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Community Benefit Report

2014 Community Benefit Report

Mission: to improve the health of the individuals and communities we serve.

(Approved by the Sinai Health System Board of Directors, 2005)

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 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 the 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 with community health workers for this project are from the neighborhood and are also diabetic.

An additional aspect of this project is the participation of the only full-service grocery store in this “food desert” 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.

Healthier communities
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 wheelchairs, 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.

Overview of Sinai’s outreach, unique approach to health disparities, and the Sinai Hospitals

Sinai Community Institute
Sinai Community Institute (SCI) provides health education, employment counseling, case management and nutrition services that address the social and economic factors affecting the health of the community’s most vulnerable members—infants, children, adolescents and older adults.  Ninety-eight percent of SCI’s clients are low-income women and children.  At a glance, the SCI programs include:


  • Sinai Parenting Institute/The School for Parents
  • Family Development Initiative
  • Elder Abuse and Neglect
  • Chicago Family Case Management
  • Illinois Subsequent Pregnancy Program in Lawndale


  • The Learn Together Afterschool Program
  • Sinai All Kids
  • North Lawndale Immunization Project
  • SCI’s Juvenile Intervention Support Center (JISC)


  • Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program
  • Whole Foods Market Smart Shopper Initiative
  • Sinai Healthy Living Initiative
  • Supplemental Nutritional Assistance
  • How Healthy is Your ZipCodeTM community health education   


  • The Technology Center at SCI
  • Work Force Development, Construction Trades Training, Youth Career Development Center
  • Sinai Senior Services
  • Illinois Poison Center Program

Enrolling community members in quality, affordable healthcare insurance

  • Based on outstanding performance October 2013 through Spring 2014, Sinai ACA was awarded a 30% increase in grant dollars for the 2014-2015 enrollment year.  SCI will service 2 regions the west-side of Chicago and Cicero/Berwyn.

Sinai Urban Health Institute
Sinai Urban Health Institute (SUHI) is a public health-focused entity made up of a diverse group of epidemiologists, research assistants and health educators. On a neighborhood by neighborhood basis, they study the prevalence of chronic disease in communities served by Sinai Health System. The mission of SUHI is grounded in the belief that in order to serve its neighbors well, it’s important to understand not only patients but the entire community. The results of SUHI research shapes its programs so that better community engagement, disease prevention, and treatment will help to reduce health disparities and bring greater health equality.

The Affordable Care Act and Community Health Survey
As part of the Affordable Care Act of 2010, each hospital facility in the U.S. must conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA). This very important aspect of that Act mandates that hospitals must assess the health of the communities they serve, not just the patients who walk into their buildings, and that they must make a plan to improve community health.

Epidemiologists at SUHI have identified significant community health opportunities at the neighborhood level in the areas served by Sinai Hospitals. In follow up to its ground-breaking, comprehensive door-to-door survey for improving health conducted in 2002-2003, SUHI completed community health needs assessments for Mount Sinai Hospital, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital and Holy Cross Hospital.

The findings show large disparities in health across the neighborhoods Sinai serves, with African American communities bearing the greatest burden. In response to these health disparities, SUHI has implemented the following interventional and engagement projects:

  • Avon “Helping Her Live” Breast Cancer Project—Funded by Avon, this program provides breast health education outreach initiatives and patient navigator services. In FY 2012, SUHI made contact with 880 women, 554 of whom went on to have mammograms, and many for the first time.  Specially trained patient navigators assist women through Sinai Health System to obtain breast health services, including screening mammograms, follow-up to abnormal mammograms, services for women with breast symptoms and any treatment as needed.
  • Chicago Westside Pediatric Asthma Intervention—This home visit-based program is designed to ease the asthma burden experienced by many west side Chicago families. It provides resources and support needed to more thoroughly address the issues that impede a family’s ability to effectively manage a child’s asthma.
  • The Lawndale Diabetes Project—This community diabetes prevention project sends SUHI caregivers to conduct household screenings for diabetes and childhood obesity in Lawndale, a predominantly underserved and at-risk neighborhood on Chicago’s Westside.  Home visits provide important information regarding diet and exercise, and offer opportunities to gather family histories and share information about medical care and medication for individuals. The visits also provide insightful data that paints a broader portrait of the health of the community-at-large.  Since the project’s inception in March 2012, the multi-level community intervention has reached over 4,600 homes.  The project’s educational campaign, community engagement strategies and individual self-management training impacted an additional 350 persons. 

