On the same day that nursing staff is taking a vote on whether to strike (not actually striking, as originally reported), the new behemoth of Catholic health care Providence St. Joseph Health issued the following press release from Seattle and Irvine simultaneously:

Press release:

SEATTLE, Wash. and IRVINE, Calif. – July 6, 2016 – Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health have come together to create Providence St. Joseph Health, a not-for-profit health and social services system that will serve as the parent organization for more than 100,000 caregivers (employees) across seven states. The newly formed system celebrated its first day by committing to be a catalyst for improving mental health care in the United States.

“A cornerstone of our missions is addressing significant social, community and health needs of our most vulnerable populations,” said Rod Hochman, M.D., president & CEO, Providence St. Joseph Health. “One of the most challenging health issues facing our communities today is access to effective mental health services. Together, we will convene diverse partners and will be a catalyst for change for the many who struggle with mental health stigmatization, diagnosis and treatment.”

“Today, we bring together two organizations with shared values, aligned missions and like-minded founders – the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange and the Sisters of Providence,” said Annette Walker, interim CEO, St. Joseph Health. “Our heritages inspire us to deliver on a new promise to make communities healthier through best practices, expanded access, and greater affordability and services for those who need them most. Our mental health initiative demonstrates our commitment to future generations.”

The Institute for Mental Health and Wellness: A catalyst for change

Providence St. Joseph Health has created the Institute for Mental Health and Wellness, supported by an initial $100 million investment that will be used to identify and advance innovative solutions in mental health.

An expert advisory panel will be convened to create a blueprint for improving mental health care in U.S. communities. Maureen Bisognano, recently retired president and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, will serve as the chair of the panel, working alongside Dr. Hochman.

“Improving mental health care takes leadership on all levels, as well as a major commitment of resources,” said Bisognano. “I am looking forward to leading a national conversation around mental health and am excited about what we can achieve together.”

As a part of the efforts, Providence St. Joseph Health and the advisory panel will collaborate with national and local organizations with expertise and long histories of addressing mental health.

“This is an important step in the right direction as we work to address the many gaps in our nation’s mental health system,” said Linda Rosenberg, president and CEO, National Council for Behavioral Health. “I am confident we will make meaningful strides, bringing new hope to the many individuals and families who are affected by mental health challenges.”

The Foundation for Mental Health and Wellness: Funding solutions in communities

The health system has established the Foundation for Mental Health and Wellness to oversee this work, with an initial investment of $100 million. The fund will support research and startup operations for mental health awareness, diagnosis and treatment. Fund distributions will be made through a formalized grant process and be available internally to Providence St. Joseph Health entities as well as other organizations within the communities it serves. Members of the expert advisory panel will provide strategic guidance on the distribution of funds.

The Institute for Mental Health and Wellness will begin operating immediately and the expert panel will convene in the coming months, under the leadership of Chair Bisognano.

“This is a new day for the people of Providence St. Joseph Health, and especially for the communities we serve,” said Dr. Hochman.


About Providence St. Joseph Health

Providence St. Joseph Health is committed to improving the health of the communities it serves, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. With 50 hospitals, 829 physician clinics, senior services, supportive housing and many other health and educational services, the health system and its partners employ more than 100,000 caregivers (employees) serving communities across seven states – Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas and Washington. With system offices based in Renton, Wash. and Irvine, Calif., Providence St. Joseph Health is the parent organization of Providence Health & Services and St. Joseph Health, enabling the family of organizations to work together to meet the needs of its communities, both today and into the future. Formed in 2016, the Providence St. Joseph Health family includes the founding organizations, and in: Texas, Covenant Health and Covenant

Medical Group; California, Facey Medical Foundation, Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian and St. Joseph Heritage Healthcare; Washington, Kadlec Regional Medical Center, Pacific Medical Centers and Swedish Health Services.