The Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Greater Philadelphia and Abington Hospital have agreed to jointly fund a rabbinic chaplain to visit Jewish patients.
The move came several months after chaplaincy service was suspended at Abington and two other area hospitals, Nazareth Hospital in Northeast Philadelphia and Aria Health, which also runs a community hospital in Northeast Philadelphia.
It was a cost cutting move. Until 2010, JFCS got all its funding for the program from the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia, but since that time it has had to fund the service on its own.
Hoping to make the program more soluble, JFCS decided to ask the six area hospitals with chaplaincy service to contribute $5,000 to cover part of the cost of the chaplaincy visits, which usually amount to no more than two hours per week.
Abington, Nazareth and Aria had initially declined, but after several months of talks, the agency and Abington managed to come to an agreement to split the costs. Neither side reported the specific figures. They have agreed to fund four hours of patient visits per week by Rabbi Robin Frisch.
Paula Goldstein, executive director of JFCS, has said the agency is committed to chaplaincy and is looking to resume the program in hospitals where service has been cut and also to expand into new institutions.