5/12/2014 11:35:00 AM Guest Column: What National Hospital Week Means Locally
Stephen R. Miller CEO, Kosciusko Community Hospital
The face of health care has changed dramatically since the first National Hospital Week was celebrated in May 1953. Hospitals are fewer in number but larger in size. Gone are the nurses’ caps and starched white uniforms. Records are kept electronically, surgeons use lasers and tiny incisions to perform major operations and technological advancements provide lab results in minutes. But one thing hasn’t changed: Hospitals remain the foundation of the community through their compassionate care and their tireless dedication to the well-being of their neighbors. We appreciate the hard work and devotion that the 850 men and women of Kosciusko Community Hospital, MedStat and Kosciusko Medical Group bring to their jobs every day. We pause to honor them during National Hospital Week and to recognize the personal sacrifices they make as they answer their calling. Hospital workers report for duty on weekends and holidays, in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. They are here tending to you and your loved ones, keeping floors clean and equipment running in the middle of a blizzard or on a warm, sunny day. If there is a natural disaster, they are here in full force. Sickness, emergencies and personal tragedies pay no attention to the weather. While many people enjoy outdoor spring activities this time of year spent with family and friends, many Kosciusko Community Hospital employees who serve as doctors, nurses, technicians and support staff will spend their evenings and holidays serving others. They will be at the side of a young mother who is delivering her first child or reassuring a visitor whose parent is in critical condition. They will be reading X-rays or lab results in the emergency room or preparing meals to offer nourishment and some sense of comfort to the loved ones of the ailing relative. This is what we do in hospitals: We touch lives. Last year Kosciusko Community Hospital touched many people locally through 282,191 inpatient and outpatient visits. We delivered 655 babies, performed 5,325 surgeries and attended to patients in 23,986 emergency room visits in 2013. While we wade through the ever-changing health insurance waters, we continue to serve our less fortunate neighbors; last year KCH and affiliated entities provided $38.6 million in charity and uncompensated care. We also take pride in the contribution we make to the community’s fiscal health. Besides the more than $40.4 million we channel into the local economy through wages and benefits, last year we invested more than $3.8 million into our facilities and paid $804,000 in tax revenue for local communities. In some cases, this revenue from sales, mercantile and real estate taxes is helping to keep a municipality operating in the black – and that has a ripple effect. These resources are used to provide your basic municipal services like police and fire protection. Numbers and dollar signs aside, it is our employees whom we value most, not only for their commitment to their patients but for their many roles in the community. These are the people who volunteer at church picnics, serve as Little League coaches and participate in weekend fundraisers to support local non-profits’ endeavors and help causes like the United Way of Kosciusko County, American Heart Association Walk, Cancer Care Fund of Kosciusko County, American Cancer Society Relay for Life and many others. These are the people who support local merchants, invest in homes and keep civic organizations active. The face of health care and the look of hospitals may have changed dramatically in the last few decades but what remains constant is the unwavering dedication of the men and women who come to work every day to ensure the continuity of care. Join us as we salute them for their contributions to our hospitals, our communities and our health.