ALLEGAN — Allegan General Hospital’s foundation has raised $300,000 in donations for digital mammography and to revamp a wing for its infusion center.
Perrigo Foundation donated $100,000 in July 2009, and issued a separate challenge grant promising another $100,000 if the Allegan General Hospital Foundation were able to raise $100,000 from the community. It did.
Brent Larson, the hospital foundation’s executive director, said the money will go toward renovating a wing for infusion services, which include chemotherapy for cancer patients and other intravenous treatments for people with a variety of conditions.
Jill Krcatovich, manager of nursing informatics and the infusion center for Allegan General, said the infusion area currently is gerrymandered into a four-bed ward with a single adjoining semi-private room. The area also accommodates offices and storage, she said.
“We’re in the middle of the same-day surgery wing,” she said. “It’s a pretty tight space that we’re in.”
The plan is to relocate departments currently in the wing and remodel it specifically for infusion services and an office and exam rooms for the oncologist who spends one day per week there, Krcatovich said.
She said there are no plans to add radiation therapy at Allegan General, and most patients travel to the West Michigan Cancer Center in Kalamazoo for that service.
Currently, the cramped quarters leave little room for a friend or family member to accompany the patient during treatment, she said. The area also lacks a waiting room, which can be a particular problem when children accompany the patient’s driver. The finished area may also include comfortable chairs, Internet access, music systems and headphones, televisions, a library and education area and better privacy options, Krcatovich said.
Funds also will be allocated for the purchase of a digital mammography unit and to provide mammographies for low-income women.
She said no timelines are available at this time.
In a prepared statement, Judy Brown, CFO of Perrigo Co., Allegan’s largest employer, said support for the local hospital fits in with the company’s focus on manufacturing over-the-counter and generic medications.
“We’re just as committed to ensuring access to quality, affordable health care in Allegan and we’re thrilled to support a critical community resource like Allegan General Hospital.”
“The Perrigo Foundation was extremely generous,” Larson said.
Larson joined the foundation about 18 months ago to boost “fundraising capacity” with additional expertise and effort for the nonprofit critical access hospital’s foundation.
“This is a part of a fundraising initiative that we started that we intend as an ongoing effort, to have conversations with individuals or businesses and organizations to be able to help out in a long-term effort,” he said. “It’s wonderful to have such strong successful partners that care so deeply about the community that they make significant investments. But I think there also is a responsibility to continue to build the base and continue to build relationships beyond those larger entities. To be respectful of what they do, it’s important to work to broaden the base as much as possible.”
He said the foundation is “significantly” increasing the amount it is raising with the goal of using most of it for hospital needs rather than building an endowment.
“It will take some time to get to some of the goals we want to aim toward, and I think the key focus is going to be what can we accomplish rather than the dollar amounts,” Larson added.
“We’re looking at increasing frequency of opportunities for people to give. All of that follows a pretty classical model for fundraising where you want to build a solid annual fund effort, and then beyond that you build the capacity for major gifts, beyond that you build planned giving capacity, and you also prepare for capital campaigns down the road.”