Chattanooga, Tenn. – On Saturday, May 3, dragons and warriors alike will descend on the TVA Park at Chickamauga Dam for a water war like no other. The purpose of this popular Chattanooga boating battle is to benefit Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.
Dating back more than 2,300 years, Dragon Boat racing features teams of 20 paddlers, a drummer and a steerer in 41-foot long Chinese dragon boats, racing through the water to the finish line. Paddlers ages 15 and older at any skill and fitness levels can participate, making it the ultimate team building sport.
For the second year in a row, one of the region’s leading investment firms, Patten and Patten, Inc. is proud to present one of the area’s most exciting events.
“We are extremely grateful and excited to have Patten and Patten, Inc as presenting sponsor, and we appreciate not only their financial support but their enthusiastic participation in the race,” said Yogi Anderson, Director of Development at Children’s Hospital Foundation. “We cannot wait for this year’s event, and I encourage everyone to be a part of this fun-filled day to support Children’s Hospital.”
It is not too late to register for the event. Corporate and community teams are encouraged to register their boat and a fundraising page by going to http://paddleforchildrenshospital.org. Early bird registration lasts until April 1. Boating registration is currently $750 for a company team or $700 for a community team. The last day to register is April 26.
“Thanks to the paddlers’ and teams’ fundraising efforts, the real winners of this event are children who receive the medical care they need at Children’s Hospital,” said Katie Jackson, Annual Giving and Events Coordinator at the Children’s Hospital Foundation.
To better serve more than 40,000 children who come to the hospital this year, participants are asked to raise $4,000 per team or $190 per person in pledges.
“That equals approximately a dime for every child who is treated annually at Children’s Hospital,” said Jackson. “Proceeds go directly to the region’s only Children’s Hospital to help provide the necessary services for sick or injured children in our area.”
Last year, paddlers from 53 teams raised more than $250,000 for Children’s Hospital.
Teams can decorate their tents, wear their dragon apparel and cheer throughout the races. Top prizes will be awarded to the fastest teams and those raising the most money.
Individuals interested in learning more about the event are encouraged to attend a kick-off meeting on Tuesday, March 25 at 5:30 p.m. at Big River Grille & Brewing Works. Race veterans and last year’s rookies will discuss their experiences and share tips on fundraising, team building and making race day a success. The hospital’s 2014 Miracle Children and their families will also be on hand at this kick-off event to share their stories about how the region’s only pediatric hospital made a difference in their lives.
Amelia Sullivan has been a volunteer Cuddler at Children’s Hospital for 16 years and has given more than 5,000 hours of her time and talent. As a Cuddler in the NICU, Amelia helps feed and bathe the newborns. She changes diapers, take the babies’ temperatures and, most importantly, comforts them. Amelia is that loving touch that warms a newborn too small to warm herself. She gives that touch that tells a baby born addicted to drugs that he is loved. When moms and dads take a break to get something to eat, get rest, or simply can’t be there because of work or other reasons, Amelia is cuddling their babies, holding and rocking them gently.
When requested, Amelia helps new parents learn proper techniques, like hand washing, bathing and swaddling. Amelia is also the Cuddler Trainer. She interviews all applicants applying to volunteer in this role. After an applicant goes though the hospital’s volunteer process, Amelia conducts three four-hour training sessions in the evenings – also all on her own time and with no pay.
There is even a plaque in the NICU near one of the giraffe beds that reads, “This bed is given in honor of Amelia Sullivan to benefit the many babies who will start their lives here.”
Please congratulate Amelia and thank her for being our Volunteer Star!
The following letter was distributed yesterday from Erlanger President and CEO Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE, to the Erlanger workforce explaining the tough decision of freezing PTO time.
I want to personally reach out to you following the announcement of PTO accrual being suspended on March 2, 2014 because it is important you understand why this tough decision had to be made. I also hope you will benefit from some additional information and dedicated efforts that are being made.
This decision applied to all of us because we’re in this recovery together. This PTO suspension applied to me, to all executives, managers, physicians and the entire workforce.
