ELKINS, W.Va. – Overwhelming community support has been integral in assuring local medical patients receive the best possible care through Davis Health System. In 2021, Davis Health System Foundation received more than half a million dollars –$551,290 – in total gifts. The gifts were received from 519 donors – a two percent increase from 2020 that included 190 first-time donors.
“Our mission is to advance healthcare through giving, and I think everyone has come to understand for hospitals —especially small rural hospitals— the margin is not there to provide all the facilities, equipment, and programs that you want to provide to your community, programs that they expect and that they need,” Mike Bell, DHS Foundation Executive Director said.
One of the many collaborations between the community and the Foundation was the acquisition of a General Electric 1.5T 8-channel brain array coil for the DMC Radiology Department which prevents patients from having to travel for certain MRI services.
“Within the first week of installation, we performed scans on three patients who, due to their physical condition, would have needed to go elsewhere for their exam. Now we are able to prevent these patients from leaving Davis Medical Center and traveling for their MRI,” said Joseph Dibacco, DMC Director of Radiology. Contributions to this initiative came through #Giving Tuesday and a special year-end gift from Mike Ross.
Another Foundation project that was widely supported by the community was new equipment to administer infant hearing screenings at birth. “We try to do infant hearing screenings right after birth because if impaired hearing or deafness is diagnosed within three months, they can get the intervention or treatment needed so they can keep up and will be ready for school,” Bell said. “We were able to reach out to donors mid-year and say ‘This is a goal we have,’” he continued. “We often identify opportunities that make a difference and then turn to the community and ask, ‘Will you join us in this? Will you partner with us in this?’”
The LIVEWELL program is a third Foundation initiative that offers special care kits for patients diagnosed with cancer. The kits include things such as hats, sunscreen, and razors for men, as well as lotion, makeup, and other items. Twenty-three kits were distributed in January and February alone. The LIVEWELL program is sponsored in part by Partner in Caring Mountain Valley Bank.
In addition, the DMC Cancer Patient Assistance Fund provided financial aid to local cancer patients through 23 free mammograms including 3-D mammography; complimentary lodging at The Davis House, a DMC facility which offers a “home away from home” to family members of cancer patients when travel is unavoidable; and transportation assistance, medication, dental services, and medical supplies or equipment for 316 patients.
Contributions to the DHS Foundation have also assisted hospitals in neighboring counties in a variety of ways. The Webster Memorial Hospital Fund made a $20,000 matching grant to Webster Memorial EMS which, together with the community contributions of $11,829, assisted in purchasing a new ambulance unit and rescue equipment. Similarly, the Broaddus Hospital (BH) Fund provided a $10,000 grant to purchase a new bariatric stretcher and mattress for the BH Emergency Department.
“All our support is for Davis Medical Center, Broaddus Hospital, Webster Memorial Hospital, and their patients,” Bell said. “I think people respond so generously because their gift stays close to home. We are very localized, and folks will give if they see the difference it makes for people here at home.”
The Foundation website – www.dhsfoundation.org – provides more information on the organization’s work, as well as a “Your Gifts at Work” tab, which provides donors a first-hand look at how contributions are used.
“We are most excited about the opportunity to reconnect with our community. A couple years of virtual or small gatherings has made us excited about planning to be with our community more this year,” Bell said. “Our next big fundraising event is our Kentucky Derby Gala event on May 7 at the Phil Gainer Community Center. It is a fundraising event, but it always feels like a homecoming celebration because most of the people there support us throughout the year. It is a good opportunity for fellowship and to celebrate what we are able to do as a community.” Tickets to future DHS Foundation events can be acquired by calling (304) 630-3043 or by visiting www.dhsfoundation.org.