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STORIES from the

HEART INSPIRING STORIES OF PEOPLE HELPING PEOPLE The life-changing care Ascension Sacred Heart provides has touched the hearts of many who strive to ensure that this incredible mission of care continues for future generations. Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation is proud to be a partner in this endeavor. Please enjoy these “Stories from the Heart.”

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S T O R I E S from the

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SPONSORED REPORT

ROGER HALL

A legend in his own right

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Roger Hall and his identical twin brother were born in Decatur, Illinois, before the family moved to Florida in 1956. He and his brother attended Crestview High School, where being identical twins had its drawback. “Whatever my brother did, good or bad, I was given accountability,” says Roger, “and he likewise for what I did. When we graduated, only seven people in the whole high school could tell us apart.” The two have maintained their close relationship. Roger considers his sibling to be the most important person in his life other than his wife, Susan, with whom he has been married nearly 40 years. After attending and graduating from Samford University and the University of Alabama, he went to work in the steel services industry as a distributor, earning his Master’s in Business Administration (MBA) from Samford. Once he and Susan were married, Roger felt the need to make a career change. Healthcare was something he always had an interest in, so he began to explore jobs in that field. After he was hired by Humana as an assistant Chief Financial Officer (CFO) without even an interview, he realized he needed to be knowledgeable about reimbursement and went to the business office manager for information. He was given a 17-inch thick Medicaid manual and told to read it. At the time, the hospital had the third-largest burn unit

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in the world, so Medicaid reimbursement was extremely important. In going through the manual, he learned about filing for cost outliers. (A cost outlier is defined as an inpatient hospital discharge that is extraordinarily costly. Hospitals may be eligible to receive additional payment for the discharge.) So he went to the office manager to ask for the Medicaid outlier’s information, but he was told there was none. He presented the manual’s regulations

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concerning reimbursement, only to have management tell him the hospital didn’t file because it was believed Medicaid would never pay for it. So Roger went directly to the State of Georgia. A spokesperson confirmed, “Yes, in fact, that’s right, no one’s ever filed.” In addition, the hospital was eligible for its Medicaid cost outliers and was able to recover $4 million due to Roger’s due diligence (which he attributes to Divine Intervention).


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A MESSAGE FROM CAROL CARLAN

Fast forward to 1996, when Roger moved back to his home town of Crestview to become CEO of North Okaloosa Medical Center. Looking for a tertiary partner hospital (one able to provide a higher level of needed care), he met with Patrick Madden, President and CEO of Sacred Heart Health System, now known as Ascension Sacred Heart. Patrick expressed interest, and they formed a loose affiliation that successfully increased market share for both their hospitals, along with other areas of expansion. Then one day in 1999, Roger was approached and asked if he would be interested in becoming CEO of a 50-bed hospital Sacred Heart planned to build in Destin. Patrick told him, “You’ll have access to capital, and you can build it.” Roger said “yes” and so the hospital project was announced. Meanwhile, he continued his role as CEO at North Okaloosa Medical Center, where the doctors kept asking him what he knew about it. “Can you believe Sacred Heart is going to build a hospital in Destin? … It will never make it. … It will be just a Band-Aid station for tourists.” Roger would just reply, “It might be successful.”

He raised over $30 million to help fund Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast. It has grown to 72 beds, and while it opened with 138 associates, now there are over 700. It has been ranked in the top 100 hospitals in the country five times and is also one of seven five-star hospitals (as is Ascension Sacred Heart in Port St. Joe). Deliveries in the Family Birth Place (which has a Level Two Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) have grown from 500 to 1,500-plus. Roger believes that quality healthcare is a two-way street: The community challenges the hospital to provide services to meet its needs; at the same time, the hospital is challenged to be a servant of the community by taking care of those in need. “And what better way to do that than to ask them to help us?” he says. “Give us direction, help us fund it. Every project we’ve done has been through gifts from our community. I think that’s what’s made us successful: partnership with our community, partnership with our doctors and having the oversight of Ascension. It hasn’t been me — I am happy to have been the conduit. I am blessed.” Roger Hall retires on July 10, 2020.