Our losses in January and February were staggering, so suspending the PTO accrual temporarily makes much more sense than for the region’s leading Academic Medical Center to face the possibility of laying off 25% of its workforce, closing services and struggling to meet its mission to this community. This is about saving Erlanger so the residents of this community will receive the care that only Erlanger can provide. We save lives; never forget that.
I want to be transparent so you can fully and clearly understand what has impacted Erlanger and why this action was necessary.
New Negative Financial Impacts on Erlanger
- Loss of the State DSH (Disproportionate Share Hospital): $8.5 M – 7/13 - Tennessee is the only state without DSH
- Loss of TennCare Cover Kids: $1.2 M – 7/13
- Sequestration Cuts (government shut-down): $2 M – 4/13
- ACA Mandated Cuts: $1.2 M – 4/13
- TennCare Blue Care outsourced lab Cuts: $1 M – 7/13
Erlanger’s uncompensated care to this community is significantly rising this fiscal year from $86 million to over $92 million. This is an additional $6 million expense which currently Erlanger cannot afford. We are working very hard to correct this.
The state directly benefits from Erlanger’s uncompensated care at the rate of 66 cents on every dollar we provide to this community — this is the Certified Public Expenditure (CPE). Most states direct the CPE to the hospital that does the work, but not in Tennessee. It goes into the state general fund. In other words, our state benefits by over $60 million due to our uncompensated care. In January, for example, we successfully treated a young, uninsured mother of two whose lungs failed from the flu. She was going to die and we saved her life. Our nurses and doctors do this on a regular basis. The direct cost to Erlanger of that life-saving ECMO treatment was more than $200,000.
To overcome these cuts of $14 million, plus an additional $6 million in uncompensated care, numerous cost-saving initiatives have been implemented. Many of these were outlined in the “You Should Know” communication distributed last week. Please see the attachment for other initiatives implemented in addition to the suspension of PTO accrual this week.
We were doing well in light of the substantive financial cuts imposed on us during our journey to achieve a major and difficult turnaround. However, the impact of multiple snow days in January and February led to significant and unanticipated financial losses that we could not afford. This is on top of operational losses from the past three years, a lack of reserves and state and federal cuts that have dramatically and disproportionately impacted us.
Since beginning our quest this past April, several of us have worked tirelessly advocating for Erlanger. Governor Haslam did step up on Erlanger’s behalf and approve for State TennCare Commissioner Darin Gordon to submit a TennCare Waiver Amendment, which would restore State DSH funding of $8.5 million to Erlanger, as well as provide us with access to the federal Public Hospital Supplemental Payment (PHSP) of $30 million. As you know, Nashville General and the Regional Medical Center in Memphis have shared $70 million of this funding for the past four years, and we are asking for our fair share. Not only do we deserve it, but we have earned it! Why we have not been receiving our fair share is very bothersome to me, but it is something we can fix.
I am again meeting in Washington DC next week with the Administrator of CMS Marilyn Tavenner, as well as Tennessee Hospital Association President Craig Becker, Dr. Chris Young, President of the Tennessee Medical Association, and Commissioner Darin Gordon. We will be advocating for the restoration of both the State DSH and Erlanger’s fair share of the PHSP. If either the DSH or PHSP funding is approved – and we receive these funds before the end of the fiscal year – I will reinstate future PTO accrual immediately.
As you can see, the difficult decisions we are making, while unpleasant, are necessary to ensure our survival. I want to thank you for doing your share in this quest to turn around the Erlanger Health System. We have done well in light of the external fiscal cuts imposed on us.
Working together through these tough times, we will build a stronger Erlanger Health System, and protect this community’s greatest asset.
Kevin M. Spiegel, FACHE
President & CEO
Erlanger Health System
Other On-going Initiatives
- The Erlanger management team is actively renegotiating payment terms with vendors. Not only are we requesting a reduction in payments from our vendors, but are also requesting vendors to delay payments from Erlanger for several months. This effort is also expected to result in significant savings this fiscal year.
