The first employee campaign held at Columbia Memorial Hospital, called "It's the Heart of the Matter," has raised nearly $7,000 in donations from CMH employees, resulting in six projects to be funded at the hospital.

They are: a pediatric rehabilitation tricycle, mammography paddles, a wireless Internet zone in patient areas, laundry carts, lamps for Hospice House and mini-refrigerators for the obstetrical birthing suites.

The campaign was conducted by the CMH Foundation and run by an all-volunteer Employee Campaign Council comprised of CMH employees, who asked all CMH departments to submit a wish list for projects they wanted implemented.

The initiative, called "No Department Left Behind," garnered a range of requests for projects that employees felt would help patients.

Funding for the campaign came from contributions from CMH managers and employees as well as proceeds from the Hot Shots espresso stand in the CMH west lobby and its tip jar. The council is beginning its 2006 campaign and plans to fund more projects selected by CMH departments as a result.

Chairmen of the Employee Campaign Council are Max Bigby of the Foundation board of directors and Ann Williams of the CMH Accounting Department. Members are Donna Sproul, Laura Bredleau, Jenny Hollingsworth, Lilly Lee, Mary Kellow, Jan Osterby and Shirley Crowder.

These projects bring many benefits to patient care.

The pediatric rehab trike will more easily accommodate children with decreased mobility. The trike features a step-through design and swing-away handle bar that provides easy access to the seat. The trike's adjustable molded seat provides back support. Foot straps with heel supports make pedaling easier. The large wheels and low center of gravity reduces tipping.

The mammography paddles better distribute the breast during compression for filming because of the tilting/pivot design. The new paddles are more comfortable for patients and provide better compression, which results in better visualization of the breast tissue.

The patient wireless Internet access project will enable patients, their families and guests to have free access to wireless Internet from patient rooms during their stay in CMH. All that is necessary for them to provide is a "b or g" enabled laptop or notebook computer. Wireless bridges can be provided for laptops without a wireless card installed as long as they have an ethernet port.