In support of patient populations that face unique health challenges brought by socioeconomic disparities, Swope Health served 40,000-plus people in 2020. Of those patients, 64 percent lived below the federal poverty level; more than 2,800 were experiencing homelessness; and almost seven out of 10 were Black or Hispanic.
The pandemic added a new layer of complications for many patients served by Swope Health. The disproportionate economic impact widened the gap even further for access to basic care, COVID-19 testing, and vaccines; along with higher mortality rates as fewer patients sought treatment for chronic health issues like diabetes and high blood pressure.
Swope Health responded by expanding its outreach to meet patients in their communities for care, treatment, testing, and many other support services. The team brought COVID-19 testing events to 80 metro locations including schools, community centers, and support/recovery programs – and those efforts now include regular vaccination clinics. Swope Health quickly ramped up its telemedicine offerings; prioritized coping skills, job education and training; and held back-to-school events with supplies for children and families.
Swope Health also worked to drive change among government and health agencies, civic groups and stakeholders. The team supported voter registration efforts and led community discussions on racism and health injustice. In addition, Jeron Ravin, JD, Swope Health President and CEO, was appointed this year by Mayor Quinton Lucas to serve on Kansas City’s COVID-19 Vaccine Task Force, with the goal of ensuring equitable and efficient COVID-19 vaccine distribution across the city.
The successes of last year through a very challenging time, as demonstrated in the recently published annual report for 2020, have added to the foundation of Swope Health’s commitment to service that it has built for more than 50 years.
“In looking back at 2020, we are even more energized and committed to driving lasting change today,” Ravin said. “Our mission is built on improving the health and wellness of the community by delivering accessible, high-quality patient care with joy in service. And we are just getting started.”
Now, through 2021 and beyond, Swope Health’s proactive steps toward addressing health inequities for a stronger and healthier community include:
- An approach of whole-person patient care, including physical, emotional and behavioral health
- Prioritizing comprehensive care and services for children
- Serving and advocating for patients wherever they are in the community
- Breaking down barriers to care
- Fighting systemic health injustices
- Securing more community partnerships
This year brings some exciting progress toward meeting these goals, including a capital campaign and planned groundbreaking on the new PACE KC Adult Wellness Center to support Jackson County’s first Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE). The PACE program is designed to provide qualified Jackson County residents age 55 and older with a full range of personalized health and wellness services, so they can age gracefully in their home communities.
Other key developments include the recent redesign of the Swope Health Central Pharmacy facility, with a new drive-through lane for safe, fast and easy prescription services; and the October 2021 opening of the first Swope Health Kids Care Clinic at the Emmanuel Family & Child Development Center, offering pediatric primary care, dental care, and behavioral health programs.
“We are honored and thrilled to lead the way in serving and caring for our local communities that need it most,” Ravin said. “With a dedication to an integrated model of healthcare that answers the challenges for all patient populations in Kansas City, we invite everyone to join us in our march toward making care visible and forging a path to health equity.”
Swope Health’s 2020 Annual Report is at https://swopehealth.org/who-we-are/history/. You can also download a PDF copy of the report. Go directly to the Flipbook version: https://online.fliphtml5.com/ochel/nbkf/#p=1