Can save lives and reduce unnecessary medical expenses, as the Methodist Le Bonheur hospital system in Memphis discovered when they started using trained volunteer liaisons at 376 local churches to track fellow congregants upon admission and discharge. Compared to patients who weren’t tracked, the hospital system saved $4 million, slashed mortality by 50 percent, and reduced readmissions by 20 percent.
SLHI is a long-time proponent of tapping the deep well of social connection found in local churches and other faith-based organizations. We helped to launch and continue to sustain the Heart and Soul Initiative, a partnership between predominantly African-American churches in the Phoenix metro area and the Arizona Black Nurses Association to reduce the incidence of cardiovascular and lung disease through education and lifestyle changes. We were an early supporter of Duet’s Nurses in Faith Communities program, where resources are provided to RNs in local churches to facilitate health services and support groups. These and other projects succeed because they are deeply connected in the daily social fabric and leverage the considerable talents, skills, caring and good will that churches mobilize in their communities.
Partnerships with churches can be a smart investment in promoting healthy communities. That’s certainly been our experience.