Community

We believe that supporting other community programs and organizations is a vital component in serving the health care needs of the San Fernando Valley. For many years, we have worked with these organizations to identify specific needs and vulnerabilities in our service area, and partnered with them to address these gaps. It is through our combined efforts that we are able to reach more people who otherwise may not have access to healthcare or are vulnerable in other ways. The following are some of the programs we have supported:

Access to Care

Access to primary care provides individuals with preventive measures and disease management, reducing the likelihood of hospitalizations and emergency room admissions. Yet, in our service area, 21% of the population is uninsured while another 25.7% receive Medi-Cal. These people and others are not receiving the primary care they need because too few providers service low-income individuals and the newly insured population. This is further compounded by their unfamiliarity with the health care system.

Response to need and community impact:

In 2017, our annual Valley Presbyterian Hospital Health Fair reached over 1,100 people in the community with health education materials and 1,653 free preventive screenings, 319 flu shots, and health education activities for over 200 children. In addition, to promote healthy eating, we distributed over 320 pounds of a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables for participants to take home with them. In an on-site survey, 33% of adult participants indicated they would not have received screenings elsewhere because they did not have a doctor, health insurance, and/or transportation.

Through a grant from First 5 LA, Valley Presbyterian Hospital has continued its free and voluntary Welcome Baby program, in support of new mothers and their infants. As a part of this program, we teamed with the nonprofit organization El Nido Family Centers, to provide home-based services to Welcome Baby participants.

In FY 2017, Valley Presbyterian Hospital also partnered with Northeast Valley Health Corporation (NEVHC). As a community health center, NEVHC primarily improves access to care for the medically underserved community. With our support, NEVHC enrolled 22 adults in an asthma management program, and provided care coordination and health education to 159 asthma patients.

Diabetes and Obesity

In our service area, 36.4% of adults are overweight and 21.6% are obese, conditions associated with life-threatening illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Common causes for weight gain and obesity are a lack of physical activity and poor diet. The affordability of fast food makes it easier to purchase high-caloric and fatty foods, and residents acknowledge there is a high concentration of fast food restaurants in the area. 17.3% of adults also report they do not have “leisure time" in which to exercise.

Response to need and community impact:

We partnered with Mid Valley Family YMCA for their PE Play Program at Van Nuys Elementary School, designed to make physical activity fun and accessible, reduce the risk of childhood obesity, and promote healthier life choices as they grow into adulthood. The YMCA also held quarterly Healthy Family Nights, which provided kids and their parents with exercise and health initiatives in a safe environment. Of the 615 elementary school-age children who participated, 90% indicated they learned new activities, became more physically active, and increased their physical strength and conditioning.

We also teamed up with Meet Each Need with Dignity (MEND) for their diabetes health education and weight management programs. MEND's diabetes program worked with 32 people to improve their dietary and exercise habits, with 25% lowering their HbA1c levels. Participants in the weight management program reduced their average Body Mass Index (BMI) by 1.4 points. In addition, the MEND food pantry provided healthy cooking demonstrations, nutrition information, and healthy food samplings. Our partnership with MEND also supported the Grow Together Project, a home garden effort that taught 23 families to garden and use their healthy harvest. Overall, the MEND diabetes and overweight prevention programs provided direct services to 357 people.

Mental Health services

When individuals have a positive state of wellbeing, they are more readily able to deal with the stresses of life, be productive, and have a confident sense of self. Strong social networks and support systems have been identified as contributing to positive mental health, while poverty and low education levels play a role in poor mental health. In some cases, individuals use drugs and alcohol to cope with mental health issues instead of seeking help, or poor access affects their ability to receive one-time and ongoing services. Yet, 8.6% of adults (18 years and older) in our area are thought to need mental health services. Mental health care should be a priority but there are too few providers serving low-income individuals who are uninsured or on Medi-Cal.

Response to need and community impact:

In FY 2017, Valley Presbyterian Hospital increased access to mental health services through its tele-psych services, providing 899 consultations to 583 patients, and decreasing the amount of time needed to evaluate a patient with possible mental health symptoms. In addition, while our hospital does not have dedicated inpatient mental health care beds, we financially supported inpatient mental health care for vulnerable, low-income patients who needed mental health hospitalization. This care was provided to 194 patients who were treated in the Emergency Department and then transported to a medically necessary, inpatient mental healthcare bed.

We also partnered with El Nido Family Services to provide 62 pregnant and parenting teens with mental health services. These at-risk youth were provided with one-on-one counseling, group counseling and educational workshops. A focus on mother-child interaction promoted positive, intentional parenting practices.