At St. Charles, our vision is both ambitious and simple: “Creating America’s healthiest community, together.”

Every day, we're making progress toward achieving that goal, and that progress takes many different forms: We've launched virtual visits to allow patients to see their physician from the comfort of their home. We've built new clinics, rolled out new services and upgraded patient care spaces in our hospitals. We host events and classes for people interested in healthier living. We've brought the latest technology to rural areas. We continue to hire only the most skilled caregivers to provide this region’s superior patient care. The list goes on and on.

Sometimes, though, the best thing St. Charles can do to improve health and health care in Central Oregon is to support our partner organizations doing good work in the communities we serve. That's what we're doing in Prineville, where we donated $100,000 toward Crook County Fire & Rescue's purchase of two new, much-needed ambulances that will reduce back strain for their EMTs and make both patients and EMTs safer and more secure during transport. St. Charles is proud to partner with the fire district to help it provide excellent emergency services in Crook County.

Also, we recently announced we’re contributing $400,000 to Partners in Care to support the construction of a 12-bed specialty hospital called Hospice House that's designed for hospice patients who need short-term care for advanced, life-limiting illness in a home-like environment. The organization is in the middle of a $6 million fundraising campaign to build Hospice House, which will replace its current six-bed facility. St. Charles' gift will help them pass the $4 million mark of that campaign.

St. Charles’ relationship with Partners in Care dates back to 1979, when former St. Charles president and CEO Sister Catherine Hellmann championed hospice care in our region. In honor of her legacy, the new Hospice House's chapel will be dedicated to Sister Catherine, whose philosophy of caring for all still guides much of what we do at St. Charles.

The contribution to Partners in Care is being made jointly by the St. Charles Foundation and the health system's Community Benefit Program. The donation to Crook County Fire & Rescue is also part of the Community Benefit Program, which we use to support local organizations and services that improve the health of Central Oregonians. In both cases, we identified a local partner that is doing good work and has a specific need, and we worked together to find a way for St. Charles to help meet that need.

There's that word again: together. It's part of our vision statement for a reason, and it's an important piece of the complex puzzle of caring for the people and the communities of Central Oregon.