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Why I Give

A Grateful Patient ... A Grateful Family
​If you asked Excela Health critical care nurse Jason Scott, BSN, RN, what he did that made such an impression on the Raymond Huey family, it's likely that he would insist that it wasn't anything special; he was just being himself. But Scott's personality and easy way of relating to his patients coupled with his demonstrated nursing expertise are precisely what prompted Huey's son, Tom, to make a $1,000 gift to the Westmoreland/Frick Hospital Foundation honoring him for the outstanding care extended to a grateful patient.

Ray and Karen Huey have lived in their same home in Irwin for 50 years, independently enjoying their lives with little need for hospitalization until later in life.

Recently, however, Ray was hospitalized in the intensive care unit at Excela Westmoreland Hospital for an infection that had turned to sepsis. At 91 and in need of a variety of interventions including intravenous medications, Ray was understandably afraid. But what the family witnessed when visiting was how well their loved one was faring as a result of the attentive engagement with Scott. "Jason made us comfortable on so many levels," explained Tom Huey. "We were able to sleep at night, knowing Dad's medical needs were met but also that he was cared about, not just cared for. Jason found ways to relate as they shared stories about boating and golf that clearly lifted Dad's spirits and put him at ease, which signaled to us he was in excellent hands. Jason's ability to sooth fears resonated with the entire family, and it comes as no surprise that he provides that same level of care to everyone."

Trusts Offer Lifeline To Most Vulnerable

Thanks to a $10,000 gift to the Westmoreland/Frick Hospital Foundation from the Charles B. Hollingsworth and Lucille R. Hollingsworth trusts, the Excela Health Pharmacy is assisting behavioral health patients who have been hospitalized on the
adult inpatient unit at Excela Westmoreland Hospital with a successful discharge.

The Meds to Beds program offers Westmoreland Hospital patients the opportunity to fill the initial prescription of a new medication through Excela's onsite outpatient pharmacy rather than travel to a community retail pharmacy after discharge. For those who choose to utilize this service, the pharmacist handles insurance authorization, collects
the co-pay where applicable and delivers the medicine to the patient's room.

Under this iteration of the program, the behavioral health patient's co-pay for a new prescription may be covered through the trust gift and the remainder billed to insurance. Having the medication in hand when leaving the hospital and helping with the upfront out-of-pocket expense help eliminate barriers to compliance and aid in recovery. Eligible patients include those who did not have money with them at the time of admission, or those who are unable to pay at all.

George Mizikar, Director of Behavioral Health Services, emphasized the significance of this gift particularly during COVID-19. "If patients had any level of anxiety, the pandemic found it. They were fearful of leaving their home to get medication, or taking public transportation. Telepsychiatry has been extremely beneficial during this time, as have the outreach calls from our therapists. The Meds to Beds Program is invaluable to serving this vulnerable population."

Planning to "Pay it Forward"
Betty Hammer

Betty Hammer​Betty Hammer was raised during the Depression, proud to be called a coal miner’s daughter. And while she credits her hardworking parents with instilling a strong values system in their large family, she muses that it was only later in life that she came to appreciate the concept of philanthropy. “My family struggled and wasn’t used to giving, but I realized why they didn’t give even though things were tight – they were never

As a fund-raiser and development officer, she made it a point during her working years at the Greensburg YWCA and the Westmoreland Museum of American Art not to have others miss the opportunity to support these community organizations – she was willing to ask! That practice continued during her time as a volunteer member of the Westmoreland/Frick Hospital Foundation Board, and shapes her decision-making still.

“I truly believe in the importance of paying it forward,” she says. “Everyone has, or should have a will, as a starting point because we all are likely to have resources that will outlast us. Being able to make a difference in the lives of others when we’re gone is more than just creating or continuing a legacy; it’s fundamental to ensuring that essential services remain available.”

That’s why Betty has an estate plan that includes Excela Health through its foundations. And it’s why she remains committed to talking with others about how significant a gift – no matter the dollar amount – is to the health and well-being of the health system as well as the patients who will receive medical care.

