NBHS launches its EXCEL 2000 campaign to fund health system improvements

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Northern Berkshire Health Systems has launched its EXCEL 2000 fund-raising campaign to improve quality of patient care in the hospital, home, and nursing home. The 2000 campaign will raise $600,000 to fund the improvements, which will include new medical equipment, community health programming, and staff education. “It sounds like a very ambitious goal, but you have to be ambitious in order to provide top health care to this community,” said Nicholas Flynn, chairman of the EXCEL Council, whose membership includes representatives of the community. “So we’re quite excited about achieving this goal.” He added, “These funds are used for tangible programs, tangible equipment, and we have measurable results that come from these funds.” Flynn said early contributions, pledges, and grants directed to EXCEL goals already total approximately $175,000. “We have targeted specific needs across the local health system, and each of our goals will bring us to a higher level of excellence,” he said. “The campaign is off to a very strong start, thanks to several generous leadership gifts from the local business community.” Funds raised in 2000 will: • Help to improve North Adams Regional Hospital's maternity center through the purchase of fetal monitors and physical improvements to the center to help make NARH the best place for Northern Berkshire mothers to give birth. • Purchase a state-of-the-art automated medication delivery system, which will allow nurses to spend as much as 10,000 additional hours at the bedside each year. • Add urgent care services in NARH’s Emergency Department to help especially the uninsured who need easier access to care. • Train VNA & Hospice nurses as diabetes educators to help those with diabetes learn to control their illness and improve their lives. • Purchase three new EKG monitors and a Zoll transport monitor with defibrillator to help treat those with heart disease. Heart disease affects a disproportionately high number of North Berkshire residents. • Support the training of registered nurses and certified nurse assistants at Sweet Brook Care Centers so they can continue to achieve a “perfect score” as during their last state survey. It is extremely difficult to obtain sufficient funds for education in skilled nursing facilities. • Expand NARH’s smoking cessation programs. Smoking rates in North Berkshire continue to exceed the state and national averages. The 1999 EXCEL campaign exceeded expectations, raising $443,000, $43,000 more than its goal. Flynn thanked several major donors who have already come forward to support the 2000 campaign. Virgil Stucker, NBHS vice president for external relations, said the system would be doing much more work in grant-seeking from private foundations and state and federal sources to supplement what the community contributes. Flynn said two charitable events will support the EXCEL campaign: the NBHS/Hospice of Northern Berkshire Golf Tournament, on Friday, June 16, at Waubeeka Golf Links in Williamstown; and the Annual Evening of Dinner and Theater on July 26. For information about EXCEL 2000, call the NBHS External Relations Office at 664-5140, or email info@nbhealth.org.

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