Riverside Healthcare has started an emergency fund to provide financial resources to medical facilities combatting the coronavirus (COVID-19).
Riverside recently launched a crowdsourcing campaign on the website EverdayHero to address the coronavirus pandemic.
“Each community we serve has been directly affected by this unprecedented COVID-19 national emergency,” Peter Glagola, spokesman for Riverside, wrote in an email. “Riverside’s Make a Difference Fund enables us to meet challenges facing our community.”
The money raised from the campaign will go directly to the health care system and clinicians who are responding in the most urgent areas by providing supplies and resources needed at the facilities.
The money will also go toward helping patients affected by the virus who have been impacted financially due to layoffs, quarantines, transportation and prescription needs.
The money will also contribute to the annual Team Member Help Fund which provides additional support and assistance to team members who have been financially impacted by the virus.
Kristen Witt, executive director of the Riverside Foundation, said typically the Team Member Help Fund is not something the organization asks the community to donate to but health care facilities were getting many calls from people asking how they can help nurses and doctors on the front lines.
“We came up with this list of where the funds would go because patients are already seeing devastating effects on the economy,” she said. “But we also have many team members who are seeing the financial effects, whether through layoffs or needing childcare. So we need the emergency funds.”
Originally the fund’s goal was to raise $12,000 but it surpassed that number as of Monday morning, having raised $12,860 with only 23 donations, according to the fund’s webpage. As a result, the goal has now been raised to $15,000.
Witt said it’s a typical fundraising technique to set the goal low and then to raise it as more funds come in. It helps people know their contribution, no matter how small, is helping.
But the fund’s current amount is just the tip of the iceberg for providing the necessary financial assistance. Last year, Witt said the Riverside Foundation spent approximately $900,000 on the community, a majority of which was related to patient assistance.
That means providing assistance in a variety of ways, from finding patients rides to care facilities to making sure they can pay for their medications.
Witt said Care Navigators, who are individuals not covered by insurance that work with patients to provide additional services, are predicting the need for additional patient assistance to increase tremendously due to the coronavirus.
Witt said funds such as this one help Riverside cover “the three Gs.”
First is providing service that goes from good to great. This means parts of the fund goes to specific enhancements to patient care and outcomes, but does not go to areas like employee salaries.
Second is filling the insurance gap. Witt said insurance only covers certain aspects of health care and patients could need more.
“We know a patient needs more than [what insurance covers] to recover, so we aren’t going to just sit by and let you suffer,” she said. “We have people who will help.”
Third is gratitude. Witt said there are many people in the community that are looking to express gratitude to the healthcare system that is providing life-changing services. By offering the Riverside Fund as a way to donate, they can feel as though they’re saying “thank you” for those services.
She added that donors can even specify through the fund where they want their money to go.
While the fund’s goal continues to go up, the money is already being dispersed to urgent areas, Witt said. Those areas are determined on a day-to-day basis depending on responses and information from various departments at the health care facilities.
To learn more about how to donate, visit the emergency fund online.
As of Tuesday, James City County remains to have one of the highest positive cases of coronavirus in the state at 37; Williamsburg has 5, York County, 6 and Newport News, 3, according to the Virginia Department of Health.
The death toll in Virginia stands at 7 – one in Fairfax County, one in Virginia Beach and 5 in the Peninsula Health District.
Virginia, as of Tuesday, has 290 positive coronavirus cases.
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