“There are lots of reasons to give to help the hospital fulfill its mission,” she stresses. “Not the least of which is that whether you’re 8 or 80, you are likely to have needed care and when you did, you had an expectation that it would be the very best. From the latest in equipment and expertise to take care of a heart patient, or the creation of a warm and welcoming environment for a newborn, I am proud of our hospital system and grateful to play a part in making sure high-quality care is available close to home now and in the future.”

Giving From The Heart

Although Steve Petro didn't live to see the full extent of upgrades to the Excela Health cardiovascular program, his coworkers assured his spirit will live on with memorial gifts to the Westmoreland/Frick Hospital Foundation that support the Heart, Lung & Vascular Center. Trained as a cardiovascular technologist, Petro played a critical role in assuring safe healthcare practices for the team over a career that spanned four decades. A significant aspect of his work prior to his passing in November 2020 was the tracking of radiation exposure for all of the clinicians, and the accurate charting of procedural radiation to ensure appropriate dosing for each patient. Highly regarded by the cardiologists, he always had the best interest of the patient in mind, and would never hesitate to speak up with ideas for improving case outcomes. And yet, despite all of his years of experience, he also knew there was still more to be learned, and he was never shy about asking for help, or posing questions if he was unsure. Thus far, nearly $3,800 has been donated in his memory toward enhancements to cardiac catheterization and gifts are still being accepted.

David S. DeRose, Esq.
David DeRoseMost of us believe that a health care emergency will happen to someone else. I believed that too, before I suffered a heart attack! Of course, I was in denial about my symptoms, given that I was right in the middle of a holiday celebration. It must be a bit of indigestion from too many treats at the buffet.

But, my discomfort was a true medical emergency—a heart attack.
Thanks to quick action by my wife and colleagues, the outstanding ambulance crew and the Latrobe Hospital Emergency Department, my outcome was a positive one. I understand now from my own reluctance to seek care, that countless others do likewise and many have a different outcome than mine.

Today, I am a community champion, educating on the message of the Golden Hour—that window of time in which the damage from a heart attack or stroke can be minimized. And, I as well as my family, lend our support financially to help enhance the cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation programs at Latrobe Hospital, as well as other patient-care initiatives. This is our way of giving back to those who gave me back my life.

I also practice what I preach regarding health and wellness. Regularly, I continue to participate in the cardiac rehab and maintenance program, which allows me to work out before work, several times a week.

Robert Brooks
Pennsylvania State Representative

Robert BrooksAs a parent, my most important responsibility is to guide my children by example - promoting quality of life that's rooted in family, education, faith in action, and physical and mental well-being. I carry that philosophy into our family foundation, where we don't just "give" money, we focus money on caring for our fellow man ... it's still the family ... just a bigger family.

It's important to develop the individual, but just as necessary to support systems that can bring about change, locally and globally. With Excela Health as the hub of my county, I feel strongly about assuring we have the best capabilities available. I want to be part of transforming the environment into one of absolute service where a patient's dignity and worth are elevated even in the midst of tragedy. I'm not just giving money, I'm giving hope.

Paul Mongell
Retired President, Penn Line Service

Paul MongellMy father passed away at Frick Hospital where he received wonderful end-of-life care. Our family, gathered, wanting to be close for these final moments to support one another and ease the transition for all of us. Given the space constraints of the typical hospital room, however, it was a challenge.

Being on the receiving end of comfort care from the Frick clinical staff, I realized how much other families would benefit from a dedicated area in which to share those last hours. It is fortuitous that a larger, private room could be identified for this purpose, and appointed with furnishings and a nourishment cart, while loved ones wrestle with emotional and spiritual matters, as well as practical tasks. I have been a longtime supporter of the Frick Hospital Foundation, valuing the intimacy that's possible when friends and neighbors are the care providers. I know that my gifts help to address not only clinical needs that ensure expert, up-to-date care, but also the creation and maintenance of a comforting environment. Both are an essential part of medical care.

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