Penn State Health’s first Community Benefit Report highlights work to improve public health

A woman dressed in scrubs is sitting at a table with a man. She is taking his blood pressure. They are both smiling.Julie Groh, right, a community health nurse with Penn State Health, takes Jose Deleky\’s blood pressure in front of the Caring Cupboard in Palmyra.

Penn State Health and Penn State College of Medicine are committed to serving the growing health care needs of central Pennsylvania residents. Penn State Health’s first Community Benefit Report, “Healthy Communities, Healthy Futures” details the positive impact of the health system and College of Medicine’s efforts to improve mental health, health equity and wellness/disease prevention in the region. The core counties served by Penn State Health’s community outreach are Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lebanon and Perry.

Vanessa Garcia, left, director of Medical Outreach Sources in Harrisburg, talks with Juan Romero Martinez at a health clinic.

Penn State Health contributed community benefits with a total value of $156,730,522 during fiscal year 2022. These included effective programs; compassionate charity care; unreimbursed Medicaid costs; and supplemental medical, dental and pharmaceutical services. These programs and initiatives provide access to underserved and marginalized populations that otherwise are unable to access basic care and preventive measures. In fiscal year 2023, Penn State Health donated $903,559 in charitable purpose sponsorships and contributions to nonprofit organizations and provided approximately $50,000 in community grants.

January 18, 2024Penn State Health News

“Our commitment to improving the lives of Pennsylvanians doesn’t end within the walls of our hospitals and medical offices,” said Steve Massini, Penn State Health CEO. “We partner with schools, churches, shelters, food pantries and other organizations to try to give every adult and child the best opportunity to live healthy lives.”

Penn State Health and College of Medicine employees spearhead more than 30 community health programs that include:

  • Cancer prevention, education and navigation
  • Food access programs across the region
  • Screenings and assessments for school-age children
  • Mental health and substance use disorder community programming and psychiatry community outreach
  • Health equity, including community health fairs and access to clinics

A woman gives a young girl an eye exam

Tara Simmons, a community health nurse from Penn State Health, helps 5-year-old Summer Mateo during her eye exam at the Lebanon Free Clinic.

These programs reached thousands of underserved central Pennsylvanians in fiscal year 2023, including helping more than 8,400 people access health care, reaching more than 5,300 people through 15 community gardens managed by Penn State Health and providing more than 900 people at community partner organizations with mental health first aid and trauma-informed care training. Since 2021, Penn State Health’s Medical Outreach Service has served more than 31,000 residents in the region.

Penn State Health and the College of Medicine collaborate on a Community Health Needs Assessment every three years to guide strategies in serving the health care needs of area residents. The most recent assessment identified three key health issues: mental health, health equity and wellness/disease prevention. By offering free health screenings, creating community gardens and providing behavioral health training to teachers and child therapists, the health system, the College of Medicine and community partners are actively addressing those issues and improving the health of people throughout the region.

“Our mission is clear – to improve the health and well-being of the people of Pennsylvania and beyond. With the help of our community partners, we’re ensuring that everyone has an equal opportunity at a healthier life,” Massini said.

Click here to read the full community benefit report

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