Sentara's Commitment to the Community | Sentara Healthcare
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Sentara's Commitment to the Community 

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Sentara's bedrock institution was founded in 1888 in Norfolk as the 25-bed Retreat for the Sick. Today's organization is truly an integrated healthcare system that provides patients with a cohesive and interlocking network of caregiving that spans from birth through the end of life.

As a not-for-profit healthcare organization, Sentara reinvests in the community in numerous ways - with the purchase of the most medically advanced technology; in new, state-of-the-art healthcare facilities; with training medical professionals and with providing the highest quality healthcare to all patients, regardless of their ability to pay. It's not just our mission, it's our commitment to the community.

 The Sentara Health Foundation provides grants to support community health programs and services throughout the Tidewater area.

The Sentara Health Foundation
The Sentara Health Foundation was established in 1998 to improve the health and quality of life throughout southeastern Virginia and North Carolina, and to further demonstrate the Sentara not-for-profit mission.

The foundation has touched the lives of many area residents from the Eastern Shore to Greater Hampton Roads through grants supporting community programs. Our charge is to identify community health-related needs and enable solutions, with a focus on direct patient care, connection to care services and health education programs. 

Most recently,  the foundation awarded grants to 29 organizations in 2011 totaling $709,200.

Programs include dental care, prenatal support and reduced-cost primary care. The foundation also sponsors community events, such as the Komen Tidewater Race for the Cure and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life.

The foundation promotes coordination and cooperation among organizations and agencies focusing on the health of the community, encouraging synergism and avoiding duplication. We seek to identify health-related problems and unknown needs addressed by integrated solutions.

Sentara Healthcare also relies on the philanthropy of the community to support these invaluable programs and services. Charitable contributions may be made through the Sentara Health Foundation to support efforts to improve health every day in our region.

 Sentara employees participate in the United Way Day of Caring.

In Support of the Community

Led by a volunteer community board of directors, Sentara proudly provides care to all people regardless of their ability to pay. As a not-for-profit healthcare organization, Sentara reinvests in the community in numerous ways.


Each year, Sentara provides millions of dollars in benefits to the community.

In 2010, more than $179.4 million was returned to communities across Virginia through uncompensated patient care services, training the future healthcare workforce and touching individuals with health information, screenings and prevention in their local communities.

The majority of that  - $162.5 million covers uncompensated patient care services, care provided for which no payment is received.

Sentara is committed to providing quality health care to all, regardless of ability to pay. Under Sentara's charity care policies, patients meeting certain financial criteria receive care without charge or with a significant discount.

Medical Underserved
Sentara's medical groups' physicians and medical staffs volunteer thousands of hours to Eastern Virginia Medical School, area free clinics, community education and civic and charitable programs. Sentara's priority is to open doors of access to basic health care that many Americans take for granted.

Sentara supports and operates (uncompensated care clinics) throughout the region.

 An ExploreHealth with Sentara® on-demand interactive webcast video.

In Support of Education
ExploreHealth with Sentara
As part of our commitment to bringing you the latest in health information, Sentara offers ExploreHealth with Sentara®, an educational program that explores medical breakthroughs, innovative treatment options and contemporary health issues in our community.

Program components include:
Bimonthly newspaper publication featuring new medical breakthroughs and health information and a monthly calendar of events and screenings held in your neighborhood.
On-Demand editions of surgery webcasts take you inside Sentara operating rooms for the latest surgical techniques and innovations.
Bi-monthly eNewsletter where subscribers can receive ExploreHealth with Sentara eNews delivered directly to an email address.

In Support of Community Health Initiatives
Sentara Community Health and Prevention
As part of Sentara's commitment to preventive health measures, we present special community health initiatives that are designed to educate the community about issues affecting our health, right here at home. Sentara promotes information campaigns such as:
Eating for Life, a nutrition and healthy eating program
Know Your Numbers, a cardiovascular risk reduction and health improvement program
Walk-About with Healthy Edge, a walking program that encourages walking for cardiovascular health
Get Off Your Butt: Stay Smokeless for Life, a smoking cessation program
Healthy Heart Program, a cardiovascular disease reduction program
Sentara Living, a comprehensive wellness program for seniors

Sentara's Digital Mobile Mammography Unit
The digital mobile mammography unit visits many work sites every year. Bringing health screenings to work sites helps encourage wellness and produce positive outcomes for the patients we serve. Screenings, such as mammograms, support early detection and, often, more successful treatment of breast cancer. Appointments can take as little as 15 minutes.

Sentara's Health Plans 
In 1984, Sentara founded the first managed care plan, Optima Health. With more than 25 years of health insurance experience, Optima Health's goal is to offer quality health plans at affordable prices.

Supporting Good Health
Optima Health provides health plan coverage to more than 430,000 members throughout Virginia. The provider network features more than 15,000 providers including specialists, primary care physicians and hospitals across Virginia.

Optima members have access to doctors and hospitals with nationally-recognized clinical programs, up-to- date preventive care and patient safety protocols, plus the latest medical procedures and technologies.

Wellness Matters
Optima also offer programs to support members with chronic illnesses, customized wellness programs, and integrated clinical and behavioral health services – all to help members improve their health.

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