Guilds Bring Financial Relief to Families

Guilds Are Powerful Force For Uncompensated Care

Feature Trip

“Seattle Children’s is our regional hospital for top-notch care, and we want to make sure medical expenses aren’t a barrier for people. Local families have nothing but wonderful things to say about their hospital experiences and how much uncompensated care means to them.”

– Janet Gray, Trey Green Guild co-founder

How guild support buoys families when they need it most

Cover 3Janette Braun was so focused on her 6-year-old daughter’s leukemia diagnosis that little else registered – not even the information she had received about Seattle Children’s Uncompensated Care Program. But panic set in when Braun opened her first hospital bill. Then, just two days later, she received a letter from the hospital’s Financial Assistance Program explaining that Sienna’s medical needs – doctors’ fees, laboratory tests, hospital expenses – would be completely covered beyond the limits of what the family’s health insurance would pay.

“We could take a breath and not worry about how we’d buy the next gallon of milk, and focus on our child’s well-being,” says Braun, a Federal Way mom of five.

Over the past three years, Sienna has battled leukemia twice and undergone a bone marrow transplant – spending a total of seven months in the hospital. Thanks to the treatments, her cancer is now in remission.

“Thanks to uncompensated care we haven’t had to pay a penny,” Braun says. “I can’t fathom what it would be like to worry about financial issues when you’re already so worried about your child.”

Living up to a founding promise

Since 1907, guilds have been dedicated supporters of Seattle Children’s founding promise to provide essential medical care to all children in our region regardless of their family’s ability to pay. Last year, Seattle Children’s provided more than $126.7 million to cover medical bills for families in need, an increase of $91.5 million since 2003. In 2016, the largest portion of uncompensated care raised by any group, above corporations and foundations, was that of our guilds: $8,146,300!

“In these times of uncertainty about healthcare coverage, our institution’s commitment to families in need remains firm,” says Dr. Jeff Sperring, Seattle Children’s chief executive officer. “The Guild Association is an essential partner as we keep this promise to the families of our region.”

“Many of us know someone personally who has been treated at Seattle Children’s, which makes the cause near and dear,” says Sue Christianson, charter member and president of the Jean Thompson Guild, a group based in the Skagit Valley that has raised more than $565,000 for uncompensated care since 1982, including a record $107,000 at their annual fundraiser in April. “The fact that Seattle Children’s works with every family from the financial side is a real tribute to the hospital.”

Janet Gray helped found the Trey Green Guild based in Sequim 12 years ago. The guild, which supports uncompensated care, was formed to honor the memory of the son of Gray’s friend, Erin Green. Trey suffered from a diaphragmatic hernia and died just a few hours after being born.

“Seattle Children’s is our regional hospital for top-notch care, and we want to make sure medical expenses aren’t a barrier for people,” Gray says, adding that just getting to the hospital is an obstacle for many residents of the Olympic Peninsula.

“Local families have nothing but wonderful things to say about their hospital experiences and how much uncompensated care means to them.”

In 2016, our guilds raised more than $8 million for uncompensated care!