Since the Daughters of Charity opened the area's first hospital in 1915, Ascension Sacred Heart has grown into the regional leader for providing high-quality, compassionate healthcare to children and adults in Northwest Florida. Today, the system has hospitals in Pensacola, South Walton County, Bay County and Gulf County, and physicians’ offices and outpatient centers across the coast of the Florida Panhandle.
The hub of the health system is a 566-bed acute care facility, which includes Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Pensacola, the Studer Family Children's Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, and the Maternity and Women's Center. The health system also includes Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Emerald Coast in Walton County. In early 2010, the system extended further east in the Florida Panhandle when it opened Ascension Sacred Heart Hospital Gulf, a hospital and a medical office building in Port St. Joe, Florida.
Ascension Sacred Heart spends tens of millions of dollars each year to provide care to those who are poor and uninsured. It also reaches out to the needy with community services such as a mobile health unit, senior programs, and clinics that provide medical care to low-income children and pregnant women.
Since 2003, the 340B program has helped Ascension Sacred Heart care for persons living in poverty and those most vulnerable in Northwest Florida. In 2021, the system used its $73.7 million in 340B benefits to sustain vital services for those in need.
In 2021, Ascension Sacred Heart provided $206.8 million in charity care and community benefit to residents in need. It is the largest provider of care to Medicaid patients in the area. In Escambia County, 12.8 percent of residents do not have health insurance.
One vital service is Ascension Sacred Heart’s Indigent Drug Program, which helps reduce recurring visits to the hospital’s emergency department (ED). Under this program, social workers set up individual accounts for uninsured patients who frequent the ED because they cannot afford their medications for treatable illnesses such as high blood pressure and diabetes. Ascension Sacred Heart allows these patients to receive their outpatient prescription drugs for free or at reduced cost. and the patients can control their medical conditions and remain at home.
Programs enabled by 340B benefits:
- Medication affordability program: provides needed medications to uninsured and impoverished patients in the community.
- Charitable pharmacies: operates four Dispensary of Hope locations serving uninsured populations with free medication across the state.
- Mission in Motion community health program: volunteer nurses visit homeless shelters, churches and schools to provide health screenings for low-income individuals.
- Medical Mission at Home: historically held at least annually at multiple locations across the state, the event provides free medical, vision and dental services to those in need. A Day of Caring was also held in a needy area of Georgia this past year.