News & Updates
Vermont Taste benefits Copley Hospital’s Charitable Care Program. Read Kayla Collier’s article about two people’s experience with the program.
Desperate patients find help
Copley Hospital offers a hand in tough times
Life can take a wrong turn when people least expect it, leaving them in the lurch with medical bills piling up and a financial crisis mounting. But those who seek treatment at Copley Hospital in Morrisville, may be eligible for its Charitable Care Program, which can put people back on the right path, allowing them to focus on healing rather than how they’ll handle the cost of treatment. That’s exactly what the program did for Tom Silva of Craftsbury and Alanna Wilson of Morrisville.
Racing down Mount Mansfield on a set of skis, Tom Silva had probably hit the slopes thousands of times in his 25-year alpine ski coaching career. The Mount Mansfield Winter Academy offered Silva the chance to get out almost every day, and gave him the summers to enjoy the sun and do other outdoor jobs. The summer of 2009, though, changed Silva’s life. While working one of his summer jobs, Silva got a “barking cough” that just wouldn’t go away. His chest tightened, making it hard to breathe, and he soon found himself in Copley’s emergency room. “It’s hard. I was an athlete, a ski coach. Nothing fazed me before,” Silva said. But right then, nobody could figure out what was wrong. X-rays and CT scans didn’t show anything, but no matter how hard Silva tried, he couldn’t get enough oxygen into his airways. Treatment wasn’t working and his condition worsened, so Copley transferred Silva to University of Vermont Medical Center and later a pulmonology specialist at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. The doctor’s theory was that Tom Silva had allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis, caused by breathing in too much aspergillus, a fungus that naturally grows in the soil. For three years, he was in and out of hospitals. He was unable to work, and his wife, Laurie Silva, had to quit her job to care for him. The couple went through their retirement funds and their savings, and the medical crisis turned into a financial crisis. “I was basically just trying to stay alive, and when I got better, all of a sudden, the reality check comes of how much it costs for doctors and hospitals to keep you alive. Then, boom, there’s nothing there,” Tom said. “It’s hard to say that you need help, but the ship was sinking for us.” With the help of a family friend, the Silvas found Angela Griggs, Copley Hospital’s patient financial counselor. “She grabbed my bag of bills, and spread it out on her table like it was nothing,” Tom said. The Silvas were advised to apply for assistance through the hospital’s Charitable Care Program, and they were walked through the process. “To meet someone like Angela was so special, and I sat down at the table and cried when I got the letter that she was going to handle this big bill for us,” Laurie said. The Silvas still have a long way to go. While Tom still struggles to manage his chronic condition, Laurie is working several part-time jobs to keep up, but without Copley, they don’t know where they’d be.
Under the weather
The first time Lani Wilson was diagnosed with lymphoma was 2006. She fought off the illness, and was in the clear for a few years. Then in 2015, Wilson started feeling tired. She’d come home from work exhausted and didn’t feel like herself, so she went to her primary care physician, Dr. Philip Kiely of Morrisville Family Practice. After a CT scan at Copley, Kiely told Wilson that the lymphoma had returned, and she should seek treatment as soon as possible. “At the time, I didn’t have health insurance, because I was only six months away from receiving Medicare,” the insurance program for older Americans, Wilson said. “All those tests I was going to, I had to pay out of pocket.” After a while, the burden was too much to carry. Wilson is an artist and cleans houses, and her husband, Charles Wilson, is a retired painting contractor. Lani called Copley’s financial services for help signing up for insurance through Vermont Health Connect. It was Griggs who told her about Charitable Care. “Angela told us to apply for financial aid. I didn’t really want to do that, because I’d never needed it before, but at that point, I had to do something, and she didn’t make me feel bad about it,” Lani said. The Wilsons found that the financial assistance took the load off their shoulders and allowed both of them to just get better, Charles said. Added Lani: “Both of us are so grateful. Part of getting better is you have to have the right attitude. You have to make the decision that you want to live.” Lani is now what she considers “completely healed,” and returning to the hospital just for a checkup twice a year. To have local support through her illness, she says, was huge. “I’ll never forget it,” Lani said.
A hand up
Copley’s Charitable Care program, funded by private donations from the community, offers discounted or free care for people who need essential health care services and are uninsured, underinsured, ineligible for a government program or otherwise unable to pay their medical bills. Last year the hospital covered 2,300 visits — in whole or part — totaling $700,000. Eligibility for the financial assistance is based on the federal poverty guidelines. For 2018, federal poverty guidelines are:
- Family of 1: $12,140
- Family of 2: $16,460
- Family of 3: $20,780
- Family of 4: $25,100
Copley’s eligibility guideline: an income up to 400 percent of the federal poverty level. The application can be found at bit.ly/charitablecare.
Every year, Copley Hospital teams up with local businesses to raise money for the Charitable Care Program. In the past, it has done that with the Stowe Food and Wine Classic. However, Stowe Charities Inc. has retired and so has the Stowe Charities’ annual Stowe Wine and Food Classic. Board members encouraged Copley to create a new culinary-based fundraiser, and thus, Vermont Taste has emerged. Showcasing the area’s talented chefs, bakers, brewers, winemakers, distillers, roasters and creators in their element, Vermont Taste is being led by a team of volunteers from the Vermont food scene with assistance from many partners, hosts and sponsors. Vermont Taste is designed to encourage people to go to their favorite neighborhood hangout or check out a new place, supporting both local businesses and the local community hospital. From May 1 through June 30, a donation will be made by participating restaurants for every bottle of Palm Bay Wine, every pint of von Trapp beer and/or Citizen Cider sold, and the donation will be matched by Farrell Distributing.
