St. Anthony Shawnee hospital receives $20,000 Avedis grant for mission fund

Vicky O. Misa
The Shawnee News-Star
Pictured, from left, are Tina Hanna, Shawnee Community Fund chairman; Angi Mohr, SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Shawnee president; and Dr. Kathy Laster, Avedis Foundation president and CEO.

The Avedis Foundation has just doled out a $20,000 grant toward the Shawnee Compassion Fund, a mission recently created to help patients of SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Shawnee.

The fund is intended to address patient needs. A mother/daughter duo made a donation to create the fund to provide particular items to help the patients of SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital–Shawnee stay well once they are discharged.

The fund is modeled after two existing mission funds at SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Oklahoma City, so the local mission effort will use those established and vetted processes and policies.

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A goal of $100,000 has been established to initially fund the mission, and a donor has put forth a $40,000 dollar-for-dollar match to jumpstart the fundraising effort.

“The number of homeless, and those that are uninsured or unemployed, keeps growing and we just don’t have the resources we need to help them stay well after they are discharged,” Case Manager Tennille Walker said.

Hospital employees place pinwheels in the flowerbeds earlier this month. Each pinwheel represents a local patient who recovered from COVID-19.

While case managers do spend time talking with patients, families and the care team, she said, they spend even more time behind the scenes negotiating for services that patients will need when they are discharged back into the community.

“Sometimes there are no ideal answers to a problem, and speaking for myself and my co-workers, that hurts to the core,” Walker said.

Case managers and social workers will have direct access to and will manage the Shawnee Compassion Fund. As they meet with each patient before discharge, they will be able to evaluate patient needs and respond with assistance in real time.

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The fund will be used to help vulnerable patients with certain challenges, such as:

• Prescription Medications — The Shawnee Compassion Fund will be able to provide necessary medications for the hospital's neediest patients.

• Clothing — In the Emergency Department, medical staff often have to cut the clothing off trauma victims to assess the wound and provide treatment, leaving them with nothing to wear. Victims of sexual assault or domestic abuse must surrender all their clothing to police as evidence. Homeless patients have many needs, but as they are often outdoors and tend to walk everywhere they go, clean and properly fitting socks and shoes are some of the most critical needs to prevent blisters and infections, improve circulation and protect feet from the elements. Weather appropriate clothing – including coats, gloves, caps, rain gear, even sleeping bags in some cases – could be provided to those most in need.

• Other various needs — Those with insurance can have a hard time with copays and affording the basics for recovery. This fund will allow assistance with copays, durable medical equipment, personal hygiene kits and transportation. This is especially important if the case manager is able to locate a shelter or family member able to take a patient in, the fund can provide necessary transportation.

“It pulls at our heartstrings knowing someone has basic needs they cannot afford,” Walker said. “We believe with certainty the newly created Shawnee Compassion Fund will help the hospital provide urgently needed resources for these vulnerable patients while actively carrying out our healing mission and bless the lives of those in need.”

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Avedis President and CEO Dr. Kathy Laster said the foundation is honored to support the grant to the Shawnee Compassion Fund.

“Compassion being a core value of the Avedis Foundation ensures this gift will enable the utmost dignity to patients during a critical time of need in their life,” Laster said. “It is our pleasure to honor our local hospital and the amazing healthcare professionals making a difference for so many each and every day.”

SSM Health St. Anthony Hospital-Shawnee President Angi Mohr said the hospital is grateful to receive support from the Avedis Foundation to serve and bless its most vulnerable patients through the fund.

“This fund will provide basic items and resources these patients desperately need to continue healing after discharge,” she said. “And, thanks to a matching grant from a generous donor in Oklahoma City, all donations up to $40,000 will be matched dollar-for-dollar, doubling the impact of every gift.”

To make a donation to the fund, visit the SSM Health St. Anthony Foundation website at GiveToSaints.com.

For story ideas, questions or concerns, reporter Vicky O. Misa can be reached at vicky.misa@news-star.com.