I truly believe that some people are born to leadership. They simply know how to inspire others, command the best performance and forge loyal partnerships that are the lifeblood of any successful endeavor. Those who know Roger Hall will agree. His dedication and contribution to Ascension Sacred Heart’s mission in our region has been nothing less than remarkable. And when he retires in July from 17 years of achievement as the president of Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast, his servant leadership will be missed. Stories from the Heart features a captivating account of Roger’s life journey and his impact on the community. Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation relies heavily on its community volunteers. We are so grateful for those willing to offer their time, skills and caring spirit to help us meet our charitable goals. The future offers many opportunities to make a difference by serving as a Foundation volunteer, and we invite you to join us. This edition of Stories focuses on volunteers who made fundraising events happen, served behind the scenes and inspired donors to give. Their participation supports the ministry of Ascension Sacred Heart, which is committed to the medical needs of sick and injured babies and children in our region, regardless of their parent’s ability to pay. Thank you for your service, volunteers one and all.

Carol Carlan President, Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation

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SPONSORED REPORT

THE MALL BALL STORY

When Sue Martin resigned as Executive Director of Mardi Gras Pensacola more than 25 years ago, she had an idea to create an event to benefit the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart Pensacola. The first of its kind, the black-tie ball would be affordable and open to the public, regardless of krewe affiliation. Sue approached Candy Carlisle, then Manager of Marketing at Cordova Mall, with a wild plan to shut down the mall for an evening of revelry on a Saturday night. When she came to the end of Sue’s proposal — the part that said proceeds would go to sick and injured children in the hospital across the street — Candy looked up and said, “I think we can do this.” After much red tape and the convincing of owners and merchants, the inaugural Cordova Mall Ball was set for January 1996. Candy served as Site Chair, with Vikki Snider as Event Chair and Ed

Morrison as Logistics and Beverage Chair. The Committee asked the Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation for a desk and a phone, where they would work tirelessly behind the scenes asking for sponsorships and in-kind donations. There was never a question of, “Why the Children’s Hospital?” When the team toured the NICU prior to the event, there were 53 babies on ventilators or in incubators. Every request, every hour of time, every obstacle overcome has been “for the kids.” The first year, the foursome had no idea how many people would show up. (They even ran out of cups!) But as they counted the proceeds in the back of a pickup truck just before dawn, they couldn’t believe what they had accomplished. Twenty-five years later, the event has never lost money, raising more than $6 million for the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart.

Today, the Mall Ball is a well-oiled machine, with a veritable army of volunteers (many from our local military), who help set up and tear down into the wee hours of the morning. After all the hard work, the founders are most proud of the ways they have been able to make life more comfortable for children and families in the hospital. “I think we’ve made a mark,” Sue says. “The fact that we’ve been able to put over $6 million of equipment and love and time into that hospital means a great deal.” Carol Carlan, President of Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation, has announced that the four founding members — Candy Carlisle, Sue Martin, Ed Morrison and Vikki Snider — will be permanently named Emeritus Members of the Cordova Mall Ball. For decades, these individuals have changed the lives of children and families across our region.

Photo Caption (L to R): Candy Carlisle, Vikki Snider, Ed Morrison and Sue Martin

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Chris Sause and family

PHOTO BY JACQUELINE WARD IMAGES

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CHRIS SAUSE

Chris Sause has firsthand understanding of just how valuable Ascension Sacred Heart is to the communities it serves. His insight is both personal, as a father whose son Karsten survived a critical illness, and professional, as a realtor who has witnessed the tremendous growth and accompanying needs of the region. When 2-year-old Karsten came down with a severe case of pneumonia, an emergency room doctor ordered him transferred to an Intensive Care Unit. Chris and his wife chose to have their child treated at a facility closest to their home, a move he freely admits was a mistake: “I came to learn how different healthcare can be even in a relatively small geographic area.” Becoming increasingly dissatisfied with that experience, they transferred their son to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, where for the

