Sylvania Franciscan health stills serves

To the editor:

In recent weeks, there has been an important debate in Ohio concerning health care funding. That debate concerns whether Ohio should join in the Medicaid expansion program, which is part of the Affordable Care Act.

Trinity Health System in Steubenville is a co-sponsored organization, one sponsor of which is the ministry of Sylvania Franciscan Health, which is the health care ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania. As a Catholic health care ministry, we are driven by our mission to care for the poor and underserved, as Jesus did. We treat everyone who comes to our door because that is who we are. Last year, Trinity Health System provided nearly $12.5 million in charity care in this community and as a health system Sylvania Franciscan Health contributed $50 million across all of its ministries.

Expanding the Medicaid program would mean that our system would be reimbursed for some of those costs – funds that we can reinvest in maintaining high quality of care and ensuring everyone in this community can access the services they need.

However, expansion of the Medicaid program does not absolve the health care industry from its responsibility to fundamentally reinvent itself.

All throughout Sylvania Franciscan Health, which consists of facilities in three states and more than 6,000 employees, we are working to prepare ourselves to be part of a sustainable health care model in the United States. By pooling the expertise found across our system, we can help improve the health of all of our communities, including Steubenville.

To date, these efforts include better coordination across the continuum of care, upgrading our information technology tools and improving patient education at discharge time, to name just a few. In total, initiatives reflect a system-wide focus on reinventing how we deliver health care.

There will be a lot of change, but, Fred Brower, the president and chief executive officer of Trinity Health System, and I believe the challenge of creating healthier communities is compelling and exciting. Above all, we are committed to caring for the people of Steubenville in accordance with our mission.

James W. Pope

President and CEO

Sylvania Franciscan Health