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April 20, 2018

LePage signs into law bill creating Barbara Bush specialty license plate

Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
First Lady Barbara Bush, who passed away at her home in Texas on Tuesday, comforts a patient at the children's hospital bearing her name at the Maine Medical Center in Portland. Gov. Paul LePage has signed into law a bill passed this week creating the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital specialty license plate, which is projected to raise more than $200,000 each year to enhance patient care at Maine’s only children’s hospital.

About Barbara Bush Children's Hospital

The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital serves children and families from throughout Maine. In many cases services provided by the hospital, including care for children's kidney disease, pediatric palliative care, advanced cardiology interventions and advanced forms of cancer therapy, are not found anywhere else in the state.

In 2016, BBCH provided more than 100,000 patient visits.

As Maine's only certified children's hospital, it offers services in cancer treatment, cardiology, neonatal care, and numerous other pediatric specialties.

About Maine Medical Center

Maine Medical Center, recognized as a Best Regional Hospital by U.S. News and World Report for 2017-2018, is the state's largest medical center, licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people. It provides nearly 23% of all the charity care delivered in Maine and is a member of the MaineHealth system.

Gov. Paul R. LePage has signed into law the bill creating the Barbara Bush Children's Hospital specialty license plate.

One day after First Lady Barbara Bush passed away at her home in Texas, the Maine Legislature voted on Wednesday to create a special license plate that will help fund the children's hospital at Maine Medical Center that bears her name.

The first plates are expected to be available by Oct. 1, according to the text of LD 1685, "An Act To Create The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital Registration Plate."

The bill is the result of the campaign that Kim and Joe Westrich of Wiscasset began nearly three years ago as a way to give back to the hospital, which treated their daughter, Madison, who was diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 2. Madison is now a healthy 12-year-old, according to a news release from Maine Medical Center, and the Westrich family's goal in having a specialty license plate named after Barbara Bush is to create a stable funding source for the children's hospital bearing her name for generations to come.

"Former first lady Barbara Bush was supportive of the plate," Joe Westrich said. "She even signed up! Once on the road, we hope that the plate will be a constant reminder to people to live their lives like Mrs. Bush did — full of life, and always helping others."

The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital will receive $10 from every new plate sold and $10 from every annual renewal. After the $25 registration fee, motorists only pay a $15 annual renewal fee.

Within five years of being made available statewide, the plate is projected to raise more than $200,000 each year to enhance patient care at Maine's only children's hospital.

"The Barbara Bush Children's Hospital license plate is the culmination of years of work from thousands of Mainers who have provided their support, their advocacy and their signatures," said Rich Petersen, president and CEO of Maine Medical Center, where the children's hospital is located. "Ensuring the long-term support for the health and well-being of Maine's children is part of Mrs. Bush's legacy, so it is fitting that the state Legislature would take this important step. We salute each member and thank them for their support."

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