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Going above and beyond for emergency services

Emergency department
The new Emergency Department is open; renovation will continue into 2019.

Thanks to a supportive community, the Foundation’s first-ever capital campaign for a new Emergency Department exceeds its target

Setting an ambitious goal is always a motivating, exciting opportunity toward building momentum. But exceeding it? That’s even better.

For Augusta Health’s Moments Matter campaign — which set a target of $2 million for a new Emergency Department — that milestone came recently, with fundraising now totaling $38,000 over that $2 million.

“We’re thrilled to have reached our goal, and to already be going beyond it,” says Foundation Director Tami Radecke. “We are so grateful to members of the Foundation Board and Campaign Committee for their dedication to and support for this effort.”

Community needs met

Moments Matter — launched in 2017 as Augusta Health’s first-ever capital campaign — focuses on emergency services due to a strong community need, says Foundation Philanthropy Manager Sherri Heishman.

Built in 1994 to serve 35,000 patients per year, the ED is often well over capacity, seeing about 62,000 patients annually. The project will double the number of rooms, from 24 treatment rooms to 48, and also double the amount of square footage. Three very small trauma rooms — cramped due to so much life-saving equipment — will be significantly expanded for more patient comfort and treatment efficiency.

Also notable, the expanded and renovated ED will have five dedicated spaces just for behavioral health patients, which is three more than before.

In a community health needs assessment done in 2016, mental health was reported as one of the top three priorities for those in the community. This will help Augusta Health meet that need more comprehensively.

The greater capacity, higher patient comfort and expanded capabilities are all part of what’s driving excitement around Moments Matter, says Heishman.

“This is truly about the community,” she notes. “At some point, almost everyone will need the ED, whether for yourself, your family members or friends. You want an emergency room that’s well equipped to serve your needs when it counts, and that’s what we’ll have.”

Every donation matters

Just as every minute is crucial in an emergency situation, Radecke emphasizes that every donation — whether it’s $10 or $10,000 — matters in the campaign.

“We are grateful for every single gift,” she says. “And people can feel good about the fact that 100 percent of each donation goes directly to the campaign. There are no administrative costs involved.”

The Moments Matter campaign began with 100 percent participation from Augusta Health, Foundation board members and executive leadership. Those efforts got the Foundation a considerable distance toward its goal. Since then, Radecke says, gifts have come in from Augusta Health executives, businesses, foundations, physicians and employees, as well as community residents.

Food service provider Sodexo offered a challenge grant of $100,000, which means that if Augusta and the community came up with that amount before the close of the campaign, Sodexo would match it. With that as an incentive, donations began coming in even faster, and the grant was secured.

In an additional fundraising effort, a mailer about the project was sent to 10,000 homes in late August, with a considerable amount of positive feedback and support coming back as a result.

“Half of the people who responded are brand-new donors,” says Radecke. “They’ve never given to the Foundation or the hospital before, and I think that’s an indication of the importance of this project as a critical community resource that so many people are ready to rally behind.”

She added that many Foundation board members and Augusta Health employees who had already donated stepped up to make additional gifts because they felt so passionate about the project’s impact.

The anticipated completion of the ED is August 2019, and there may be some shuffling around before then, as physicians and nurses treat patients in spaces that are partially under construction, Heishman says. Until then, she and Radecke expect the momentum for Moments Matter to keep going strong.

Learn more about the Augusta Health Foundation. Call (540) 332-5174 or email ahfoundation@augustahealth.com.