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Contact: Caroline Cornish
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LD 1685, An Act To Create The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital Registration Plate, would help Maine children and families for generations to come
PORTLAND, Maine – One day after First Lady Barbara Bush passed away at her home in Texas, the Maine Legislature voted Wednesday to create a license plate that helps fund the hospital that bears her name. Governor Paul LePage signed LD 1685, An Act To Create The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital Registration Plate, on Thursday afternoon.
“The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital license plate is the culmination of years of work from thousands of Mainers who have provided their support, their advocacy and their signatures. Ensuring the long-term support for the health and well-being of Maine’s children is part of Mrs. Bush’s legacy, so it is fitting that the state Legislature would take this important step. We salute each member and thank them for their support,” said Rich Petersen, president and CEO of Maine Medical Center, which houses the children’s hospital.
After hearing emotional testimony from patients, their families, state lawmakers and care team members from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital (BBCH), the Legislature’s Transportation Committee voted unanimously to support the bill in January. The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital would receive $10 from every new plate sold and $10 from every annual renewal. After the $25 registration fee, motorists only pay a $15 annual renewal fee. Within five years of being made available statewide, the plate is projected to raise more than $200,000 each year to enhance patient care at Maine’s only children’s hospital.
Kim and Joe Westrich of Wiscasset began the campaign for the BBCH specialty license plate nearly three years ago as a way to give back to the hospital that did so much for their family. Their daughter, Madison, was diagnosed with a brain tumor at 2 years old. She was treated at BBCH and is now a healthy 12-year-old. The Westrich family’s goal is to create a stable funding source for generations to come.
“Former first lady Barbara Bush was supportive of the plate. She even signed up! Once on the road, we hope that the plate will be a constant reminder to people to live their lives like Mrs. Bush did - full of life, and always helping others,” Joe Westrich said.
The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital serves children and families from throughout Maine. In many cases services provided by BBCH, including care for children’s kidney disease, pediatric palliative care, advanced cardiology interventions and advanced forms of cancer therapy, are not found anywhere else in the state. In 2016, BBCH provided more than 100,000 patient visits.
The license plate will become available to the public later this year.
About The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital
The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital (BBCH) at Maine Medical Center is committed to enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research, and education. With more than 100,000 annual patient visits, the hospital offers services in cancer treatment, cardiology, neonatal care, and numerous other pediatric specialties. Maine’s only certified children’s hospital is designed with children in mind with state-of-the-art hospital equipment, specialty programs and spacious play areas. From well-child visits to specialized medical and surgical treatment of complex, life-threatening illnesses and injuries, BBCH offers comprehensive inpatient and outpatient, family-centered care from an exceptional team of doctors, nurses and other medical professionals. For more information, visit www.bbch.org.
About Maine Medical Center
Maine Medical Center (MMC), recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-2018, is a complete health care resource for the people of Greater Portland and the entire state, as well as northern New England. Incorporated in 1868, MMC is the state’s largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. MMC's unique role as both a community hospital and a referral center requires an unparalleled depth and breadth of services, including an active educational program and a world-class biomedical research center. As a nonprofit institution, Maine Medical Center provides nearly 23 percent of all the charity care delivered in Maine. MMC is a member of the MaineHealth system, a growing family of health care services in northern New England. For more information, visit www.mmc.org.
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