ACS agrees to do more in Lauderdale

By By Steve Gillespie/The Meridian Star
May 24, 2001
The American Cancer Society's regional vice president spoke with volunteers Wednesday at Jeff Anderson Regional Medical Center, after local board members questioned funding for patient transportation and prescription subsidies at a meeting earlier this month.
Ann Weddington, president of the local ACS board, said Dee Van Devender and other board members asked for the meeting with Regional Vice President Carlette Hines.
Hines listened to concerns from area volunteers at Wednesday's meeting.
Hines said planned changes will make the American Cancer Society more accessible in the area with transportation dollars for patients and possibly an office in Meridian for a "patient navigator" to help fill "resource gaps," the period of time between assessment of need and delivery of services.
Hines said the office position is pending, but could be offered by Sept. 1.
Nurse Beverly Long is a Relay For Life team captain. She said she has a difficult time recruiting nurses for the annual walk-a-thon because it is a lot of work and the results aren't visible on the local level.
Long said concerns about the local impact of the ACS has been around for four or five years. She said volunteers are told "something is coming up," but nothing materializes.
Nurse practitioner Kelli Smith of Riley Hospital said her co-workers have taken up collections for patients who need money to pay for medication or other bills. She said patients need help paying for transportation and buying medication.
Van Devender said he would like to see a small percentage of money raised locally to stay in Lauderdale County.
Relay For Life Chairman Betty Lou Jones said American Cancer Society funds could be accessed more quickly in years past. She said there was a fund for patient transportation set up and accounts were established at local drug stores.
Jones said she believes in the American Cancer Society, but she said changes in services came about along with changes in the organization's corporate structure.
Steve Gillespie is a staff writer for The Meridian Star. Call him at 693-1551, ext. 3233, or e-mail him at sgillespie@themeridianstar.com.

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