---- — ELIZABETHTOWN — Elizabethtown Community Hospital’s 2013 annual fundraising campaign is underway.
The appeal is conducted mostly through a letter mailed to people in the hospital’s service area and to donors who live elsewhere.
The letter also provides information about the hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation program, which allows patients to recover at the local hospital after having surgery or treatment at another facility, according to a news release from ECH.
“The hospital’s annual campaign is designed to serve two important and complementary purposes,” Jane Hooper, director of community relations for the hospital, said in the release.
“Each year, the letter serves to introduce a specific service that the hospital offers. It also reminds people about the importance of considering a donation to the hospital, one of the community’s largest not-for-profit organizations.”
CLOSER TO HOME
The 2013 annual appeal letter explains that in the days following surgery, or once a patient is feeling better after an acute illness, he or she can ask to be transferred to Elizabethtown Community Hospital and into the inpatient rehabilitation program where patients can recuperate closer to their home community, friends and family.
There are some significant differences between that program and others in the region, Hooper said.
“The patient is followed throughout all stages of recovery,” she said. “From the emergency room or primary care office to the pre-surgical consultation with a therapist, and into the hospital-based rehab program, the patient is monitored and assisted by a team of caregivers.
“There are therapist-assisted home visits and outpatient rehab once the patient is discharged. Throughout the entire process, nurses, pharmacists, physicians and therapists follow the patient’s progress.
“Continuity of care is incredibly important,” she said.
The home visits are one of the most crucial aspects of the program, Hooper said.
Once inpatient-based therapy is complete but before a patient is discharged from the hospital, the therapy team travels with the patient to his or her home to help develop specific strategies for functioning there during recovery.
That might include climbing stairs, getting in and out of bed, she said.
The strategy session serves to relieve anxiety and ensure a safer transition.
“Elizabethtown Community Hospital, like any nonprofit organization, appreciates the generosity of individuals within the local communities,” the release said.
“This hospital ensures that gifts from the community enhance or increase health-care services at the main hospital facility and its community-based health centers.
The annual fund drive is not held to help balance a budget deficit, Hooper emphasized.
“We don’t do that, because it can lead to a future shortfall and distort future planning,” she said.
“In addition, this hospital is financially well-managed. Gifts received during the hospital’s annual campaign are put toward additional equipment, patient-care items or a specific purchase.”
“Health care is one area that is often a target of federal budget reduction,” hospital CEO Rod Boula said in the release.
“Grant funding for various initiatives, along with reductions in payment from Medicare and Medicaid to hospitals, are shrinking.
“Hospitals like ours undertake annual fundraising initiatives to maintain the ability to develop new services for patients.”
The campaign runs through Dec. 31.
Tax-deductible contributions to Elizabethtown Community Hospital may be made electronically through its website at www.ech.org or by check made payable to Elizabethtown Community Hospital.
Mail checks to: ECH Community Relations Department, PO Box 277, Elizabethtown, NY 12932.