In response to the March 7 article “Alfond Foundation to award $500 to all Maine babies,” all of us at the Birthplace at Mercy Hospital were delighted to learn that effective retroactively to Jan. 1, 2013, the grants are now automatic. Prior to that, parents had to apply for them – and in order to do that, they had to know about them.

Now more directly accessible, the Alfond grant information is located in the Newborn packet given to all families. In addition, Birthplace and Medical Records (Health Information) staff will continue to inform moms of the grant, noting that the application can be immediately submitted if filled out while in the hospital.

In light of this, I’d like to publicly recognize the incredible work of the nurses and staff of the Mercy Birthplace and the Medical Records department.

From the inception of the Alfond grant program, the Birthplace and Medical Records teams recognized its importance to Maine families and ensured that all women and families using the Birthplace were aware of the program and knew how to access it.

The teams’ efforts made Mercy the top referrer to the program, generating the highest enrollment from any hospital in the state each year since the program was launched.

The Alfond Foundation’s generosity is in the best tradition of the state of Maine. To the foundation, I say, “Thank you” – and to the Birthplace and Medical Records staff, I say, “Job well done. You helped a lot of Maine kids get a better start.”

Bette Neville, RNC, MSN

vice president and chief nursing officer

Mercy Hospital

Portland