Baystate Health's Community Benefits Mission
is to reduce health disparities, promote community wellness and improve access to care for vulnerable populations.
“Creating an inclusive workplace in which all are engaged and committed to providing culturally competent patient-centered care is vital to our mission.We set out to improve the health of our communities every day, with quality and compassion. Recently, we asked employees what makes Baystate Health a special place to work and hundreds responded that our compassion, our diversity, our standards for excellence, and the uniting of our talents help us deliver a higher state of caring.”
At Baystate Health, we understand that good health transcends medicine. For each of us, and our communities, health is a complex sum of genetics, environment, opportunity, and life choices. That is why our commitment to improving the health of our communities extends beyond the walls of our hospitals and into the homes, schools and neighborhoods of the communities we serve.
Commitment to Healthier Communities
Baystate Health is committed to creating healthier communities. Maintaining and enhancing trusting partnerships within the community furthers our commitment to improving the lives of the most vulnerable members of our community. We extend the traditional definition of “health” to include economic opportunity, affordable housing, education, safe neighborhoods, the arts, and supporting and valuing diversity – all elements that enable families and communities to thrive.
In keeping with this commitment to improve health, Baystate Health provides many valuable services, resources, programs and financial support – beyond the walls of the hospitals and into the communities and homes of the people we serve; including various community benefit programs, sponsorships of more than 200 non-profit community organizations and events and involvement of Baystate leadership with over 70 community boards that align with the mission of Baystate Health.
Baystate Health includes three not-for-profit hospitals that have a responsibility to respond to health care needs unsupported by government programs. In exchange for this responsibility, Baystate qualifies for tax-exempt status under §501(c)(3). However, providing hospital care alone is not enough to qualify for tax-exempt status. Hospitals also must operate in the public interest and provide community benefit programs.
A community benefit program responds to specific health needs of a particular group of community members identified through a community health needs assessment process with the active collaboration of community members.
The objectives of community benefit programs are to:
- Improve access to health services
- Enhance population health
- Advance knowledge
- Demonstrate charitable purpose/relieve government burden
Out of the Hospitals, into the Neighborhood
Baystate Health understands that many state and federally mandated community benefit programs are not sufficient to address ethnic, racial and economic health disparities. By partnering with the community, Baystate Health helps address the diverse and sometimes critical health needs within western Massachusetts communities.
Baystate’s engagement with the community has increasingly expanded out of the hospital and into homes, schools, community organizations and neighborhoods. Baystate Health recognizes the needs of the poorest and most at risk community members, and supports these groups by giving voice to neighborhoods struggling to cope with health disparities and a lack of educational and economic opportunities. Citizens in some of the most challenged areas of the community are working in partnership with Baystate Health to take charge of their family’s and their neighborhoods’ future health.
More information about Baystate's community programs
The Baystate Health Diversity Council is an internal body composed of carefully chosen employees who represent a broad cross-section of the organization. This council leads the overall integration of diversity, inclusion, and cultural competence strategies and establishes, monitors, and ensures action focused on building an evermore diverse, inclusive, and culturally competent organization.
We believe it's important to provide opportunies for employees to celebrate and share their similarities and differences and unique perspectives with their colleagues and the organization's leadership. To that end, Baystate Health has Employee Resource Groups – networks of and for employees structured around traits that impact a person at home, work, and in society. Examples include gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, generation, or physical ability. These groups also help to connect employees and further the Baystate Health mission.
Baystate Health employs a variety of learning tools and technologies to provide diversity related education and awareness to our staff. Our approach places a major affecting and sustaining cultural shifts. We accomplish this by utilizing a model that emphasizes cultural competence, human tendency toward bias, and unconscious organizational patterns that impact the way our employees, vendors, and patients from various cultures, ages and backgrounds relate to each other. Our educational opportunities emphasize ownership, individual choice and responsibility for individual employee behavior.
An organization that fosters diversity and inclusion encourages employees to expand their skill sets and grow within the organization. At Baystate Health, we offer a range of resources to our managers, supervisors, and employees to encourage career development. One such resource is the Baystate Health Diversity Leadership Initiative, through which we have partnered with The Partnership, Inc. to develop a comprehensive career and development program for Baystate Health employees of color who are leaders and emerging leaders.
Baystate Health strives to offer patient-centered, culturally competent health care to people in our communities. We understand that each of our patients is an individual with unique needs and preferences and we do our best to understand and provide for them. Baystate Health’s Interpreter Services, Spiritual Services, Food & Nutrition Services, and visitation policies are just a few of the things that we offer to provide you with care that is just as individual as the patients we care for.
Baystate Health’s Interpreter & Translation Services Department provides trained medical interpreters for limited English speaking and Deaf and hard of hearing patients and their family members 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. When When face-to-face oral interpretation is not possible, trained and competent telephonic and video interpreters are available in over 100 languages. Languages that we see most frequently include Spanish, Russian, Vietnamese, Polish, Portuguese, American Sign Language, Chinese, Arabic, and Swahili. Many documents are translated into Spanish and other languages.
El departamento de intérpretes de Baystate Health ofrece intérpretes médicos para las personas que tienen dificultad con el inglés o son sordos o tienen dificultad con la audición 24 horas al día, 7 días a la semana. Cuando no es posible tener un intérprete en persona, hay intérpretes entrenados y competentes disponibles por medio del teléfono o por video en más de 100 idiomas. Los idiomas de los pacientes que vemos con más frecuencia son el español, ruso, vietnamita, polaco, portugués, lenguaje por señas de los estados unidos, chino, árabe, y suahili. Se traducen muchos documentos al español y en otros idiomas según la necesidad.
The Spiritual Services department aims to improve the health of the people in our communities by providing spiritual and religious care and counseling. Baystate Medical Center has a team of professionally educated chaplains who collaborate to provide care that is respectful of the unique spirituality of the persons served. We also encourage patients to receive visits from their own spiritual leaders. Interfaith chapels at our three hospitals are open 24/7 for prayer or meditation by patients, families and visitors, and Baystate Health employees. We hold both interfaith and denominational services in English and Spanish.
Food and Nutrition Services
Baystate Health’s Food & Nutrition Services goes the extra distance to make sure that meals served in patient rooms and in our cafeterias accommodate not only the patients’ health conditions, but also their cultural preferences. The cafeteria menus comprise a wide range of cuisines and cooking styles including multicultural and healthy selections and vegetarian options, among others.
Baystate Health includes the family as a key part of the patient care team. Accordingly, for the purposes of visitation, we define “family” as anyone important to the patient regardless of legal relationship. Members of “family” include spouses, domestic partners, and both different-sex and same-sex significant others. “Family” includes a minor patient’s parents, regardless of the gender of either parent.
More information for patients and visitors