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St. Elizabeth's Health Center

El Rio - St. Elizabeth's Health Center - Collaborative Relationship

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El Rio Community Health Center enters into a Collaborative Relationship with St. Elizabeth’s Health Center Federal Government Approves the Sub-Recipient Relationship Today

Tucson, Arizona – Kathy Byrne, Executive Director of El Rio Community Health Center and Jane Bakos, Executive Director of St. Elizabeth’s Health Center are pleased to announce a new collaborative partnership between their health care organizations.  St. Elizabeth’s has recently become an independent non-profit organization.  It will retain its volunteer care model and continue in its mission to serve the uninsured and underserved as a Catholic healthcare provider. This new partnership serves both organizations and shows our unified commitment to collaborating so that we continue to have a strong safety net for uninsured people in our community,” said Kathy Byrne.
Since 2010, St. Elizabeth’s has been experiencing significant financial challenges, stemming primarily from the sudden loss of state funding in 2010. During this time, despite numerous efforts to reduce costs and increase revenue, losses at St. Elizabeth’s exceeded $1.5 million. Continuing to operate with this size of deficit became unsustainable for St. Elizabeth’s and for Catholic Community Services, which is why they came to El Rio last year to discuss collaborative possibilities. St. Elizabeth’s will be able to share in the federal funds received by El Rio. With additional funding, St. Elizabeth’s will be able to continue its mission.

The new partnership will benefit patients, who will continue to have access to St. Elizabeth’s. “In addition, both El Rio and Marana Health Centers have agreed to share their expertise in such areas as billing, accounting and IT with St. Elizabeth’s … a true community collaboration’ said Bakos.  

“Although it’s sad to part ways after a wonderful partnership of more than 50 years, it’s the right thing to do,” said Peg Harmon, CEO of Catholic Community Services. “We are tremendously grateful to El Rio Community Health Center for working with us to find a way to help St. Elizabeth’s continue its important mission. St. Elizabeth’s will be governed by its newly-formed board of directors, led by Jose Santiago, MD,  who care about the mission of St. Elizabeth’s and who want to move it forward,” said Harmon. The El Rio Community Health Center Board voted unanimously to move forward with this collaborative partnership as we all are committed to providing quality healthcare for all members of our community.

El Rio Community Health Center is the largest provider of medical and dental services to uninsured and Medicaid populations in Pima County. El Rio serves the medical and dental needs of more than 81,000 patients annually. El Rio employs over 1,000 people with an annual budget of over $100 million dollars. A national model of health care excellence, El Rio’s mission is to “improve the health of our community through comprehensive, accessible, affordable, quality and compassionate care.” www.elrio.org.

St. Elizabeth’s Health Center has provided services to the uninsured and underserved since 1961, serving the medical and dental needs of more than 20,000 patients annually with a small paid staff and many community volunteers.  Our mission as a faith-based organization is to provide high quality services with respect and dignity by responding to individual needs and encouraging health and well-being.  www.saintehc.org

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