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Employees give $201,850 to aid co-workers

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Saint Francis Medical Center's employees showed their generosity and concern for co-workers and patients by pledging more than $201,850 to the 2012 Team One campaign, almost $41,000 over the goal.

This year was the most successful in the campaign's history, and included contributions from more than half of the Medical Center's 2,400 employees and physicians.

"We are very much a family at Saint Francis, and this is just one way in which we demonstrate our commitment to the people we see each day -- including each other," says Steven C. Bjelich, FACHE-D, Saint Francis President and Chief Executive Officer. "Team One is a testament to the generous nature of the Saint Francis Family. The culture of giving that we foster at Saint Francis is evident without and within the Medical Center's walls."

"This is an amazing gift from our employees," says Linda H. Decker, executive director of the Saint Francis Foundation. "Thanks to their generous donations, we can continue to support our patients and employees -- and touch the lives of many people every day."

Contributions to Team One benefit several different funding areas: Saint Francis Caring Fund, Saint Francis Patient Care Equipment and Building Fund and the area of greatest need. Organized by the Saint Francis Foundation and an employee committee, the campaign reaches every department of the Medical Center. Employees choose the fund they wish to support and donate by payroll deduction, a one-time contribution or through earned time off.

"This is a unique program," says Decker. "It takes a special employer to put this kind of emphasis on raising funds for employees, by employees. I think it really speaks to the family atmosphere we enjoy at Saint Francis."

Team One is one of two annual employee-driven fundraising campaigns at Saint Francis. Employees also donate more than $155,000 each year to the Power of Sharing campaign, which benefits designated local agencies such as United Way of Southeast Missouri, Catholic Charities of Southern Missouri, Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southeast Missouri, Inc., Lutheran Family and Children's Services of Missouri and Safe House for Women. The campaign's committee members select the local community service agencies each year.

"We never know what kind of difficulties tomorrow might bring," says Ruth Masterson, SM (ASCP), microbiology specialist in Laboratory Services and Team One chair. "But these generous pledges can help other members of the Saint Francis Family get help when they need it most."

The Caring Fund assists members of the Saint Francis Family who experience an unforeseen emergency or crisis. Since its inception in 1994, the Caring Fund has paid out nearly $775,000 to hundreds of employees, providing assistance with utilities, rent, food, transportation, medicine, healthcare coverage and more for employees in dire need.

Ashley Ochs, an emergency medical technician at Saint Francis Medical Center's Immediate Convenient Care in Perryville, had a crisis in 2011. She was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer. Unfortunately, the time away from work due to the treatments put her family in a financial crisis. In December of that year, the Saint Francis Caring Fund stepped up to help Ochs and her family.

"We were able to pay bills," Ashley says. "I am so thankful. This is a great organization that can reach out and help those in need. The Caring Fund gave me and my husband hope that our bills would be caught up while I was seeking treatment."

Contributions to the Patient Care Equipment and Building Fund allow the Foundation to provide funds to help improve the patient and customer experience. Team One contributions have been used throughout the Medical Center for new equipment and key updates to outdated areas. The Team One committee selects the items to be funded from a list provided by each department. Each item is given careful consideration with an eye toward providing excellent patient care and improving patient satisfaction.

When patients are rehabilitating from a major procedure, injury or condition, they need to retrain their bodies to do everyday tasks like getting in and out of a car. For years, rehabilitation specialists at Saint Francis had to take patients to a parking lot to practice. Thanks to contributions from the Team One campaign, Saint Francis now has an "indoor car" for inpatient rehabilitation.

"We have seen a huge difference in the patients' confidence levels as they have been able to practice with this car," says Amy Ressel, PTA, lead physical therapy assistant. "Now they can master this skill out of the weather in a controlled setting, practicing multiple times over a period of several days. By the time they leave, they know that they will be able to get safely in and out of the car for their trip home."



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