On September 14, 2022, the Sisters of Charity Health System and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center announced the vision for the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus. This new ministry of the Sisters of Charity Health System will transform the Sisters of Charity’s property on East 22nd Street, including St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, into a vibrant hub that promotes holistic health and wellness through health care and services that address the social determinants of health. This vision extends the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s healing ministry established in 1851 to serve unmet needs in our community.
“The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine have always partnered with many to serve Cleveland through a devotion to healing – spiritually, physically, socially and emotionally. The vision for the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus advances our mission to provide a holistic and integrated model of high-quality care,” said Sister Judith Ann Karam, CSA, LFACHE, congregational leader of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine. “I am proud that the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus will build on the legacy of our treasured caregivers and medical staff, and also Sister Ignatia Gavin, CSA – founder of Rosary Hall – by establishing new community-based health services.”
A Changing Health Care Landscape
The impetus for the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus is twofold. First and foremost is the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine’s commitment to meeting the unmet needs of the community, which started when they became Cleveland’s first home health nurses in 1851 and grew with the founding of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in 1865. Over the last 171 years, the Sisters of Charity and their caregivers have continued to adapt and bring innovations in health care to life, including Sister Ignatia’s work to found the first department in a hospital to care for individuals suffering from alcohol dependence. This brand of courageous leadership has helped the Sisters of Charity evolve and sustain their healing ministry through significant changes in the health care landscape.
Second, the seismic shifts in health care over the last decade have created a challenging environment for St. Vincent Charity Medical Center to continue as a traditional acute care hospital. The rise in demand for outpatient care, declining inpatient volume and the growth of telehealth, all of which were accelerated by the Covid-19 pandemic, have placed additional financial pressure on the hospital.
Today, in concert with the vision for the health campus, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center will begin its next evolution, as it transitions from a traditional acute care hospital into an ambulatory health services provider.
“Since 1865, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center has weathered challenges, including the pandemic through which our caregivers served our patients and community with courage and grace. This deep commitment to serving our community through Catholic health care will continue as we transition to high-quality ambulatory care,” said Janice G. Murphy, MSN, FACHE, president & CEO of the Sisters of Charity Health System. “This transition puts the hospital on a financially sustainable path forward despite the rapid, significant and ongoing changes in health care today.”
St. Vincent Charity Medical Center will provide ambulatory care as follows:
- Outpatient mental health services
- High-quality provision of addiction medicine services through Rosary Hall
- Primary care, internal medicine and specialty clinics
- Urgent care
Patients can expect high-quality, compassionate ambulatory care now and throughout the transition at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center, which will retain approximately 100 caregivers, including clinical and non-clinical staff. As part of this transformation, medical residents at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center are invited to move to University Hospitals, which will also be conducting job fairs targeting clinical and non-clinical staff at St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
This transition is anticipated to be completed on November 15, 2022. At that time, St. Vincent Charity Medical Center will no longer provide inpatient care. Over the next eight weeks, patients are encouraged to check the St. Vincent Charity Medical Center website for additional information about the transition of services.
“The story of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center is one of transformation, led by the Sisters of Charity, whose passion for serving the Central neighborhood and all of Cleveland, is unmatched. Their history of evolving to meet the needs of the time is extraordinary and continues today,” said Adnan Tahir M.D., president & CEO of St. Vincent Charity Medical Center. “This transformation is possible because of the dedication of our caregivers, who have stayed with us through challenging times. I have tremendous gratitude for each and every member of our staff.”
Developing the Vision for the Health Campus through Community Voice & Planning Process
St. Vincent Charity’s ambulatory health services are part of the new St. Vincent Charity Health Campus, which will also include services meeting a wide range of community-identified needs, including:
- Behavioral health
- Youth and families
- Food and nutrition
- Workforce development
- Physical activity
- Learning and education
- Arts and culture
These programmatic areas and the vision for the Health Campus were co-created by the Sisters of Charity, residents of Central Neighborhood, and Cleveland-area institutions following a comprehensive year-long community voice and planning process, that began in June 2021. Internationally recognized MASS Design Group led, in partnership with the Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland and Cleveland Central Promise Neighborhood, the research effort and facilitated community dialogue to understand directly from the community what social and economic needs the Health Campus should address.
