A foundation dedicated to helping fill financial voids at Via Christi Hospital in Pittsburg gave away nearly $47,000 to 14 different entities within the hospital during the 2015 Department Grants ceremony in the hospital’s lobby Monday.

The Mount Carmel Foundation has raised more than $4.8 million since its inception in 1983. The department grants were added two years ago, and are another funding branch of the foundation. The department grants allow individuals working within the hospital’s departments to apply for money to address a need.

“This is an opportunity for (the Mount Carmel Foundation) to have any associate, any director, anyone within the hospital to apply for a grant,” said Johnna Norton, executive director. “They can identify a need in their area, and then we can fund it. This year we chose the projects … that have direct patient impact and can really touch the patients that we have in need.”

In all, $46,825 was given away to 14 different projects, ranging from providing chicken soup for patients after surgery to machines which help diagnose sleep apnea.

Dr. Jason Bailey works in the pulmonary critical care department of the hospital. His department was awarded $5,000 to help identify patients with sleep apnea.

The money will purchase two machines for patients to take home. The information from the diagnostic machine will then be uploaded and analyzed. He said the department had three machines, but two are no longer working, adding strain to an already two month-long waiting list.

“Sleep apnea is a pandemic there is a lot of people with it,” Bailey said. “We are detecting more and more (people with) sleep apnea.”

The foundation gave roughly $30,000 last year compared to roughly $47,000. Norton said the increase was due to necessity.

“On behalf of the hospital and all of the associates and most importantly our patients, thank you so much to the foundation,” said CEO Randy Cason, adding this money “will touch in a meaningful way patient care throughout the whole hospital.”