Stories of hope: HCA Healthcare Hope Fund assists more than 47,000 colleagues

Headshot of Janet Merced in the hospital

the feeling that what is wanted can be had or that events will turn out for the best.

When major hardships arise, HCA Healthcare colleagues band together to provide support for our patients, our communities and each other. One shining example of how we care for one another is through the  HCA Healthcare Hope Fund. Since it began in 2005, the Hope Fund has assisted more than 47,000 colleagues with $83 million in emergency funds to overcome life’s most unexpected challenges. So far in 2022, the colleague-run, colleague-supported 501(c)(3) charity has given more than $6.3 million to colleagues and their families when faced with financial hardship due to natural disaster, illness/injury, domestic violence, death of a loved one or other difficult situations.

“The HCA Healthcare Hope Fund is deeply rooted in the compassionate care of our colleagues. I am so grateful for its support of our workforce, especially our nursing colleagues. Nearly 350 nursing colleagues have already received assistance from the Hope Fund during a crisis this year,” said Sammie Mosier, HCA Healthcare’s chief nurse executive. “Our colleagues’ generosity truly reflects how we care for one another like family, and I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of such an incredible organization.”

As our organization celebrates Hope Fund Week 2022, we’re sharing stories of hope. Read how our colleagues have banded together to support fellow colleagues struggling with circumstances beyond their control. 

Janet’s story

Janet Merced, OR Nurse, Atlanta Outpatient Surgery Center

Janet Merced is an operating room (OR) nurse at HCA Healthcare affiliate Atlanta Outpatient Surgery Center in Georgia. She learned about the Hope Fund shortly after she joined the HCA Healthcare family five years ago but never thought she would need to turn to the 501(c)3 charity for help. That was until Janet’s mother, Aurora, had a stroke.

In an instant, Aurora went from being self-sufficient to needing around-the-clock care. Janet traveled across the country to Florida, where her mother lived to take care of her. She ended up being there for three and a half months. Janet helped her mom with day-to-day life activities, including moving around the house, learning to walk and eat again, preparing meals, changing clothes and completing therapy exercises. She quickly exhausted all of her paid time off (PTO) and savings.

Stress was building up as Janet tried to maintain her household and her mother’s while their resources dwindled. Then, Janet’s colleague reminded her about the Hope Fund, and she quickly applied. “It was such a relief! I can’t even begin to describe it,” Janet said. “I’m here taking care of my mom, thinking how I can financially keep my own household going. I could breathe again. I could focus on taking care of my mom and giving her what she needs.”

Janet was able to stay on top of her bills with the assistance she received from the Hope Fund. When she finally got home to Georgia, Janet said, “it was like I never missed a step.” She hopes all of her colleagues remember the Hope Fund if they should find themselves in an unexpected hardship situation.

Jonathan’s story

Headshot of Jonathan Sprinkle
Jonathan Sprinkle, Nurse, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

At only 39 years old, most people don’t expect to have major health issues. As an experienced nurse at HCA Healthcare affiliate St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, Jonathan Sprinkle knew something was wrong when he began experiencing signs that something was not right with his cardiovascular system.

“I had been experiencing pain for some years, but I had a hard time getting a diagnosis since I was only 39 years old,” he said. “One day, I was headed to work and had some cardiac symptoms I understood to be serious, and I had to call into work and go get help.”

Jonathan underwent open heart surgery and spent ten days in the hospital. He could not immediately return to work as he needed time to recover at home. With a blended family – including eight children –the time away from work became a financial challenge. That is when he applied for assistance through the Hope Fund.

“It alleviated a lot of our concerns and helped me pay bills,” said Jonathan. “It helped me take care of my family to make sure we could pay rent.”

Jonathan has recovered from his surgery and is now back to work. He makes it a point to tell his colleagues about the Hope Fund and the difference it made for his family.

“I think the Hope Fund is the best thing that HCA Healthcare does. I have been part of other organizations, and they never offered anything like it. Honestly, how my colleagues really took care of me and my family during the whole process is very overwhelming, and I feel happy to be part of this organization.”

Jonathan Sprinkle, Nurse, St. David’s South Austin Medical Center

Brittany’s story

Headshot of Brittany Schmidt
Brittany Schmidt, Nurse Manager, HCA Florida West Hospital

Brittany Schmidt, a nurse manager at HCA Florida West Hospital, and has grown her career within HCA Healthcare for seven years. She was familiar with the Hope Fund after seeing stories of generosity in her email. She knew colleagues who received assistance through the charity but never imagined that she would find herself in a circumstance where she would need assistance herself.

That was until Brittany came home one day to find her house flooded with water. The obstacles did not end there. “Because we didn’t know where the leak was, we had to pull up the floor, the baseboards,” she said. “It turned out it was a pipe that had cracked underneath the foundation, so then we had to drill into the foundation.”

Brittany said the most challenging part was balancing work and fixing things at home, including drying out everything from her 4-year-old daughter Sophia’s room. Her insurance company would cover the damage, but only after a large deductible was paid. Help from the Hope Fund assisted Brittany with the deductible.

“I was able to actually start putting my house back together,” Brittany recalled. “It was this huge problem out of nowhere. I was in a panic, with no clue how to come up with the money. The help from the Hope Fund made a big difference.”

Related article: Giving and volunteering: how HCA Healthcare colleagues showed up for our communities in 2021

About HCA Healthcare

HCA Healthcare, one of the nation's leading providers of healthcare services, is comprised of 182 hospitals and more than 2,300 sites of care, in 20 states and the United Kingdom. Our more than 283,000 colleagues are connected by a single purpose — to give patients healthier tomorrows.

As an enterprise, we recognize the significant responsibility we have as a leading healthcare provider within each of the communities we serve, as well as the opportunity we have to improve the lives of the patients for whom we are entrusted to care. Through the compassion, knowledge and skill of our caregivers, and our ability to leverage our scale and innovative capabilities, HCA Healthcare is in a unique position to play a leading role in the transformation of care.

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