Circle of Compassion program assists Hackensack Meridian Health members affected by hardship

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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, according to information provided by the hospital chain.

As of Aug. 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, according to the statement.

“Our team members come to work to care for our community,” Robert C. Garrett, CEO of Hackensack Meridian Health, said in a prepared statement. “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,” Nancy Corcoran-Davidoff, executive vice president, chief experience and human resources officer, Hackensack Meridian Health, said in the statement. “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.”

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