Pictured from left to right during the check presentation, Dr. Shawn Stinson, BlueCross BlueShield, Dr. Douglas Moeckel, McLeod Neonatologist, and Hart Smith, Vice President of Patient Services for McLeod Regional Medical Center.
On November 4, leaders from BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and McLeod Children’s Hospital gathered for a press conference and celebratory recognition of a gift, which consists of a mural painted by 200 BlueCross employees for patients at the McLeod Children’s Hospital and a $50,000 contribution to the hospital.
The mural is a visual representation of the Live Fearless philosophy of being brave and challenging ourselves to do our best and live our best lives. BlueCross encourages its members to embrace this philosophy and uses Live Fearless in its advertising. The mural will ultimately hang in the hospital’s newly renovated child activity room.
Dr. Shawn Stinson, Senior Vice President of Health Care Innovation and Improvement at BlueCross, presented a $50,000 check to Dr. Douglas Moeckel, McLeod Neonatologist with MEDNAX national medical group and Medical Director of the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, to recognize all pediatric patients as they embody the Live Fearless ideal.
While the mural is designed to bring a smile and provide visual support, the $50,000 contribution is targeted to help some of the hospital’s most vulnerable patients: infants suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome, a drug withdrawal syndrome that occurs primarily among opioid-exposed infants shortly after birth.
The hospital’s Level III NICU is a regional referral for 12 counties in South Carolina. At any given time, 10 percent to 17 percent of the patients in the 40-bed NICU are suffering with this syndrome. Mothers of these infants are often in treatment themselves.
Seventy-five percent of the $50,000 donation is designated to provide educational support and/or provide an initial contribution to a nurse educator position, which would work closely with mothers early on so that they are included in the discharge planning process and learn what to expect as their babies go through withdrawal. This early participation increases the likelihood of their involvement in helping ensure a safe and successful transition home for their infants.
The remaining 25 percent of the donation is designated to the hospital’s Hero Fund, which is a special needs fund for families who are experiencing financial difficulties, have unmet needs and cannot afford items that are not covered by Medicaid or insurance. Families of babies suffering from neonatal abstinence syndrome are often the recipients of this additional financial support.
Stinson said, “Our employees are excited to be part of something that may inspire others, and our leadership is pleased to support McLeod Regional Medical Center in its continuing quality improvement efforts. The hospital is doing laudable work in reducing new prescriptions for opioids throughout its institution, and is helping patients identify other means of pain control. Reducing opioids in the community is a long-term goal our organizations share.
“At BlueCross, we wanted to both recognize that effort, and directly support the most vulnerable victims of the opioid crisis. We hope that these babies grow up healthy and happy, and, that they Live Fearless.”
Dr. Moeckel said, “We are seeing more of our babies impacted by drug dependency than ever before and this donation will help our smallest victims of the opioid crisis receive the best care possible.”