Providence to invest $50M to reduce health disparities

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Renton, Wash.-based Providence health system is investing $50 million over the next five years to reduce racial disparities in healthcare, officials announced Sept. 1. 

Providence said the systemwide investment will immediately focus on supporting pandemic response, including expanding outreach and education for people of color and boosting the COVID-19 testing supply to marginalized communities. It also will support expanding care access and ensuring COVID-19 treatment and a vaccine, when available, are distributed equally. 

"Population health is focused on understanding the whole population and the health disparities within that population, and then working to improve health outcomes for everybody," Rhonda Medows, MD, president of population health at Providence, said in a news release. "Existing health disparities are being amplified and exacerbated by the pandemic, so it is critical that we take immediate steps to support minority populations who have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19 as part of our commitment to health equity."

Providence's new investment will be driven by data, the health system said, and will include collaborating with Providence regions to identify specific health disparities in their local communities.

Providence is a 51-hospital system with regions in Alaska, Montana, Northern California, Southern California, Texas, Washington state and Oregon.


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