Sinai Health System dedicated $43,952,717 to community benefits during fiscal year 2014
Located on the west side of the city of Chicago and serving a population base of 1.5 million people in its service area ZIP codes, Sinai Health System (Sinai) consists of six member organizations located in a four square block main campus. They are Mount Sinai Hospital, Holy Cross Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital, Sinai Community Institute, Sinai Medical Group, and Sinai Urban Health Institute. Sinai has a number of clinics that are located on the west and south sides of Chicago. There is also one facility, Sinai’s Touhy Clinic on the north side of Chicago, which sees refugees from many nations (for example Sudan, Iraq and Burma) as well as resident Orthodox Jewish and Russian populations. With the exception of the Touhy Clinic, Sinai Health System serves primarily African-American and Latino patients.
Sinai Health System is considered a “safety-net” provider since its communities are some of the most economically challenged in Illinois. Approximately 50% of Sinai’s payor mix is Medicaid with an additional 10% is uninsured.
- Sinai provides valuable clinical experiences for the next generation of caregivers. As a teaching, research, and tertiary care organization, Sinai hosts eight residency programs totaling 160 physicians in training and provides learning opportunities for medical, allied health, nursing, social work, pharmacy and many other students.
- Mount Sinai Hospital’s Emergency Department had 51,169 patient visits in FY 2014 and among those patients the proportion of uninsured was 23%. Holy Cross Hospital had 45,378 Emergency Department patient visits.
There were 1,292 inpatient admissions to Sinai Children’s Hospital and its Pediatric Intensive Care Unit in in FY 2013. The Neonatal Intensive Care Unit admitted 302 patients and there were 2,653 births in the Labor and Delivery Unit.There were 331 births at Holy Cross Hospital.
- Sinai is the largest employer on the west side and represents an essential positive economic force for neighborhoods where unemployment rates are far greater than the national average.
- Sinai’s medical interpreter services support 150 different languages including American Sign Language (ASL). Along with ASL, Sinai has one of the strongest medical programs in the nation for Deaf and Hard of Hearing patients.
From health disparities to community health improvements
Sinai’s programs and community outreach are based on scientific epidemiological assessments of local neighborhoods done by Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI). In addition to the work of epidemiologists, SUHI community health educators work with neighborhood groups and go door to door for further identification of individuals with chronic disease and for intervention in disease processes.
Through its community-based asthma education interventions, Sinai demonstrated that for every $1 invested in community health educators, up to $14 in acute care services can be avoided. In human terms this means that families are less likely to seek emergency services for their asthmatic children because the asthma is better managed. In cooperation with the Chicago Housing Authority, SUHI implemented Helping Children Breathe and Thrive in Chicago Public Housing. Documentation of this project as well as letters from a program participant and a community health worker resident of the public housing complex are included in Unit B support materials.
SUHI study findings identified a breast health disparity in the Chicago area between minority women and Caucasian women. In response to these findings one set of actions SUHI has taken are community health worker- organized “mammogram” parties to encourage women of color to get screening mammograms. Over the course of four mammogram parties spanning eight months and seven same day service events at community clinics, SUHI facilitated 76 women getting mammograms. These were women who would have been at risk for never getting screening without the SUHI intervention.
Another community intervention is the Block by Block North Lawndale Diabetes Community Action Project. SUHI epidemiologists calculated diabetes mortality rates using Illinois vital records death certificate files and census data and found that the diabetes mortality rate in North Lawndale is 62% higher than for the US and 37% higher than for Chicago. The extreme need described through these findings was impetus for the project. Through Block by Block, community health workers went house to house inquiring whether the occupants had family members with diabetes or knew about a neighbor with diabetes. By developing relationships with individual residents, community health workers were successful in teaching noncompliant diabetics how to monitor their blood sugar, weigh regularly, increase their activity levels and make modest adjustments to their diets. Residents were more inclined to listen and engage in constructive diabetes-related conversations since community health workers for this project are from the neighborhood and are also diabetic.
An additional aspect of this project is participation of the only full service grocery store in this “food dessert” community. In partnership with SUHI, Leamington Foods labeled “diabetes friendly” items and would regularly offer discounts on them.
Community need and success of the Block by Block North Lawndale Diabetes Community Action Project led Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois to partner with Sinai Health System in extending the Block by Block Project to South Lawndale and Pilsen, both Latino communities. North Lawndale is largely African American.
Sinai Community Institute (SCI) is a health system-based outreach organization with 30,000 client visits per year across 25 different programs. All programs support the health and well-being of individuals and the community by focusing on women- infants- children, families, teens, and seniors. Ninety-five percent (95%) of SCI’s clients are low-income minority women and children. In many instances the programs provide life changing services by, for example, ending isolation for seniors, providing positive options instead of street options for teens, or teaching high school –age and younger mothers how to care for their babies and delay additional pregnancies until high school graduation is achieved.
Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital builds healthier communities through the In My Shoes Violence Prevention Program. In My Shoes educators, all former gang members and people with disabilities, most using wheel chairs, visit schools and community groups, explaining what gang membership is really like. The educators’ language is plain, direct and non-judgmental but it addresses what youthful audience members have never thought about: the possibility of living with a disability.
Stabilizing presence in a complex urban environment: community building
Irrespective of scarce resources, Sinai reaches out to the community, partnering with groups and individuals in reducing health disparities, improving health status and individual well-being. Sinai is mindful that giving patients “voice” means providing medical interpreter services and cultural sensitivity. Sinai Health System supports “Deaf Health,” a collection of language and culturally sensitive services for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. This includes physicians, who are fluent in ASL, health fairs for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, ASL interpreters, IVIN (Interactive Video Interpreter Network) and health education.
With almost 4,000 employees, Sinai Health System is among the largest economic engines on Chicago’s West Side.