Speaking from experience first time they felt he was in good hands. A CT scan was ordered, which revealed that Karsten’s pneumonia had a serious complication: a pleural effusion (infection) outside the lungs that was keeping the IV antibiotics from penetrating and doing their work. The effusion was so bad and had grown so large that it was pushing his tiny heart to the other side of his chest. He would require surgery. The two-hour-long, video-assisted procedure was performed successfully by a pediatric surgeon, and Karsten began to heal. In retrospect, Chris says, “The beauty of the Children’s Hospital was that everyone was fantastic.” He gives great credit to the doctors, hospitalists and team of residents, as well as the nurses (whom he likens to ninjas), and even the custodian who cleaned Karsten’s room. Today, five years later, Chris describes his son as a “happy, extremely healthy, athletic, well-rounded little guy.” And a

grateful Chris is giving back by serving on the Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation Development Board. Professionally, his career as a real estate broker — where he manages six Berkshire Hathaway Home Services’ offices that stretch from Santa Rosa Beach to Pensacola — gives him a unique perspective of healthcare’s role in the region’s development. “Without it, the exponential growth in communities such as Miramar Beach, Sandestin and 30A would not have occurred. You wouldn’t have any of it. Ascension Sacred Heart is a vital part of that.” With the influx of young families, Chris has seen the Emerald Coast community progress beyond a vacation and retirement venue. With pediatric and emergency care becoming even more critical, Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast now ministers to the needs of what Chris believes has become a “full-time community.”

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S T O R I E S from the

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CORY FOSDYCK Front and center in the community

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PHOTO BY JEFF PROVINSE, EPIC PHOTO CO.

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Helping to address the needs of his community is second nature to Cory Fosdyck. “My life’s purpose,” he will tell you, “is to serve people and solve problems.” Besides acting as Resident Director of the Merrill Lynch Wealth Management office in Destin, he lends considerable energy and expertise to local charitable causes. As a member of Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast Volunteer and Development Board, he provides valuable input. He also chaired Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation’s Annual Charity Golf Classic at Burnt Pine Golf Club in 2019 and has agreed to co-chair the 2020 Classic. Cory is an active participant in the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), which raises money for children in need throughout Northwest Florida. He served as chairman of the DCWAF board in 2015 and again in 2019 and has enjoyed board membership for 10 years. Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast is one of the recipients of auction proceeds. DCWAF’s donation one year was instrumental in helping fund expansion of the hospital’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), thus providing room for a Level II NICU to be added. Cory also devoted many hours to advocating support for the NICU among his friends in the community. Growing up, Cory’s dream was to play Division I basketball, which came true when he attended Western Illinois University on a full basketball scholarship. There, he earned his business degree and MBA. He is passionate about continuing education, saying, “I think this is something that defines me. Every year, I try to get a new certification or license.” He already possesses more accreditations than 99.9 percent of financial advisors in the country. So last year, he opted for a Level One Sommelier Certificate. He is married to his high school classmate, Hillary, and their three children were born at Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast — Family Birth Place. Cory’s hope is that, in the future, the hospital will continue its commitment to community healthcare needs. “Local contributions, donations and support will help the hospital grow,” he said.


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“ALL IN GOD’S TIMING” A surprise pregnancy leads to the surprise of their lives

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When Ricky Dayaram and Jennifer Flowers found out they were expecting, it was a surprise — but a happy one. Both attorneys on the Emerald Coast, the couple was living near Ascension Sacred Heart Emerald Coast in Miramar Beach. Having heard many good things about the birth center there, they sought the care of Dr. Brett Tidwell. Early in her pregnancy, Jennifer found out she had a bilobed placenta, so she also saw a high-risk doctor, Dr. Henry Roque, for regular ultrasounds. With two months until her due date, Jennifer realized she didn’t have any photos of her belly, so she snapped one that she still keeps on her phone. It turns out, it was the only one she would take. That afternoon, Jennifer began cramping. She called her mother, a post-partum nurse, who advised her to go home, drink some water and lie down. When the cramping continued to worsen, Jennifer and Ricky decided to go to the hospital. Doctors at the birth center thoroughly examined Jennifer, and she was sent home to rest. While lying in bed the following morning, she felt a sudden rush of fluid. She didn’t want to believe it was her water breaking. She was only 30 weeks pregnant. They immediately returned to the birth center, where on-call Dr. Yolanda Jones arrived as quickly as she could. Having reviewed Jennifer’s file, she knew she was in danger of a ruptured placenta. Dr. Jones told the couple they would need to have an emergency C-section. Olivia Rose Dayaram was born 15 minutes later, weighing just 3 pounds and 6 ounces.

