December 21, 2012

Editorial: Build a strong foundation


---- — The Foundation of CVPH Medical Center needs a push, and everyone in the North Country has a stake in making that happen.

The push we are referring to is the final amount needed to get the foundation to its goal for this year’s campaign: $200,000. The drive is at 90 percent but has just a little more than a week to wrap up.

The foundation is a separate entity that provides funding to CVPH for special programs and initiatives that benefit patient care. For example, the money might be used for new equipment, program support and for staff and patient educational initiatives.

”We also support community health and wellness programs, such as our health lecture series and sponsorship of new initiatives in the community,” Foundation Executive Director Kerry Haley told the Press-Republican.

The drive is especially important this year in light of news that CVPH faces a revenue shortfall of $400,000, which has been blamed on cuts in reimbursement, fewer admissions, less use of outpatient services and other local and national health-care changes. To help right its budget, the hospital recently cut 17 jobs, outsourced some work and made other cost adjustments.

Because of that situation, Haley said, the Foundation of CVPH anticipates an increased level of requests from the hospital in 2013.

”Donations allow us to meet those requests and continually enhance the care we give to our patients,” she said.

Funds from the foundation can’t be used for staffing, but every cost picked up by the organization is one less that the hospital must cope with. 

In the past year, for example, foundation money has been used for equipment needed to start a new outpatient pulmonary rehab program, to help people breathe better; amplifiers for hard-of-hearing patients, so they can improve communication with their medical team; and sponsorship of the Shine On! Conference, in partnership with SUNY Plattsburgh students, which brought 180 girls in grades three through five to an overnight workshop to help them build self esteem and body image before they enter middle school.

The Foundation of CVPH is an important factor in cost control at the hospital. It helps guarantee that people being treated in Plattsburgh will have access to the best and newest equipment, put to use by knowledgeable staff.

The money comes from people who are demonstrating in a very real way that they support having a high-quality medical facility in their community. And that has implications in many other areas, as a strong local hospital is a prerequisite for many job-seekers and business developers.

Foundation staff and volunteers are working hard to bring in those final needed dollars; donations to this drive contribute to the welfare of everyone who steps through the doors at CVPH — and even those who never need to.