Wednesday, August 1, 2012

HUG Fund continues Neil Wortley’s legacy

A message from Lisa Alexander, CoxHealth Foundation: 
Former CoxHealth administrator Neil Wortley was known for many things. Among the most notable: his compassionate heart and readiness with a hug. Today, these two hallmarks of Neil Wortley are coming together in a new fund that will carry on his legacy of helping patients in need.

The Neil Wortley Help for the Uninsured Grant (HUG) Fund will wrap its arms around those patients who are uninsured for critical health care needs that affect their ability to recover from an illness or injury.

Over the years, the CoxHealth Foundation has assisted with funds that can pay for medical bills and medications. Each year the need increases: Applications for help through our Good Samaritan Fund, for example, have risen to 70-90 requests a month, up from 15-20 a few years ago. But it’s the unusual, unfunded requests for support that are now the daily norm.

More patients need help with the kinds of things for which there is no insurance coverage or state/federal aid; often it is medication or pressure garments for post-surgical patients to treat lymphedema; home-support aids for the bathroom; or special masks that screen out particles that made a patient sick. The requests are as diverse as the patients who request help.

The HUG Fund will help us meet those needs. We chose to name the fund in honor of Neil Wortley (seen above in two historical photos and alongside his son, Dave Wortley, and grandson Jason Wortley in 2006) because of how fondly he is remembered for his “patient first” philosophy. In the 1950s, Wortley used to run down the street to the corner pharmacy to pick up medications for patients unable to buy them for themselves. He taught us all how to love our patients and make them family.

What sets this fund apart is its ability to empower patients, physicians and staff. When a patient has an unfunded need, a staff member can make a phone call to the Foundation and the HUG Fund can help. Discharges that are held up because a patient can’t be released without a medication, or even a ride home, can now be funded by the HUG Fund.

Our goal for 2012 is to raise $100,000 to start this fund, which will be the only known resource of its kind currently in our region.

Neil Wortley’s generous spirit is part of the legacy of CoxHealth and you can carry on the tradition of helping those in need by supporting the HUG Fund.

To make a gift to the HUG Fund, go to and pick Wortley HUG Fund from the drop-down box on the Donate Now page. Gifts can be made by payroll deduction for CoxHealth employees. Watch for updates on the fund on our website!