By Mary-Justine Lanyon
The Summit Circle dinner is held each year as a way for the Mountains Community Hospital Foundation to thank “its most loyal and dedicated supporters.
“You help our hospital fulfill its mission of providing exceptional care,” Peter Venturini, the Foundation president, said at the March 15 dinner held at Miller’s Landing.
“You are our ambassadors,” Venturini added. “Make sure the community knows all the services the hospital offers.”
Last year, Venturini noted, $548,000 was donated to the Foundation; 96 percent of that came from donations and grants from Summit Circle members. Those members have donated a minimum of $500 to the Foundation.
Over the years, said Kim McGuire, the director of community development, the Foundation has given $6.5 million to MCH.
“Your donations have never been more critical,” McGuire said. “It costs more now to provide healthcare due to the pandemic.”
She detailed equipment the hospital had been able to purchase, including 10 transport chairs and 10 cots with built-in weighing capacity.
In 2023, she added, the Foundation plans to donate around $900,000 to MCH. At the Summit Circle dinner, she and Venturini presented a check for $290,000 to CEO Mark Turner.
Turner, who has been at the helm of the hospital for about a year, told the Summit Circle members that “it was amazing how our team pulled together during the storms. We never closed because of the dedication of our staff. Some stayed for weeks.
Turner heralded two staff members – Danny Pensabene, the EVS manager who served as incident commander during the blizzard, and Julie Davis, the ED and med/surg manager, who served as operations chief – as heroes.
“We never ran short of food, medical supplies or linens,” Turner said.
The hospital is about to open up its new registration area, he noted. That will be followed by a new gift shop and then an expanded and relocated pharmacy. The current space, he said, is too small to meet regulatory requirements. There are also plans to modernize the rural health clinic.
In the future a new acute care wing will be attached to the existing hospital building by the emergency department. The hospital has to be seismic compliant by 2030. MCH is going through the permitting process with the county and then will send architectural plans to the state.
There are also plans to build the Willerth Education Center, for which there is already funding.
One of the hospital’s services that is not well known is post acute care for when a patient is not quite ready to go home.
Turner asked Amy Sharrow to speak about her father’s experience. “I’m Ron Doutt’s daughter,” Sharrow said. Her father was in the hospital down the hill and moved to a facility to recover. “Down-the-hill hospitals need to know post acute care is available here,” she said. “Patients heal when friends and family can visit.” Her father was moved to MCH.
Venturini concluded the evening by announcing that Le Grand Picnic will be back, on July 23, with a theme of Back to the Future.