The annual dinner meeting of the Palmerton Hospital Auxiliary was held June15 in the hospital cafeteria. The highlight of the evening was a donation of $38,000 to the hospital.

Priscilla Offen, president, said the evening was a celebration of auxiliary members' accomplishments.

Frank "Jay" Hall was the recipient of the Nancy G.Mendsen Medical Career award. He is going to attend Franklin and Marshall College majoring in pre-med biology. His parents are Frank Sr. and Rosa.

His father read a thank you note that said Jay had a lifelong love of learning. "CSI" led to an interest in forensic chemistry, but that changed to emergency medicine. He is appreciative of the supportive community.

Kaitlin Westerman received the Dan and Mary Shook Nursing award. She will attend DeSales University majoring in nursing.

Joyce White, who with husband Bill, is moving to Haddonsfield, N.J., was presented with a bouquet for the 16,000 hours of volunteer work over a span of 34 years. That is the equivalent of eight years of full-time work. Joyce was noted for her ever-present smile.

In her honor the Joyce W. White In-House Nursing Award was announced. It will go to a Blue Mountain Health System employee based at the Palmerton Hospital who wants to further her education.

The Pledge of Allegiance was led by past-president Emily Bradbury and grace was said by Joe Guardiani.

Guardiani began by reciting a poem, "For Want of a Nail." For want of a horseshoe nail a war was lost. He asked God to pour forth blessings on these "nails." The members of the auxiliary are each small like a nail but the result is large.

Offen said she is a fan of the Muppets. In their version of "A Christmas Carol" a song was sung that describes her feelings perfectly. "Yes and every night will end, and every day will start with a grateful prayer and a thankful heart."

She said she is both grateful and thankful for the members of the auxiliary.

Evelyn Plechavy received a pin for 1,000 hours of service and Jeannette Christman received one for 2,000 hours.

The hospital chapel has been refurbished, the furniture in the sitting area near the front door has been recovered and 20 tables were furnished following a request from the maintenance department. A television with a sturdy bracket for ceiling mounting is being purchased for radiology where patients sometimes have to lay still on their backs for hours during certain scans. These are all parts of the annual donation to the hospital.

Some of the annual gift is designated to pay for the TIMES NEWS which is provided for patients. A letter was received from Irene Halmi who received the paper while she was in the hospital. She donated $25 to cover the cost because she was appreciative of receiving the paper.

Treasurer Violet Strickland presented the $38,000 check to Shelba Scheffner, board vice-chairman of BMHS and Andrew Harris, president and CEO of Blue Mountain Health System.

Harris thanked the auxiliary on behalf of the medical staff and patients.

Scheffner said the money will go to a very good cause. "It represents a commitment to friends and family, people you don't even know."

Bradbury read the nominating petition presenting the choice of officers as Violet Strickland, treasurer; Carol Simmons, assistant treasurer; Carol Heffelfinger, secretary; Donna Mackes, corresponding secretary; and Priscilla Offen, president. They were installed as the officers for 2010. The treasurers each received a white violet for accuracy. Heffelfinger received an ivy plant signifying faithfulness, and Offen received a blue violet for steadfastness and the courage to overcome obstacles.

Linda Browne, a member of the auxiliary board, introduced speaker Larry Moore, chief financial officer of Blue Mountain Health System. His subject was "An Overview of Health Care Reform."

He began by saying everyone knows we needed health care reform, and the legislation just passed is a start.

Blue Mountain Health System provides 47 percent of its services for Medicare and 9 percent from Medicaid. There will be a focus on spending in the new bill. Presently there is a wide variation between, for instance, Pennsylvania and Washington state.

He gave the costs per person in various countries, France at $3,800, Germany at $3,000, and the United States at $7,200. Both France and Germany have a higher life expectancy.

Newly insured will be 32 million people. Coverage will increase with no lifetime limit, no preexisting condition and no cancellation of policies. Exchanges are to be created for individuals and small businesses. If re-admission to a hospital is related to poor care, the second admission will not be paid for.

Since more doctors will be needed to treat more people, incentives will be provided to people interested in a medical education.

"I wish I had a crystal ball to see the future of health care," Moore said. He quoted Yogi Berra when he said, "The future ain't what it used to be."