Help is on the way for patients without resources or insurance

April 7, 2014

Race for a Reason: Patient Assistance Fund

Help is on the way for area patients without the resources and insurance coverage to pay medical related expenses. OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital is organizing a Race for a Reason team to kick off a new Patient Assistance Fund to aid the underserved.

“There is a lot of need in this area,” said Ericka Danielson, the hospital’s Director of Case Management, noting that the Athens County poverty is more than double the statewide rate. “All the money donated to this fund will stay right here in the community to help friends and neighbors.”

The permanent fund is designed to meet the greatest needs of hospital patients after other avenues of assistance have been exhausted.  They expect the fund to begin granting assistance in the fall.

The Patient Assistance Fund could help with transportation costs, utility bills, groceries, medical equipment and co-pays. “Proceeds could be applied in a variety of situations, some that we probably have not even considered yet,” said hospital social worker Alice Hawthorne. “We want to make sure we spend the money wisely. Whether we provide cab fare to get to an appointment or money to help with the purchase of a walker, the assistance fits with our mission to improve the health of those we serve.”

“This is for people who fall through the cracks with no other program to help them,” added hospital social worker Channing Olbers.  “It could be used for anything, from diapers and wipes to wound supplies. I think we are going to be surprised by some of the needs people have.”

Hawthorne and Olbers are co-captains of the Patient Assistance Fund team, one of three Race for a Reason teams benefitting O’Bleness Hospital programs. Race for a Reason is the fund’s first charity drive. “We really don’t have a goal, “Hawthorne said. “Our goal is to bring awareness to the new fund and have as many people sign up for our team as possible.”

Toward that end, the co-captains are distributing flyers throughout the hospital to promote the team and offering incentives such as team T-shirts and invitations to a post-race luncheon at the hospital. “You’ll get fed, so come join us,” Hawthorne quipped.

To be held April 26, Race for a Reason is the largest charity-based race event in Athens. Participants can choose one of four events to raise money for a cause of their choice. Last year’s Race for a Reason raised $100,000 for the Athens community with more than 1,000 participants.

The social workers expect most of the Patient Assistance Fund team members to compete in either the AMVETS 3K Diabetes Walk or the Ohio University Heritage College of Medicine 5K Run. “The mud run is a lot of fun, but you have to get pretty geared up for that,” Hawthorne said.  “I hear some of our team members are going to bring their kids, so the 3K walk would be much more manageable for them.”

“It is going to be a challenge to meet all the great needs in our community, but this fund will help,” said Danielson. “Race for a Reason is a win-win for all the participants, because they get to enjoy some exercise and camaraderie while they’re helping a good cause.”

For more information about Race for a Reason or to register, visit or call 740-401-9482.

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