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Despite profit, hospital says it must raise cash

December 01, 1999

Jefferson MemorialBy DAVE McMILLION / Staff Writer, Charles Town

photo: KEVIN G. GILBERT / staff photographer




RANSON, W.Va. - As it has in past years, Jefferson Memorial Hospital this holiday season is asking the public for a Christmas present: money for new equipment.

Up to $40,000 is raised every year through the two-month Tradition of Caring campaign, and the money is used to pay for equipment that may not be identified in the regular budget process, said hospital spokeswoman Teresa McCabe.

Major capital expenditures are usually covered under the hospital's budget, but some equipment, such as ventilators, might not receive priority attention in the budget process, McCabe said.

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About two weeks ago, the hospital sent out about 5,000 Tradition of Caring brochures to residents in the county, explaining how the campaign works, McCabe said. People usually make their donations to the hospital over the next two months, and individual donations typically are between $50 and $100, McCabe.

McCabe said the campaign is usually held during the holidays.

"This is the time of the year when people are feeling good and want to give," McCabe said Wednesday.

This year's campaign is under way even though the hospital turned a profit this year. McCabe declined to say what the hospital's revenues were in the past fiscal year because an audit has not been completed.

The hospital's revenues aren't a factor in the Tradition of Caring campaign, McCabe said.

"I never even thought of it in that respect before," she said.

The Tradition of Caring has always been thought of as a program that is separate from the budget process, McCabe said.

Going to the community for money is not usual for hospitals, she said.

City Hospital near Martinsburg conducts similar campaigns through a separate agency known as the Gateway Foundation, McCabe said.

With hospitals across the country facing cutbacks in Medicare reimbursements, hospitals have to find a way to recoup those losses, said Vicque Charrette, communications assistant for City Hospital.

Staggering costs of medical equipment are yet another challenge facing hospitals, Charrette said.

The Gateway Foundation sponsors a number of fund-raising events every year, including the Gateway Foundation Golf Classic every June at The Woods Resort and Conference Center. Golf packages costing about $125 are sold for the event, and a portion of the money goes to the hospital, Charrette said.

Last year's golf tournament raised about $40,000, Charrette said.

"Let's face it: Technology costs," she said. "We really look to the Gateway Foundation to help us out."

Money raised through Jefferson Memorial's Tradition of Caring campaign this year will be used to purchase equipment such as a vital-signs monitor for the pediatrics unit, a blanket warmer and stretchers for the emergency room, McCabe said.

In past years, the campaign has paid for purchase of a special crib in the pediatrics unit and stretchers, she said.

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