Mount Sinai Hospital and Sinai Children’s Hospital
Mount Sinai Hospital is a 319-licensed bed teaching hospital that provides a wide array of high quality medical, surgical, behavioral health, therapeutic and diagnostic services.  The Emergency Department, a Level 1 Trauma Center, provides care to over 56,000 patients each year.  The Labor and Delivery unit welcomes over 2,600 newborns annually. 

Sinai Children’s Hospital includes a Level III (highest level of care) neonatal intensive care unit, a pediatric intensive care unit, pediatric trauma care, pediatric surgery and anesthesiology.  A wide range of specialty pediatric care is available at Sinai Children’s Hospital, including gastroenterology, nephrology, allergy, hematology, endocrinology, urology, and neurology.  Sinai Children’s Hospital also offers a variety of resources, including a pediatric weight management program and an HIV/AIDS program.

Community Benefits Features

  • Level III Neonatal Intensive Care Unit — the highest level of care for fragile newborns
  • Pediatric Intensive Care Unit—specialized care for children with serious or life-threatening injuries or illnesses
  • Sinai Children’s Hospital (located within Mount Sinai Hospital)
  • Major teaching hospital that trains more than 700 healthcare professionals through undergraduate, graduate, residency and fellowship programs
  • Sinai Interpreter Services, Deaf Health Program and Illinois Video Interpreter Network (IVIN) make health-related communications available 24/7 for patients who do not speak English

Accreditations and Certifications

  • The Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval
  • Accreditation, College of American Pathologists; Certification, CMS Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA)
  • Emergency Department Approved for Pediatrics Certification (EDAP)
  • American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer
  • Ultrasound Practice Accreditation, American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine
  • Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care
  • Primary Stroke Center

Additional Quality Recognitions

  • Surgical Care Improvement Project (SCIP)
  • Innovation in Quality Award (Illinois Hospital Association)
  • Illinois Hospital Association Pledge Quality Achievement Award
  • Participant in High-Value Healthcare Collaborative

Holy Cross Hospital
Holy Cross Hospital (Holy Cross), a Catholic community hospital, serves the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago’s Southwest Side. Originating in 1928, the hospital was sponsored by the Sisters of St. Casimir and over the years has continued to provide healthcare to all. For fiscal 2014, Holy Cross had 8,793 inpatient admissions. The hospital is accredited by the Healthcare Facilities Accreditation Program (HFAP) and holds a special HFAP Primary Stroke certification.

Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital
For more than 25 years, Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital (Schwab) has offered comprehensive inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation services to adults and children and is one of only three freestanding rehabilitation hospitals in the Chicago area. With 102 licensed beds (81 acute; 21 sub-acute), Schwab’s intensive inpatient rehabilitation program includes three hours of therapy on five or more days a week, helping patients attain functional goals more quickly.

Schwab’s staff of board-certified physiatrists and physical, occupational and speech therapists work in tandem to help patients and families achieve their personal best outcomes.

Schwab has the only fully accessible computer lab for people with disabilities on the west side of Chicago.

Schwab has been an academic partner of the University of Chicago for more than 10 years and Schwab Rehabilitation Hospital physicians hold academic appointments in the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine.

Core programs

  • Stroke
  • Brain Injury
  • Spinal Cord Injury
  • Amputation
  • General Neuromuscular and Musculoskeletal/Orthopedics
  • Pediatrics


Extended (community) services

  • Peer mentors – Brain injury and spinal cord injury
  • Horticultural Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Vocational Program
  • Disability Resource Center
  • Community Technology Center
  • Recreational Opportunities
  • HIV Prevention Program
  • Community Connections for Refugees with Disabilities
  • Deaf Health Program

Major accreditations