Article | Leadership

HFMA member continues to give back to her community with mask outreach project

Article | Leadership

HFMA member continues to give back to her community with mask outreach project

Paola Turchi, FHFMA, wouldn’t describe herself as a seamstress. She describes her first pandemic sewing project as “a disaster” and says she’s still working on her technique. But Turchi, a revenue cycle consultant with Allscripts and a member of HFMA’s South Texas Chapter, has made hundreds of masks for friends to give to community members and has no intention of stopping.

Turchi’s original pattern was simple and used the materials she could easily find in the first days of the pandemic when supplies were short. Now, better materials are readily available, and she’s received piles of donated fabric. And as her technique improved, she began making reversible masks with different patterns, and she added metallic strips for around the nose and plastic pieces that adjust the elastic around the ears. She gives the masks to employees at the city hall in her small town outside of Austin, to friends who work in physician practices and to other community members who ask for them. She regularly posts on social media offering masks to anyone who requests one.

“It’s been a way for me to give back to the community and keep me busy,” she said.

Turchi is close to her original goal of 500 masks, but said she intends to make them as long as people ask for them. Anyone interested in donating to her materials fund, or in getting a mask she made, can contact her at sziapao@yahoo.com.

Remembering Tony Slabacheski, unofficial HFMA event photographer and HFMA ambassador

Anthony “Tony” Slabacheski, 82, a member of HFMA’s Massachusetts-Rhode Island Chapter, died suddenly Jan. 16, 2021. 

His longtime service to HFMA includes:

  • Running the Chapter’s golf tournament for many years, filling two whole courses.
  • Being the Chapter president in 2000-2001.
  • Winning the Hernan Award (the Chapter’s highest honor) in 1993.
  • Earning in 2003 the Presidential Award for Service for his tireless photography and ambassadorship at events. To this day, he is the only person who has ever won it.
  • Being given the title Honorary Chapter Historian in 2020. 

About the Author

Erika Grotto, CHFP, CRCR,

is a senior editor, HFMA, Westchester, Ill.

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