Jennifer believes it was all in God’s timing — as Dr. Jones discovered that, after delivering Olivia, Jennifer suffered from placenta accreta, a lifethreatening condition for both mother and child. “She came early, but she came at the right time … she saved me,” Jennifer says. Just as soon as she met her baby, Olivia was transferred to the NICU in Pensacola, where she was placed in an Isolette and given oxygen, an IV and a feeding tube. Despite her early arrival, she did not have any major health issues. “She was tiny, but so strong!” Jennifer says. “She just needed a little extra time to grow.” They stayed in the NICU for seven weeks. It was difficult experiencing the first seven weeks of their child’s life in a hospital room, but Jennifer and Ricky treasured every moment with their sweet baby girl. The new children’s hospital — including an NICU with all-private rooms — had opened only days before their arrival. In the previous space, the floor was open, allowing little privacy among families in life’s most difficult moments. “We have a newfound respect, admiration and appreciation for doctors and nurses,” Ricky says. The family became close with many of their nurses. “There were times I just sobbed, and they would hold me and tell me it was going to be OK,” Jennifer says. “I was frustrated and tired and ready to take my baby home. But when it came time to go home, it was bittersweet leaving those nurses who had truly become such a big part of our life.”

Jennifer Flowers, Ricky Dayaram and baby Olivia

Jennifer and Ricky still keep in touch with some of Olivia’s nurses and send them pictures and updates as she grows. Independence Day — July 4, 2019 — could not have been a more fitting date for Olivia Rose to be released from the NICU. She continues to grow and thrive, and her family attributes so much of that to Ascension Sacred Heart’sNICU and the exceptional care she received there.

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S T O R I E S from the

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SPONSORED REPORT

CREDIT UNION FOR KIDS We thank the Northwest Florida Chapter League of Southeastern Credit Unions for hosting its 15th annual Panhandle Charity Golf Invitational benefitting Studer Family Children’s Hospital, your local Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals. Proceeds from the tournament will help build the Bear Family Foundation Pediatric Oncology Center for Hope, the region’s only Pediatric Oncology center. This facility will be equipped with nine all-private rooms, a playroom, workout room, laundry room and so much more. The completion of this facility would not be possible without the hard work and dedication of our credit union partners, who not only participate in the golf tournament but also fundraise year-round for the kids in our community. (L to R): Emily Ioakim, Children’s Miracle Network Hospital Coordinator; Michele Williams, Members First Credit Union; Lane Harper, Staples; Stu Ramsey, Pen Air Federal Credit Union; and Lynn Boone, Okaloosa County Teachers Federal Credit Union.

TOUCH A TRUCK EVENT Kids love trucks. Knowing that, Greg Micklos, franchisee, and Veronica Kramer, marketing director, both of Two Men and a Truck, created a “Touch A Truck” event in Pensacola to raise funds for the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart. It was Veronica’s way of saying “thank you” to the hospital for the care a friend’s young daughter received while fighting leukemia. During the event, children and their families could climb into a moving truck, fire truck, police car, construction trucks, the pediatric transport unit and so much more! (L to R): Adrienne Maygarden, Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation; Veronica Kramer, Two Men and Truck; Dr. Jason Foland, Studer Family Children’s Hospital; Matthew Sarnacki, Two Men and a Truck; Cat Outzen, Studer Family Children’s Hospital; Kaitlyn Nall, Two Men and a Truck; and Will Condon, Studer Family Children’s Hospital.

ABOUT THE ASCENSION SACRED HEART FOUNDATION Since 1915, Ascension Sacred Heart has been at the heart of healing for Northwest Florida and South Alabama. Like our founders, the Daughters of Charity, Ascension Sacred Heart is dedicated to providing quality, compassionate healthcare to the citizens of our regions, regardless of their ability to pay. This steadfast commitment to our community could not have been achieved without the support and generosity of the thousands of individuals, businesses and organizations that have donated to Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation. Through this charitable giving, Ascension Sacred Heart Foundation has been able to provide millions of dollars of free and low-cost healthcare to the poor, uninsured, under-insured and low-income families. With the help of generous donors, we are proud to partner in Ascension Sacred Heart’s mission of care along the Gulf Coast.

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June_July - Stories from the Heart  

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