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The premier resource for hospital professionals from Relias Media, the trusted source for healthcare information and continuing education.

Give Until It Feels Good

Joy Daughtery Dickinson is executive editor of the Hospital Group of publications at AHC Media in Atlanta and long-time editor and writer of Same-Day Surgery. She has won nine national awards from the Specialized Information Publishers Association and the Association of Business Information & Media Companies for her blogging, news writing, and editing. She makes her home in southwest Georgia.

Churches often get a bad rap for squeezing their parishioners for money. My church takes a more low-key approach. Our previous minister would tell us, “Don’t give until it hurts. Give until it feels good!”

Judy Faulkner, founder and chief executive of Epic Systems, knows something about that feeling. Recently, Forbes announced that Faulkner has signed the Giving Pledge in which she vows to give at least half of her wealth toward charities. The Giving Pledge, started by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, includes 137 billionaires from 14 countries. Faulkner says she plans to give away 99% of her wealth.

The mogul of the electronic health records company said, “Many years ago I asked my young children what two things they needed from their parents. They said ‘food and money.’ I told them ‘roots and wings.’ My goal in pledging 99% of my wealth to philanthropy is to help others with roots – food, warmth, shelter, healthcare, education – so they too can have wings,” Faulkner wrote.

The signers of the Giving Pledge meet throughout the year to discuss philanthropy. In the recent meeting, their discussions included philanthropy’s role in scientific and medical research, Forbes reports. Hospitals could tell them about that role. Ernst & Young recent reported that hospitals spend an average of 12.3% of their total expenses on community benefits, including health research and education. Other areas of giving include financial assistance, Medicaid underpayments, community health improvement programs, subsidized services, Medicare shortfalls, and building activities.

AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said, "This report gives a more complete picture of how hospitals are serving their patients and communities in addition to providing care inside the hospital. We encourage hospitals to share this community benefit information with their local communities and continue to regularly communicate their great stories of service."

We agree. Keep giving, and share your story. Who knows? Perhaps you might encourage one of those billionaires to contribute to your hospital. (For more on that topic, see our blog “Need to expand or renovate? Use celebrities and corporations to help pay for it.” To keep up with hospital-related breaking news as it happens, follow us on Twitter @HospitalReport.)