HDH capital campaign for ER kicks off


Photo: Members of the Highland District Hospital Board of Directors are pictured Wednesday afternoon during a ground-breaking ceremony at the Hillsboro facility.

By Jeff Gilliland – [email protected]

During a ground-breaking ceremony Wednesday afternoon Highland District Hospital formally launched a fundraising campaign to renovate and expand its emergency department. The $1.5 million GreatER Care campaign will enable HDH to continue to deliver the highest quality care to its patients, according to HDH Foundation Director Cathy Jones.

Highland District Hospital Board President Barbara Yochum and HDH President and CEO Randy Lennartz, joined by GreatER Care Campaign co-chairs Vicki Rhude and Pamela Limes, made the announcement before a gathering of close to 100 donors and hospital supporters.

The expansion is expected to be done in three phases, according to Lennartz. He said the first phase is scheduled to start in December or January and will involve the construction of an addition to the front of the current entrance to the emergency department area. Phase two will be the renovation of the old emergency department area, and phase three will bring the first two phases together.

Lennartz said the last time the emergency department expanded was in 1992. He said the hospital would have liked to start the expansion about six years ago, but held off partly due to the economy.

The campaign’s ultimate fundraising goal is $1.5 million. So far, during the one-year silent phase, the campaign has raised $669,909. Jones said the public phase will continue until its conclusion and celebration of success with the commemoration of the hospital’s 105th anniversary year.

“We are thrilled with the commitments of our early, pacesetter donors. We are excited to find many advocates for the hospital who continue to show strong support for its mission,” Jones said.

Donors who have contributed $50,000 or more so far include: Don and Ann Fender; Glenn B. Fordyce Foundation; HDH Gift Shop; Vinayak Kulkarni, MD; Randal and Elaine Lennartz; Merchants National Bank; Amol Soin, MD; and Steve W. Thompson and Susan L. Davis Thompson.

“We have been extremely gratified by the generosity of the local businesses, our hospital employees, and the individuals in this community during our initial silent phase of the campaign,” Lennartz said. “This emergency department has always been an essential piece of the Highland County community. Meeting our campaign goals will ensure that those who live and work in this region will continue to receive state-of-the-art health care, close to home, for many years to come.”

The hospital first announced the expansion, which will take its emergency department from 4,222 square feet to 8,988 square feet, in late March. Most of the expansion will take place on the northeast corner of the hospital, or to the right of the current approach to the emergency room entrance.

“We are grateful to the early donors who are helping to make this possible. I am thrilled that we have secured donations and pledges which represent 45 percent of our fundraising goal for this project,” Rhude said.

Tim Parry, HDH vice president of operations, previously said the expansion will increase the number of beds in the ER from 11 to 14, and that the expansion will require some additional staffing.

Improvements to the department will include:

• Private patient rooms and a larger waiting area to provide a greater level of comfort to patients and their families.

• Designated behavioral health rooms to better treat mental health and substance abuse.

• Centralized nurses’ stations with access to treatment rooms for a more comfortable and efficient environment.

• A new drive-up ambulance bay to improve emergency transport of patients and ensure quicker delivery of care.

• Increased floor space allowing for more efficient care delivery and easier accessibility for all patients.

• Specialized decontamination rooms for patients with contagious diseases or exposure to hazardous materials.

• Designated trauma room with adequate space to care for the most critically ill or injured patients.

“The opportunity to expand and renovate the ER into a bright, modern ER facility is very positive for Highland County and its surrounding communities. It is a commitment by the board and hospital leadership, and only means good things for the area’s citizens and employers,” Yochum said.

The HDH emergency room sees an average of about 19,000 patients a year, according to Parry.

“As a longtime advocate of Highland District Hospital, I am very pleased to be a part of this important fundraising campaign,” Fender said. “Not only does it represent the hospital’s continuing investment in the community, but is another example of their commitment to bring quality and emergency care to Highland County. I congratulate the entire team at Highland District Hospital on today’s announcement.”

Contributions to the GreatER Care campaign can be made by logging onto www.hdh.org/hdh-foundation or calling 937-393-6360.

Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522 or on Twitter @13gillilandj.

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