Patients in dire straights often inspired NorthBay Healthcare employees to reach into their own pockets to help. After all, who could walk away when a sick child is in the ER and mom can’t afford an important medication? Or from a patient who is about to be discharged, only to find that his utility service has been turned off?
To help patients with unexpected, immediate needs, NorthBay employees formed the HERO Fund, which stands for “Helping Employees Reach Out.” Funded by employee donations that are matched by NorthBay Healthcare, HERO helps patients who have medical and financial needs that can’t be met within the walls of our facilities.
A warm coat, money to pay for a medication, or a gas card to help a patient get home, are just a few examples of gifts that have been funded through HERO.
“This is an incredible program that our employees should be very proud of,” says Patty Kramer, director of social services. “I wish they could all see the faces and hear the comments of so many people we’ve assisted.”
Patty stresses that the fund is used only when a patient has expended all other resources – friends, credit cards or other community resources. In 2008, the majority of funds went to help with the cost of medications. The fund also provided food vouchers to Safeway, Greyhound bus tickets and even help with rent.
Some patients have even larger needs and HERO has stepped in to help. For example, one young man was involved in a severe accident. His physical therapy services ran out before he recovered. Because his therapist said that with help he could make a full recovery, the HERO Fund paid for a one-year membership in a local gym where his therapist could oversee his care. His mother was near tears, expressing her appreciation.
HERO also stepped in to pay the rent for a family of a teenager dying of cancer. Mom had left her job to care for her daughter, and her husband had not found consistent work.
“A program like this is unheard of in most hospitals, and we are so thankful for our generous employees,” Patty adds. “We witness time after time how much this fund helps.”