- Erlanger is selling several non-performing assets, including the Chattanooga Lifestyle Center downtown, and office buildings in Ooltewah and Soddy Daisy in an effort to generate additional cash reserves.
- The majority of capital improvement expenditures have been frozen for the remainder of the fiscal year. Emergent items will still be purchased via the appropriate Vice-President.
- With the March 1 conversion of our food/nutrition and environmental staff and services to Aramark, Erlanger will recognize an annual savings of up to $3 million.
- Erlanger continues to make strategic decisions around the growth of our primary care network, as well as the recent acquisition of two widely-known and respected orthopedic practices. Within the upcoming month, we anticipate that these surgeons will be able to perform all their inpatient and outpatient surgeries at Erlanger.
- Another strategic and tactical decision to boost growth – and meet a critical community need – is the upcoming opening of the region’s first Epilepsy Center, which will further enhance Erlanger’s world-class neurosciences program and boost our patient volumes.
- Erlanger officials and Development Office staff are actively seeking private contributions to help fund key programs and services.
- To increase days of cash on hand, Erlanger is accelerating collections of our Accounts Receivables through a third party – without negatively impacting the expenses of the organization.
- Erlanger has acted boldly and decisively to seek repayment of loans to Hutcheson, up to and including filing a lawsuit against Hutcheson this week.
Erlanger is working closely with Med-Trans, which operates our air ambulance service, on obtaining a major infusion of capital this fiscal year, including the addition of two new helicopters to help protect our market position in the region –
Join Jeremy Screws, M.D., a pediatric gastroenterologist at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, and area healthcare professionals for a free one day parent workshop on Eosinophilic GI disease on Saturday, March 15 from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. in the Probasco Auditorium at Erlanger Baroness Campus.
Eosinophilic GI disease is a condition that causes inflammation and tissue damage. The inflammation can be located in multiple areas of the body such as the esophagus, stomach, small and large intestines. Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EOE) is the best understood form of this group of diseases. Studies show food allergies, drug reactions, infectious diseases, and various other disorders and diseases can be potential triggers for the inflammation. Dietary therapy has been known to decrease the chances of inflammation. Medications have also been helpful in controlling symptoms.
Eosinophilic GI disease can be a very difficult to navigate for a child who is trying to grow. This is also true for parents or caregivers who need to be aware of what the child may be eating when he or she is away from home.
Eosinophilic GI Disease Education Workshop aims to educate parents, caregivers and children 12 years or older about dietary elimination of cow’s milk, soy, wheat, eggs, nuts and shellfish while learning about nutrition and growth on an elimination diet. Families will also identify strategies to navigate the home and school environment and learn about food allergy testing.
Dr. Screws is a graduate of University of Mississippi School of Medicine and completed his residency at University of Tennessee College of Medicine Chattanooga and his fellowship at University of California, Los Angeles. As member of the Pediatric Gastroenterologists practice at Children’s Hospital at Erlanger since 2007, he has diagnosed and treated children in the region for conditions that affect the digestive system such as inflammatory bowel disease, Celiac disease, food allergies, gastroesophageal reflux disease, and liver, pancreatic, and eosinophilic disorders.
Lunch will be provided during the conference. Registration is required. For more information or to register for this free event, please call Erlanger’s HealthLink at (423) 778-LINK (5465).
The Baroness Erlanger Foundation will honor Thomas Devlin, MD, PhD, Blaise Baxter, MD, James Creel, MD, and former Hamilton County mayor Claude Ramsey at the 2014 Dinner of Distinction on Thursday, March 6, at the Chattanoogan.
The three physicians and community honoree will be recognized for their enduring commitment to foster quality medicine within the region with the utmost human compassion, and as well for their unquestionable character.
Dr. Tom Devlin is the Medical Director of the Erlanger Southeast Regional Stroke Center, one of the largest and busiest stroke centers in the country. Dr. Blaise Baxter, interventional neuroradiologist, assisted in the development of the stroke center and has refined techniques in performing stroke interventions. Dr. Jim Creel, Chief Medical Officer for Erlanger Health System, has been a pioneer in developing advanced skills for emergency medicine. Former Hamilton County mayor Claude Ramsey strongly supported and advocated for Erlanger and quality medicine within the region throughout his political career.
