‘Your Health, Our Mission: Caring for Our Families Together’ focuses on strengthening services through integrated programs and technology and reshaping behavioral health care in Harford County
The Upper Chesapeake Health Foundation announced a $15 million capital campaign, “Your Health, Our Mission: Caring for Our Families Together,” at its biennial Starnight gala on November 3.
The multifaceted comprehensive fundraising effort has two goals. The first is to strengthen services through integrated programs and technology. The second goal is to reshape behavioral health care in Harford County. The campaign was established to provide resources necessary for University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health to extend its reach into the community beyond the hospital’s traditional four walls and to serve those in need.
Craig Ward and Terri Garland are the campaign co-chairs. Andrew Klein and Tony Meoli are the honorary co-chairs. To date, $9.1 million has been raised toward the $15 million goal.
“Our strategic plans are simple. We intend to advance health care by providing the best possible care to our friends, neighbors and families,” said Lyle E. Sheldon, FACHE, president and CEO of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health is proud to stand with the community in leading transformation in health care right here at home. Together, we will make a difference.”
The first goal is to raise $7 million to strengthen services through integrated programs and technology and will focus on Cancer LifeNet, The Senator Bob Hooper House and the establishment of a technology and innovation fund.
Cancer LifeNet, located at the Kaufman Cancer Center, connects cancer patients with experts, support teams and communities of survivors to create a holistic approach to treatment and care for patients and their families. More than 12,500 individuals have benefited from its services since its founding in 2006; last year, approximately 1,700 cancer patients and their loved ones received services from Cancer LifeNet.
Cancer LifeNet costs approximately $1 million per year to operate and is funded fully through philanthropic gifts.
“You have cancer. Those are the words that no one ever wants to hear,” said Dr. Richard P. Streett, Jr., VMD, a member of the board of University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. “I heard those words in April 2016. It’s a tough thing to go through, but when someone can utilize the services that UM UCH has established through Cancer LifeNet, we know how valuable it can be for many in our community. Cancer LifeNet helped me become a survivor.”
Another program supported by the campaign is The Senator Bob Hooper House. Located in Forest Hill and celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2020, The Hooper House provides specialized hospice care and support services for residents and their families, helping them through the many issues associated with end-of-life care. No one is ever turned away because of their inability to pay.
In 2017, 227 residents received compassionate, end-of-life care. Fifty-five percent of those residents received charity care. Thanks to philanthropic endeavors, 1,240 nights of care were provided. Approximately $300,000 in philanthropic support is used in charity care each year.
Establishing a fund to provide state-of-the-art technology with innovative care close to home is another facet of strengthening services through integrated programs and technology.
The fund will help University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health ensure it has the technology, equipment and tools to provide the best local programs to patients and their families when they need them. This resource will enhance overall services to patients, reduce the time patients need to receive care and enable patients to be treated in Harford County.
An example of state-of-the-art equipment that will be acquired through philanthropy is da Vinci technology. da Vinci technology is a robotic, minimally invasive surgical system, often used during cancer surgery. University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health’s physicians who are trained and licensed to use the technology will now be able to perform procedures at the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center campus in Bel Air. This will ease the burden for patients and families having to travel to another medical campus, outside the county, for care.
Supporting technology and innovation provides three key benefits for patients: less painful procedures, faster recovery and better outcomes.
The second goal of “Your Health, Our Mission: Caring for Our Families Together,” is to raise $8 million to reshape behavioral health care in Harford County through the Harford Crisis Center. A behavioral health crisis can strike any family at any time.
In 2017, 81 lives were lost due to an overdose in Harford County; it was the third leading cause of death. In the same year, 40 lives were lost to suicide. In fact, Harford County’s suicide rate is 27 percent higher than the state average. Also higher than the state average is the percentage of newborns exposed to maternal drug and alcohol use–13 percent.
To meet this growing need, University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health has joined forces with Harford County Government, Healthy Harford/Healthy Cecil, Harford County Health Department and Office of Mental Health/Core Service Agency of Harford County, Inc. to establish the Harford Crisis Center.
Already in operation are the first-ever 24/7 crisis hotline for Harford County (800-NEXT-STEP) and Mobile Crisis Team. The Harford Crisis Center will offer 24/7 walk-in/urgent outpatient mental health care and a 24/7 residential crisis center, opening with eight beds, in addition to therapy and medication management. Harford Crisis Center is expected to be fully operational in spring 2019.
“These services help to bind families together in difficult times and make a tremendous, supportive difference,” said campaign co-chairs Craig Ward and Terri Garland.
Providing high quality care requires collaboration and support from the entire community.
The community is invited to be a part of “Your Health, Our Mission: Caring for Our Families Together” by contributing to the capital campaign. Gifts are of any size are welcome. They may be made in honor or memory of someone. Gifts may also be made as pledges and paid over three to five years. They may be matching gifts or gifts of appreciated securities, stocks and bonds. For more information, visit uchfoundation.org or call 443-643-3460.
About University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health
In December 2013 Upper Chesapeake Health became University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health. It consists of the University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Medical Center and the Patricia D. and M. Scot Kaufman Cancer Center in Bel Air, the Senator Bob Hooper House in Forest Hill and the University of Maryland Harford Memorial Hospital in Havre de Grace. The leading health care system and largest private employer in Harford County, UM Upper Chesapeake Health offers a broad range of health care services, technology and facilities to the residents of northeastern Maryland. Visit www.umuch.org for more information.