Hackensack Meridian Health Launches Circle of Compassion, a Financial Assistance Program to Benefit Health Care Heroes

Edison, NJ – September 30, 2020 – Hackensack Meridian Health has launched the Circle of Compassion program, which provides compassionate, timely and equitable financial assistance to team members affected by a disaster or personal monetary hardship. Built on the existing team member financial assistance programs available through two of the network’s philanthropic entities, Hackensack University Medical Center Foundation (Colleague to Colleague Fund) and Meridian Health Foundation (When in Need Fund), the Circle of Compassion program was developed in quick response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s impact on the financial health of team members throughout Hackensack Meridian Health.

As of August 31, more than $1.3 million has been provided to 1,050 team members to help cover costs such as groceries, mortgage payments, utility bills and funeral expenses. In addition to donations from community members, the program received a significant boost of $1.2 million in funding thanks to contributions from 100 percent of Hackensack Meridian Health senior leadership.

“Our team members come to work to care for our community,” says Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health. “Sometimes, behind their smiles are worries about their own family’s physical and financial health, and this was never truer than during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. Partners lost work, households took in older generations, childcare costs increased due to school closures, family members became ill or passed away and the financial burden hit home. We recognized the incredible strain that put on the team, adding to the stress they were already under, which is why it was so important for us to care for their financial health. I am incredibly grateful to the selfless leaders at Hackensack Meridian Health who gave of themselves to help their fellow Hackensack Meridian Health family members. It is truly representative of the generous and caring nature of our organization.”

The program is built on three guiding principles: complete confidentiality; expediency – reviewing applications within five days; and compassionate equity with decisions based upon outlined criteria and with compassion.

“At Hackensack Meridian Health, we believe that humanizing health care includes supporting our care team so that they are prepared to provide exceptional care and compassion to our patients and the community,” says Nancy Corcoran-Davidoff, executive vice president, chief experience and human resources officer, Hackensack Meridian Health. “For programs like this, we rely on leader, team member and community contributions. Recipients of these funds are frontline workers who worked tirelessly to support our community, and we are hopeful that the community will in turn, support this vital resource for our health care heroes.”

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Several recipients of the funds have said:

“My dad lives alone and was hospitalized beginning in April. For about five months, he was unable to care for anything and so I was responsible for his bills and mine. At the same time, my husband’s hours were cut. I picked up extra hours to pay all the bills, but it was very hard to do and very stressful for me. I cried myself to sleep many nights. I was so thankful to receive help from the Circle of Compassion program. It showed that the company I work for really cares about their employees during this difficult time.” – Anonymous

“I am so very grateful for your compassion! A simple thank you seems to pale in comparison to what I feel. Life is funny. I have contributed to our colleague to colleague fund ever since its inception, but never once did I ever think I would be the one in need. Thank you, Circle of Compassion from the bottom of my heart.” – Anonymous
“I hold Hackensack Meridian Health in the highest regard, and I am proud to work for Hackensack University Medical Center. On the same day my wife gave birth to our son at the medical center in 2006, I was offered a position to work there. I have been with the company for 14 years and have always felt like a valued employee. However, when I was awarded financial assistance to help pay my mortgage through the Circle of Compassion program, I felt more appreciated and valued than ever before. I was beyond grateful to be awarded the support during a difficult time. It brought such a relief to my family and me, and I am truly blessed to be part of a corporation that cares immensely for its employees during times of challenge and uncertainty. Thank you, Hackensack Meridian Health, for all that you to ensure your team members are taken care and feel supported.” – Anonymous
“My family and I have suffered tremendously this year. In such a short time span, our baby passed away, my husband lost his job due to COVID-19 and I became very sick due to my autoimmune disease. I had to take time off of work because of it. But, it was important for my husband and I to be strong for our three young children and make sure they knew that everything was going to be okay. When Hackensack Meridian Health announced the Circle of Compassion to team members, I applied for assistance to pay for my mortgage and they came through – quickly. My family and I are so grateful and filled with appreciation. It brought us so much relief and took a burden off our shoulders. We are still playing catch up, but we are in a much better position now than we were before. Thank you, Hackensack Meridian Health for creating this program to aid all of us during this challenging time!” – Mimoza Murseli, Hackensack University Medical Center

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To make a gift in support the Circle of Compassion program, please visit www.hackensackmeridianhealth.org/circleofcompassion.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a leading not-for-profit health care organization that is the largest, most comprehensive and truly integrated health care network in New Jersey, offering a complete range of medical services, innovative research and life-enhancing care.

Hackensack Meridian Health comprises 17 hospitals from Bergen to Ocean counties, which includes three academic medical centers – Hackensack University Medical Center in Hackensack, Jersey Shore University Medical Center in Neptune, JFK Medical Center in Edison; two children’s hospitals – Joseph M. Sanzari Children’s Hospital in Hackensack, K. Hovnanian Children’s Hospital in Neptune; nine community hospitals – Bayshore Medical Center in Holmdel, Mountainside Medical Center in Montclair, Ocean Medical Center in Brick, Palisades Medical Center in North Bergen, Pascack Valley Medical Center in Westwood, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Old Bridge, Raritan Bay Medical Center in Perth Amboy, Riverview Medical Center in Red Bank, and Southern Ocean Medical Center in Manahawkin; a behavioral health hospital – Carrier Clinic in Belle Mead; and two rehabilitation hospitals – JFK Johnson Rehabilitation Institute in Edison and Shore Rehabilitation Institute in Brick.

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Additionally, the network has more than 500 patient care locations throughout the state which include ambulatory care centers, surgery centers, home health services, long-term care and assisted living communities, ambulance services, lifesaving air medical transportation, fitness and wellness centers, rehabilitation centers, urgent care centers and physician practice locations. Hackensack Meridian Health has more than 35,000 team members, and 7,000 physicians and is a distinguished leader in health care philanthropy, committed to the health and well-being of the communities it serves.

The network’s notable distinctions include having four hospitals among the top in New Jersey by U.S. News and World Report. Other honors include consistently achieving Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence from the American Nurses Credentialing Center and being named to Becker’s Healthcare’s “150 Top Places to Work in Healthcare/2019” list.

The Hackensack Meridian School of Medicine at Seton Hall University opened in 2018, the first private medical school in New Jersey in more than 50 years, welcomed its second class of 96 students in 2019 to its On3 campus in Nutley and Clifton. Additionally, the network partnered with Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center to find more cures for cancer faster while ensuring that patients have access to the highest quality, most individualized cancer care when and where they need it.

Hackensack Meridian Health is a member of AllSpire Health Partners, an interstate consortium of leading health systems, to focus on the sharing of best practices in clinical care and achieving efficiencies.

For additional information, please visit www.HackensackMeridianHealth.org.

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