2019 Strategic Grant
Legal-name: St. Mary Medical Center Foundation
Address: 1050 Linden Ave
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: John Wagner, Interim President/CEO
First-name: Rose M. Wright
Title: Director of Grants
Tel-952: (562) 491-9225
Textarea-499: The purpose of the grant is to assist St. Mary in purchasing new, weather appropriate clothing for homeless patients being discharged from the hospital, as mandated by Senate Bill 1152 which was recently signed into law.
How-many-years: One (1) year
What-is-project: The request is to support St. Mary’s response to Senate Bill (SB) 1152 – effective January 1, 2019 – that requires all California hospitals licensed by the California Department of Public Health, to offer homeless patients upon discharge weather appropriate clothing. According to this mandate, prior to discharging a homeless patient, hospitals are required to document and perform a checklist of non-medical related events including offering the homeless patient a meal, weather appropriate clothing and transportation to a certain destination within a 30-mile radius.
Prior to the new law, St. Mary often depended on the generosity of staff and donors to provide gently used clothes to those being discharged without adequate clothing. SB 1152 was passed mid-fiscal year, so no funds had been set aside by St. Mary to comply with the new law. Without a fund directly attributed to this mandate and a limited amount of donated clothes, we have been forced to discharge some patients with ill-fitting clothing or – when donations have been low – paper scrubs which can only be worn for a short time before becoming unwearable.
St. Mary service area has regions that are economically challenged, has a great deal of homelessness, and has an influx of transitory populations. A recent Tri-annual Community Benefit Report conducted on behalf of St. Mary Medical Center, states that the majority of the homeless population was concentrated in central Long Beach, southwest of Signal Hill, mostly in zip codes 90802 and 90813 – where St. Mary is located.
Every week, we find ourselves providing not only quality medical care to homeless patients who come to us, but clothes to sometimes replace what could not be salvaged but most times, to provide what was missing when they arrived. Currently the Emergency Department spends between $700 – $800 each month to comply with the new law, which provides clothing to approximately 40 homeless patients each month upon discharge. This cost has routinely not included the purchase of shoes, which must be purchased moving forward to adhere to the law.
A part of the mission of St. Mary Medical Center includes serving and advocating for our sisters and brothers who are poor and disenfranchised. One of our core values is ‘dignity’; respecting the inherent value and worth of each person.
The issue of homelessness is broad and complex however, providing homeless patients with clean, fresh clothing upon discharge is a small yet meaningful act that can help restore dignity in addition to giving them an extra layer of protection during inclement weather.
How-will-you-succeed: Success for us means full adherence to SB 1152, which states: “If the homeless patient’s clothing is inadequate, the hospital shall offer the homeless patient weather-appropriate clothing.” Beginning next fiscal year, the cost of purchasing clothing will be included in the operation budget of the hospital. The St. Mary Medical Center Foundation is continuously seeking funds in support of the operation and programs of the Medical Center and is committed to partnering with others who support our mission. We also plan to partner with clothing vendors and solicit additional funding to establish a clothing closet on campus, maintained by our community health department, from which we can obtain appropriate clothing for those in need upon discharge.
Beginning next fiscal year, the clothing closet will fall under the hospital’s a mission programs, and supports the intent of St. Mary Medical Center’s founders, the Sisters of Charity of the Incarnate Word. The continuing costs of maintaining the clothing closet will be supported by the Foundation’s fundraising activities, along with support through our Community Benefits. Each year, a Community Benefit Report is compiled to capture the result of support given to the community by the hospital. Last year, St. Mary Medical Center provided close to $30 million in patient financial assistance, unreimbursed costs of Medicaid, community health improvement services, community grants and other community benefits.
Who-are-you: St. Mary Medical Center (St. Mary) is a 389-bed, acute care, nonprofit hospital that offers a full range of inpatient, outpatient, and related health and wellness services to the greater Long Beach area. Founded in 1923, St. Mary has remained an important institution of service to the communities it serves.
Recognized by the government as a Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) – eligible to receive partial compensation for treating a high percentage of indigent and very low income patients – St. Mary is tasked with providing care to low-income residents in the city of Long Beach regardless of their background or ability to pay for services. The St. Mary service area has regions that are economically challenged, has a great deal of homelessness, and has an influx of transitory populations; many of the residents in the service area live below the poverty level and many neighborhoods and communities are considered underserved.
The Mission of St. Mary is:
We are committed to furthering the healing ministry of Jesus. We dedicate our resources to:
• Delivering compassionate, high-quality, affordable health services;
• Serving and advocating for our sisters and brothers who are poor and disenfranchised; and
• Partnering with others in the community to improve the quality of life.
John Wagner – former President of St. Mary Medical Center Foundation – currently serves as Interim President, ensuring continuity in our operations, vision and mission. The Foundation has successfully solicited and received hundreds of grants and contracts from various private foundations and government entities since the Foundation’s forming in 1970, ensuring that programmatic objectives and reporting requirements were met. These grants build on St. Mary Medical Center’s proven capability and extensive background in: implementing health education/access projects for vulnerable populations, successfully developing and maintaining a wide range of hospital and community-based, grant funded, health programs and guiding patients through the continuum of care.
Additionally, the Foundation has received grants of close to $3 million from UniHealth Foundation, including a current $500,000, two-year grant to help address the needs of homeless people with mental illness and/or chronic medical conditions who frequent the Emergency Department.
St. Mary Medical Center collaborates with many community partners from the nonprofit and private sectors, local universities and the Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services to assist with the implementation of community benefit goals and objectives. Working collaboratively with these community partners, the hospital provides leadership and advocacy, stewardship of resources, assistance with local capacity building, and participation in community-wide health planning.