Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

August 27, 2013

Compassion

Doctors turn to colleagues in making Health Care Fund a success

Two longtime local physicians are banking on the support of their fellow health care practitioners to help them launch a Health Care Fund to assist Allegany, Garrett and Mineral county residents who are struggling with medical costs.

The new fund, to be administered with the assistance of the umbrella group Community Trust Fund, is being set up just before the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and will help people deal with the co-pays needed to participate in the federal program.

The physicians, Wayne Spiggle and Peter Halmos, note that the region’s doctors, dentists and other clinicians repeatedly donate their care through the Allegany Health Right program and the annual free dental clinic. “Area hospitals reduce charges for people who cannot afford their care and health centers offer care at reduced costs,” Spiggle said. “There is a true sense of generosity in this region and my generation of colleagues has always worked together to address the needs of our communities. Peter and I believe that spirit of cooperation will inspire others to join our efforts.”

The Health Care Fund has a goal of raising $200,000. That money will continue in perpetuity, with the principal invested through the Community Trust Fund and earnings distributed  to assist the efforts of area nonprofits, including Allegany Health Right, the Family Crisis Resource Center and the Union Rescue Mission, to provide medication, transportation, education and other services.

Grant Irvin, donor development officer for the Community Trust Fund, said the availability and affordability of health care costs has consistently been an area of concern identified through several needs assessments and surveys conducted over the past several years.

Founded in 2006 as a result of the vision of the late Robert Little Ebert, the Community Trust Fund has grown quickly in the years since, and now boasts 21 charitable funds and has donated more than $3.2 million to nonprofit organizations in Allegany, Garrett and Mineral counties.

“Physicians, by nature, are compassionate and go into the medical field with the goal of helping others, and through this fund our colleagues can create a legacy of that compassion,” Halmos said. “We hope this is the first step in creating a fund that will continue in perpetuity, providing assistance to those in need for many years to come.”

For more information, contact the Community Trust Fund at 301-876-9172 or visit www.ctfinc.org.

Many in our community are on the margin of being able to afford health care. The effort of Spiggle and Halmos and the health care professionals who join them has the potential to have a major impact on the well-being of many disadvantaged people.

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