illness prevention and improving the health of all Americans. Our partnership with United Way Worldwide will bring smart solutions to issues that are endemic in our communities on a national scale.”

Research shows many social factors – such as lack of affordable housing, transportation hardships, food insecurity, and inadequate mental health services – can lead to chronic illness. According to the Centers for Disease Control, 90 percent of the nation’s $3.3 trillion in annual health care expenditures for people with chronic and mental health conditions are often preventable. United Way reports that the most frequent inquiries to 2-1-1, the nation-wide service connecting millions of people to help, are related to food and housing insecurity, both major social determinants of health – and issues that can be remedied.

“United Way is committed to improving the health of every person in every community and we are confident that with our partnership with CommonSpirit Health we will be able to deliver impact at scale,” said Mary Sellers, United Way U.S. President. “CommonSpirit Health’s hospitals and clinics are anchors in their communities, where local United Ways are uniquely positioned to rapidly convene business and community leaders and solve complex problems, such as barriers to health.”

CommonSpirit and United Way Worldwide have outlined five priorities for their partnership. These include:

  1. Developing new models to provide holistic care for people in their communities;
  2. Leveraging technology and innovation to engage and serve individuals’ unique needs;
  3. Strengthening 2-1-1, the comprehensive immediate needs service that connects people with resources ranging from food and housing assistance to programs for veterans and domestic violence victims;
  4. Enabling more efficient communications and coordination among community-based organizations; and
  5. Building a strong, accessible safety-net of community organizations addressing non-clinical needs.

The organizations plan to leverage their longstanding local partnerships by piloting programs in several communities served by CommonSpirit’s Dignity Health system in California in 2019, with the goal to expand and scale the successful models and solutions in other states.

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About United Way

United Way fights for the health, education and financial stability of every person in every community. Supported by 2.9 million volunteers, 8.3 million donors worldwide and $4.6 billion raised every year, United Way is the world’s largest privately-funded nonprofit. Engaged in nearly 1,800 communities across more than 40 countries and territories worldwide, United Way creates sustainable solutions to the challenges facing communities. United Way partners include global, national and local businesses, nonprofits, government, civic and faith-based organizations, along with educators, labor leaders, health providers, senior citizens, students and more. For more information about United Way, please visit UnitedWay.org. Follow us on Twitter: @UnitedWay and #LiveUnited.

 

About CommonSpirit Health

CommonSpirit Health is a nonprofit, Catholic health system dedicated to advancing health for all people. It was created in February 2019 through the alignment of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health. CommonSpirit Health is committed to creating healthier communities, delivering exceptional patient care, and ensuring every person has access to quality health care. With its National Office in Chicago and a team of approximately 150,000 employees and 25,000 physicians and advanced practice clinicians, CommonSpirit Health operates 142 hospitals and more than 700 care sites across 21 states. In FY 2018, Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health had combined revenues of $29.2 billion and provided $4.2 billion in charity care, community benefit, and unreimbursed government programs. Learn more at commonspirit.org.

 

Media Contacts:

Southerlyn Reisig
Director of Public Relations
United Way Worldwide
[email protected]
Tel. 703.836.7100 ext.321

Chad Burns
External Communications Manager
Dignity Health
[email protected]
Tel. 415.544.2364