Children’s Hospital Los Angeles has seen a bump in donations after late night star Jimmy Kimmel shared an emotional tribute to the facility where his newborn son Billy successfully underwent open-heart surgery.
“I hope you never have to go there,” the Jimmy Kimmel Live! host said, getting choked up on Monday night while talking about CHLA in a monologue that has been viewed millions of times online. “But if you do, you’ll see so many kids from so many financial backgrounds, being cared for so well and with so much compassion.”
Hospital president and CEO Paul Viviano said CHLA has seen a higher-than-normal number of donations since Kimmel’s monologue. They’ve also received supportive calls from old patients, according to Viviano.
“We have had several hundred calls to the hospital, our heart institute, from former patients thanking us for care and from donors inspired by Jimmy’s message,” he said.
Staff at the hospital also took Kimmel’s speech to heart, Viviano said.
“Our caregivers — the nurses and physicians that Jimmy talked about, that team — of course, it’s very reaffirming for them,” he said. “It’s not every day when someone on national television talks about a wonderful outcome under some challenging circumstances.”
In his monologue, Kimmel explained that before 2014, his son may not have been able to get insurance due to his pre-existing condition — the congenital heart disease he was born with.
“If your parents didn’t have medical insurance, you might not live long enough to even get denied because of a pre-existing condition. If your baby is going to die and it doesn’t have to, it shouldn’t matter how much money you make,” Kimmel said through tears.
Viviano told TIME that the GOP’s health care bill, which passed in the House of Representatives on Thursday, pre-existing conditions may not be protected.
“This bill doesn’t achieve what our fundamental thesis is, which is children need and deserve coverage and access to healthcare regardless of their financial status,” he said.
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