"MASS Design Group is noted globally for leading design innovations in health care facilities with an emphasis on healing and justice. The goal in developing the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus is to help remove barriers to health and wellbeing for people living in our community, and to create opportunities to support this important and historic part of Cleveland,” said Robyn Gordon, board chair of the new St. Vincent Charity Health Campus.
Residents and representatives of health and social service organizations, primary care providers, youth development organizations, food security organizations and champions, community gardeners, workforce development organizations, higher education leaders, foundation leaders, real estate developers, public libraries, artists, cultivators, and public officials all provided input to help shape the vision for the Health Campus through more than 30 focus groups, 25 partner meetings, 15 guided tours and five special events.
"We listened to the lived experiences of neighbors and learned that in order to lead healthier lives, our community deserves spaces that nourish mind, body and spirit," said Christopher Kroner, MASS Design Group lead principal. "For St. Vincent Charity Health Campus to be truly unifying, each space needs to establish an experience of radical welcome."
Establishment of a New Non-profit
Following the community voice and planning phase, the Sisters of Charity Health System established the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus as a new 501c3 non-profit entity among its family of Catholic ministries and named Susanna H. Krey as president & CEO. The new non-profit will lead efforts to bring new services, programs and partners in the community-identified categories to the Health Campus, alongside ambulatory care services provided by St. Vincent Charity Medical Center.
"We are pleased to launch St. Vincent Charity Health Campus as a whole-person approach for the Cleveland community and especially Central neighborhood, which is home to five – now six – Sisters of Charity ministries," says Krey. “With the ambulatory care services of St. Vincent and the new services and partners we will bring to the health campus, we are proud to transform the healing ministry of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine once again.”
As a core foundation of its services, the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus is developing its initial pilot programs to focus on: physical health through ambulatory care, youth and families, food and nutrition, and behavioral health crisis and recovery.
For example, the Health Campus seeks to enhance access and address the symptoms of trauma by creating a new coordinated response to crises in the community and enhancing access to services that support long-term recovery. Specifically, the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus will expand the mental health and addiction crisis continuum of care by partnering with community entities and developing a crisis & recovery services pilot. The pilot will aim to address all age ranges and acuity levels, especially lower acuity needs, which are not being met based on research conducted in greater Cleveland and across Northeast Ohio.
The Sisters of Charity Foundation of Cleveland funded the community engagement process and provided executive leadership for the initiative. Krey expressed gratitude to the many residents, Promise Ambassadors and partners who are on this journey with the Sisters of Charity to inform, shape and support the co-creation of the St. Vincent Charity Health Campus. Updates regarding pilot projects, funding and how the health campus will continue to be developed will be shared with the community on an ongoing basis.
About MASS Design Group
MASS, a Model of Architecture Serving Society, was founded in 2008 as a non-profit organization motivated by an idea for a different way of practice. MASS grew to include many colleagues and contributors who worked together to design and build the Butaro District Hospital in Rwanda, a project of Partners In Health and the Rwandan Ministry of Health. Since then, the organization has grown to a team of 140 architects, landscape architects, engineers, builders, furniture designers, writers, filmmakers, and researchers representing 20 countries across the globe. MASS operates design labs including the Restorative Justice Design Lab in Boston; Sustainable Native Communities Design Lab in Santa Fe, N.M.; and the Food Systems and Fringe Cities Lab in Hudson Valley, N.Y.
About the Sisters of Charity Health System
The Sisters of Charity Health System was established in 1982 as the parent corporation for the sponsored ministries of the Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine in Ohio and South Carolina. The Sisters of Charity of St. Augustine is a congregation of women religious that, since founding in 1851, continues a faith-based legacy of high-quality, compassionate care in partnership with its co-ministers, who are the heart and hands of the ministry.
The Sisters of Charity Health System solely owns St. Vincent Charity Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. The health system also oversees three grantmaking foundations located in Cleveland, Canton and Columbia, South Carolina. Each foundation sponsors significant community initiatives and collaborations that address causes and consequences of poverty. Outreach organizations include Joseph’s Home, a unique residential care center for homeless men in Cleveland; Early Childhood Resource Center for people working in childcare in all settings in Canton; Healthy Learners, a health care resource for children from low-income families in South Carolina; and the South Carolina Center for Fathers and Families, a state-wide organization supporting initiatives to reengage fathers in the lives of their children. The Sisters of Charity Health System also provides residential elder care services at Regina Health Center in Richfield, Ohio, and Light of Hearts Villa in Bedford, Ohio.