March 5, 2018
People power is fueling a new initiative called Vermont Taste, a community-focused event that benefits Copley Hospital’s Charitable Care Program. Vermont Taste showcases the area’s talented chefs, bakers, brewers, winemakers, distillers, roasters, and creators in their element. Coordinated by Copley Hospital, Vermont Taste is being led by a team of passionate volunteers from the Vermont food scene with assistance from many partners, hosts, and sponsors.
Vermont Taste is designed to encourage people to go to their favorite neighborhood hangout or check out a new place, supporting both local businesses and the local community hospital. The event is coming to life following news that Stowe Charities, Inc. has retired and along with it, Stowe Charities’ annual Stowe Wine and Food Classic. Board members encouraged Copley to create a new culinary-based fundraiser.
Hosts and Partners
Scot Baraw, VP of Sales and Marketing and family owner of Stoweflake Resort & Spa, is one of many hospitality industry professionals helping shape Vermont Taste. Scot recognizes that there are diners who seek an award-winning wine list, friends who seek a cozy tavern as their regular spot for a pint, and visitors who want to experience Vermont like a local. Elements from casual to elevated cuisine are all being incorporated into Vermont Taste, which will offer something for all tastes.
Team members from Farrell Distributing, a third-generation Vermont family business committed to giving back to their community, are serving as outreach agents and more for Vermont Taste. While skiing earlier this year, Stuart Timmons of Farrell and Scot Baraw chatted strategy for Vermont Taste. Together, restaurants and their wine and beer suppliers are coming together to design the program.
Farrell Distributing along with local restaurants is reaching out to local restaurants to launch Vermont Taste. From May 1 through June 30, a donation will be made by participating restaurants for every glass of wine from Palm Bay International, every pint of von Trapp beer and/or Citizen Cider sold and the donation will be matched by Farrell Distributing.
“We are honored to be a part of this opportunity to support Copley Hospital by teaming up some of our amazing restaurant partners with our partners at Citizen Cider, von Trapp Brewery and wines from the Palm Bay, said Ryan Chaffin, Farrell Distributing’s Director of Marketing & Business Development. “We look at this partnership as another way to serve our Vermont community and to help raise funds for a great cause.”
Helping shape and launch Vermont Taste and supporting Copley Hospital is a team effort at Trapp Family Lodge. Walter Frame, Director and Executive Vice President of Trapp Family Lodge and a member of Copley Hospital’s Board of Trustees, along with leadership team members Bill Hunt, Director of Sales; Gary Crouse, Food & Beverage Director; and Sara Lory, Marketing Manager, are key volunteers behind the scenes making Vermont Taste happen.
Vermont Taste Events
Plans are in the works for a kick off to Memorial Day weekend at von Trapp Brewing Bierhall sure to please the foodie, outdoor enthusiast, or those who just want to relax and enjoy tasty lagers paired with wonderful scenery. “Come experience the von Trapp Bierhall from our observation deck over-looking the working brewery while supporting Copley Hospital. Austrian favorites will be served along-side fresh von Trapp Brewing Lagers to offer ‘A little of Austria, a lot of Vermont,’ ” says Bill Hunt. Tickets to the May 25th kick-off will go on sale in April.
Many offerings of Vermont Taste will appeal to craft brew drinkers, while others are being built for the wine loving crowd. Food and Beverage Director Jean Marie Napoliello and Chef Adam Noe were the first to commit to designing a special dining event for Vermont Taste. Flannel, Topnotch’s farm to table restaurant, will offer a one-night fundraising dinner in collaboration with Owen Roe Vineyards.
“We are proud to continue our support of Copley Hospital through Vermont Taste,” said Robert Burnetti, General Manager of Topnotch Resort. “We think it is a brilliant idea and we look forward to being part of the program.”
Vermont Taste offers something for all tastes and occurs May 1-June 30 throughout the Copley Hospital service area. Artisan producers involved include Michael’s on the Hill, Mt. Mansfield Creamery, Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea, Rock Art Brewery, Hardwick Street Cafe, Black Diamond Barbeque, Lost Nation Brewing, Edson Hill, Highland Lodge, and more.
Thanks to our Sponsors
Every new initiative needs support to get it started. Copley Hospital is grateful to the founding sponsors of Vermont Taste; their early support helped Copley move this event from just simply being an idea to becoming reality. This support was jumpstarted when board members of Stowe Charities, Inc., as their final act, donated their remaining funds to Copley for a new culinary showcase. Stepping up to bring Vermont Taste to life are: Union Bank, Kinney Drugs Foundation, Community National Bank, Concept2, Sibson Consulting and Fred’s Plumbing & Heating. Media support is being provided by VT Web Marketing, Liquid Studio, Stowe Reporter, Stowe Area Association, Star 92.9 and The Point.
Be A Part of Vermont Taste
If interested in helping plan and host events, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ongoing updates and a full schedule of events and opportunities will be published on the Vermont Taste website, slated to go live in April.
Vermont Taste benefits the Charitable Care Program at Copley Hospital. Copley’s Charitable Care Program offers discounted or free care for those in need of essential healthcare services and are uninsured, underinsured, ineligible for a government program, or otherwise unable to pay their medical bills. Last year, Copley provided 2300 charitable care visits, spending nearly $700,000. Nearly 90% of those receiving charitable care had insurance and received financial assistance with deductibles and co-pays. Copley provides 24-hour emergency services, a family-friendly Birthing Center, and inpatient and outpatient care including Cardiology, General Surgery, Obstetrics/Gynecology, Orthopedics, Rehabilitation Services, and Diagnostic Imaging on its campus in Morrisville. A non-profit community hospital, Copley serves the greater Lamoille County region and is one of the area’s largest employers. Visit http://www.copleyvt.org for more information.