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Patient Says Thanks by Designating Hospital as Life Insurance Beneficiary

Shannon LaFrance-Corum and physicianShannon LaFrance-Corum’s story starts out like many patient stories from National Jewish Health. A life-threatening respiratory illness that remained un-diagnosable until visiting Denver. What makes her story different is how she is choosing to end it.

Shannon is 49, and hopefully decades from the end of her life. She decided she would make National Jewish Health the beneficiary of one of her life insurance policies.

“We don’t have the ability to write a $100,000 check,” Shannon said, “but this is a way the average person can afford to give a gift of that amount.”

Shannon got this idea from her husband, Mike Corum, who sells insurance.

“Many of the people I talk to plan to leave their assets to heirs and to charity,” Mike said. “But by the end of their lives, the nursing home could have taken all of their assets. By making a charity the beneficiary of life insurance, it guarantees support of the charity and can be a write off.”

A Remote Encounter with Care

Shannon, Mike and their children live in a rural suburb outside Chicago. She was grateful for a correct diagnosis after her first visit to Denver, but it was the remote care she received from the medical team at National Jewish Health that led her to leave a legacy gift using her life insurance.

Sometime after her diagnosis of nontuberculous bronchiectasis with mycobacterium avium complex, she began coughing up blood. She was home alone with her 9-year-old son, Benjamin, so the two of them rushed to the ER together. She attempted to explain her diagnosis, but the local doctors did not understand it and immediately alerted for the tuberculosis safety protocol. They set up a quarantine and alarms sounded all around her.

“I began freaking out,” Shannon said. “I knew it was minutes before 5 p.m. in Denver, but I called up the infectious disease department at National Jewish Health. Denise [Taylor, RN] answered the phone but could not track down Gwen [Huitt, MD]. Instead of telling me to call back the next morning, she stayed on the phone with me and talked me down from the ledge. She also told me that coughing up blood can happen with my diagnosis and gave me a protocol to follow if it occurred again.”

In the meantime, the local ER determined that Shannon was not contagious and her cough was not life-threatening. She was stabilized and sent home. The next morning she received a call from Dr. Huitt checking on her, but no bill for the time of Denise or Dr. Huitt ever came.

“The personalized care I received from Denise and Gwen both going the extra mile is what prompted me to do the legacy gift.”


Continuing Collaborative Care

Since her traumatic ER visit, Shannon has unfortunately had to return for emergency care. This time she took her electronic medical records.

“This ER doctor got right on the phone with Gwen after reading my National Jewish Health report. She later commented on how lovely Gwen had been to work with. Having local doctors who care for you every day and collaborate with your team at National Jewish Health in Denver is a great way to do medicine,” Shannon said.

Shannon wants to ensure that model of care will be available to future National Jewish Health patients, and that is why she is leaving a legacy gift to the hospital through her life insurance policy. In her case, the gift will benefit the National Jewish Health Center of Excellence on Deployment-Related Lung Disease in honor of her two eldest sons, Austin and Ryan Green, both of whom are in the Armed Services.

If you are interested in designating National Jewish Health as a beneficiary of your life insurance policy, or leaving another type of legacy gift, please contact Gordon Smith at 800.423.8891, ext. 6549, or

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