The March 6 event begins with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by the dinner and program at 6 p.m. Individual tickets are $85, and table sponsorships are available. For more information or to purchase tickets, contact Dee Hardin at the Baroness Erlanger Foundation at 423-778-7373 or email@example.com.
(Pictured are Dr. Valerie Stine, TY Resident; Jill Cannon with Case Management; Dr. Patrick Aldred, TY Resident; Dr. Mukta Panda, Chair, Department of Medicine, & TY Program Director; Dr. Jennifer Dooley, TY Associate Program Director and Core Faculty, Department of Medicine; Dr. Carter Pelham, TY Resident; and Dr. Andrea Wood, TY Resident)
What is Solidarity Day? A celebration initiated by the national Gold Foundation and Honor Society after the tragic shootings in Tuscon, Arizona, involving Congresswoman Gabriel Gifford in January 2011. February 14 was the day selected to honor this day each year and the importance of compassionate and humanistic patient care. Link for more information: http://bit.ly/1hjmHKV
Solidarity Day 2014 sponsors: The UT GHHS Chapter and the Chattanooga Transitional Year Residency Program
Solidarity Day Activity 2014: Thank you cards (paper and in electronic format) and Solidarity buttons from our GHHS Chapter to each nursing station at our UT-affiliated hospitals acknowledging them for all they (and you) do to provide quality compassionate care to their patients: Methodist University Hospital, LeBonheur Children’s Hospital, and The Regional Medical Center in Memphis; St. Thomas Midtown Hospital in Nashville; University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville; and Erlanger and Children’s in Chattanooga. Our GHHS members and Transitional Year Residents in Chattanooga electronically signed the cards with a few special messages. The thank you cards and buttons were sent to Nursing Administration Office at each hospital so they can be distributed to each nursing station and were electronically emailed to all nursing staff at each facility.
Erlanger and the UT College of Medicine Chattanooga want all of our colleagues and healthcare providers to know how much we appreciate all you do for your patients and for our medical students and residents throughout the UT System.
Our GHHS Chapter leader, Dr. Mukta Panda (also Chair, Department of Internal Medicine in Chattanooga and Program Director for the Transitional Year Residency in Chattanooga), and I want to sincerely thank you for all you do. You are the hands of compassion for our patients and important teachers and role models for our medical students and residents.
Submitted by UTCOM Chattanooga
Chattanooga, Tenn. – On Tuesday, March. 4, five local IHOP restaurants will once again offer each guest a free short stack of their famous buttermilk pancakes on National Pancake Day. This family-friendly tradition aims to raise needed funds and awareness for T.C. Thompson Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, a Children’s Miracle Network (CMN) Hospital.
For every short stack of buttermilk pancakes served on Tuesday, March 4, between 7 a.m. and 10 p.m., IHOP guests are invited to make a voluntary donation to Children’s Hospital. Since 2006, IHOP National Pancake Day has raised more than $10 million to provide life-saving treatment, programs and medical equipment for pediatric patients — including the 36,000 patients treated annually at our region’s only children’s hospital.
“IHOP has been a tremendous partner for us,” said Rebecca Brinkley, Children’s Hospital CMN representative. “Even our associates and patients cannot wait to participate in National Pancake Day each year. In 2013, the local restaurants and their customers raised more than $13,000 for Children’s Hospital at Erlanger, and we look forward to another successful event this year.”
Be sure to stop in at any of the following IHOP locations on Tuesday, March 4 to benefit Children’s Hospital at Erlanger
5814 Brainerd Road, Chattanooga, TN37411
5113 Hwy 153, Hixson, TN37343
2047 Battlefield Parkway, Fort Oglethorpe, GA30742
1510 Walnut Ave, Dalton, GA30720
4323 Freedom Parkway, NW, Cleveland, TN37312
For more information, find a local IHOP or make an online donation to Children’s Hospital at Erlanger visit www.IHOPpancakeday.com.