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Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission Continues its Commitment to Help Area Residents

Joliet, IL (March 23, 2011) —For the past three years, the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission has provided over $700,000 in new educational scholarships, workforce development grants and support for local community agencies.  In addition, the 15-member group comprised of local community leaders and Silver Cross Hospital administrators provides direction on the redevelopment of the existing Silver Cross Hospital campus. 

“Three years ago Silver Cross made a promise to our community, and for the third year in a row they not only kept their promise, they exceeded it,” said Margie Wood, Chair of the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission. “Silver Cross has shown yet again that it is committed to caring for everyone in our community, regardless of whether or not a person can afford to pay for it.”

This past year the Commission focused on:

  • development of scholarship programs related to healthcare and construction jobs for residents living in zip codes 60432, 60433,60436 and Fairmount Grade School District #89
  • training scholarships for certified nurse assistants (C.N.A.s)
  • identification of gaps in workforce development programs and provision of grants to existing and/or new organizations
  • coordination of healthcare services throughout the community
  • long range planning for urgent care and primary care needs in the community
  • identification of opportunities for economic development on the Silver Cross campus.


In 2010, the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission awarded over $165,000 in educational healthcare-related scholarships, workforce development grants and quality of life initiatives to over 40 individuals associated with the following organizations: Joliet Community Action Network Male Mentoring Program, NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People), National Hook-up For Black Women, Delta Sigma Theta and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sororities, Harvey Brooks Foundation, 1st Hispanic Latino Scholarship, Hispanic/Latino Coalition of Will and Grundy Counties and Community Service Council.

Partnerships with Local Churches & Schools
The Commission also worked with the hospital to enhance its faith-driven community outreach program to include more of the network of churches that are located in the underserved neighborhoods on Joliet’s eastside.

“This was the logical step to reach the underserved population since churches are where residents gather to find resources such as health screenings and education,” said Woods.

In 2010, Silver Cross participated in health and career fairs, physician lectures and health screenings at several local churches including All Nations COGIC, Bible Way Apostolic, Brown Chapel AME, Lebanon District Women, Mt. Zion Baptist, Redeem COGIC, Second Baptist, St. Paul Baptist and St. John Baptist.  The Hospital also partnered with CUFAA (Churches United in the Fight Against AIDS) and hosted an HIV/AIDS testing and awareness day.

In addition to reaching out to local churches, Silver Cross worked together with the Joliet Township High School District in a Healthcare Career Fair. The two-day event gave students a glimpse into the various health-related jobs that are available in a hospital setting. Students learned what type of course work certain careers require, what schools offer specific health-related programs, profession pay scales, and projected job growth and needs.

Silver Cross also partnered with Joliet Central and West High School’s Intern Program where students “job shadowed” hospital nurses and clinical staff. This free intern program offered valuable experience for sophomores enrolled in an advisory class allowing them real insight into medical careers. And, in recognition of Disability Mentoring Day, Silver Cross hosted a job shadowing program for students from Joliet Township High School and Lincoln-Way Summer Transition Academy in April, July and October. The goal of Disability Mentoring Day is to dispel employers' fears and reluctance to hire people with disabilities. It also gives students confidence and an opportunity to get actual work experience.

“Our role at Silver Cross Hospital is not simply to treat illnesses but to strengthen our community,” said Paul Pawlak, president and CEO of Silver Cross Hospital. “Initiatives to improve the quality of life in our neighborhood focus on economic development, individual development and ensuring quality healthcare for every patient that comes to our hospital. Fostering neighborhood safety and creating opportunities for people to improve their lives are key components of our community benefit program.”

$30 million in added Community Benefit
As a not-for profit hospital, Silver Cross has always been committed to caring for the community as evidenced by the work of the Silver Cross Healthy Community Commission.  In 2010, Silver Cross provided over $8 million in charity care to over 2,000 people, far exceeding its annual $4 million pledge.  The Joliet hospital also provided more than $14 million in unreimbursed services at costs through the Medicaid and Medicare programs—a 44% increase from the previous year.

In addition to charity care and government sponsored indigent care, Silver Cross provided more than $16 million in other community benefit, which included free and subsidized health services, programs and screenings to more than 10,000 people.

To read Silver Cross Hospital’s 2010 Community Benefit Report, click here.

Focused on Joliet Campus Redevelopment
A key focus of the Healthy Community Commission is to provide input into the re-use of the existing hospital campus.  Silver Cross has already committed to leave a health center on the campus and has set aside $8 million for future development.

“There has been a lot of interest in the property,” Wood says. “Aunt Martha’s will break ground this spring for a Federally Qualified Healthcare Center just east of the Emergency Department.  And, we are very close to finalizing a contract with the Veteran’s Administration for the Emergency Department Building.  The V.A. is interested in expanding their outpatient services for local veterans after Silver Cross relocates to the replacement hospital in February 2012.

Construction on the state-of-the-art 289-bed hospital is now 85 percent complete. The new hospital located at I-355 and Route 6 in New Lenox has been designed to better service patients and their family members.  The large, private family-friendly rooms will be able to accommodate more procedures at the bedside and provide acuity adaptable care.  This means that each room will have the space, supplies and staff to deliver the appropriate level of care to the patient rather than transfer the patient between units as needs change—allowing patients a greater chance to heal faster and go home sooner. For regular updates, become a fan on Facebook or follow Silver Cross on Twitter.


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