Impact of Employee and Physician Giving
Helping Hands to the Rescue: One day in late February 2020, M, a Henry Ford Hospital nurse, was heading home from work when a woman slammed into her car. Read More
Unfortunately, M’s vehicle was beyond repair, leaving her with no way to get to and from work. Then COVID-19 hit. Suddenly, with schools closed, M had to scramble to find and pay for reliable childcare for her young son in addition to purchasing a new car. She was devastated, but then she learned about the Bob and Sandy Riney Helping Hands Fund (#320). The fund, which is supported in large part through the Employee and Physician Giving Campaign, helped M find a reliable way to get to her job on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis — and make sure her son was cared for, too. Today, M is grateful for the help, and touched by the generosity of her colleagues.
Offering Relief When it is Most Needed: The COVID-19 pandemic devastated communities throughout southeast Michigan during the first half of 2020. Read More
For B, a Henry Ford client services representative, the devastation was personal: her father contracted the disease and died in early April. B and her family were distraught, but their grief was compounded by the fact that they did not have the full amount of money needed for their father’s cremation and funeral. At first, B did not know what to do, as the funeral home refused to help her father until it received payment. Then, B heard about the COVID Employee Relief Fund (#112), recently established to help those who have suffered due to the impacts of the coronavirus. The fund, bolstered by gifts from Henry Ford leadership and employees, paid B’s outstanding funeral home bill so her family could properly pay their respects to their patriarch. B says that she is eternally grateful for her Henry Ford friends and team members, who helped her through one of the roughest times of her life.
Financial Relief for a Furloughed Team Member: When COVID-19 hit, S, a certified medical assistant at Henry Ford Allegiance, was furloughed for six months. Read More
At first, she had issues receiving her unemployment, but it eventually came through. Then, S’s mother had a medical emergency: she experienced two aneurysms in her brain, one of which ruptured. Her mother had to be airlifted to Henry Ford Hospital for an intensive brain surgery. Because S is her mother’s sole caretaker, she has had to exhaust her CTO and is on unpaid leave because she cannot work while helping her mother through this trying time. Heartwarmingly, S’s manager stepped in and submitted a request for assistance to the COVID Employee Relief Fund (#112). Thanks to her manager (and generous Henry Ford donors), S received financial support as she temporarily cares for her mother and finds her a long-term rehabilitation facility.
That’s where Henry Ford Health System’s Tobacco Treatment Service (TTS) comes in. The program began in 2001 with the goal of delivering effective, innovative tobacco treatment coaching. It has since expanded to serving patients from diverse backgrounds across Southeast Michigan and beyond to help them quit—for good.
“For a person who smokes, quitting is the number one thing they can do to improve their health and lower their risk of life-threatening chronic diseases,” says Amanda Holm, Project Manager of TTS. “Tobacco is still the single biggest cause of preventable death in the U.S., even as smoking rates have been declining for many years.”
Holm notes that quitting tobacco is difficult for many people because nicotine is highly addictive. It hijacks the brain’s reward system so that over time, a person who uses it can’t feel normal or at ease without it.
The Tobacco Treatment Service offers support for people who want to quit, through telephone-based coaching. Certified Tobacco Treatment Specialists provide one-on-one coaching support for six months, including medication prescriptions and troubleshooting to give each person the best chance at successfully quitting. In 2020, TTS launched a special version of the program for younger patients ages 14-17. The program also offers virtual Freedom From Smoking classes, based on the American Lung Association’s model, for those who want group support from peers who are quitting at the same time.
“I signed up for the stop-smoking group…Went through for seven weeks, and it got easier and easier. Having the support from other people in the group helped me continue. I looked forward to phone calls for support and encouragement,” says patient Gayle B., who successfully quit smoking in 2020.
In most years, the program serves more than 250 patients, many of whom are referred by Henry Ford providers. The team recognizes that tobacco use is a chronic relapsing disorder, meaning that patients may need active management to quit for good.
“We know that clinicians don’t always have time to do the in-depth follow-up that supports patients in making this kind of long-term change. That’s where we come in,” says Holm.
The team’s support and empathetic coaching has led to quit rates of about 25%, comparable to similar programs across the nation. That means thanks to Holm and her team, about one in four patients who start the program are no longer smoking seven months after enrollment.
Today, Henry Ford employees and physicians can lend their support for this important program through gifts to the new Tobacco Treatment Service General Fund (#561). The fund serves both patients and providers by subsidizing tobacco treatment medications for patients who cannot afford them; offering continuing education to Henry Ford providers on how to assist patients in quitting most effectively; and supporting continuing education and professional development for its coaches.
“Whether physicians and employees contribute to our fund or not, we want you to know we are here for you and your patients, so please refer patients to us,” says Holm. “You can find us in Epic’s Meds & Orders – complete the Ambulatory Referral to Smoking Cessation and we’ll take it from there.”