Happy 2023 Union County!
I thought we had seen it all in 2020 and 2021 until 2022 showed up. As if on cue, 2022 became another year of change. At Grande Ronde we have had to be nimble and resourceful this past year, navigating our way through ups and downs impacting health care throughout our state, the nation and here at home. Will 2023 bring more of the same? I don’t have a crystal ball, but I do know that whatever comes, we are ready for it.
After what we’ve already been through, I can’t help but shake my head that we end the year with not one, not two, but three respiratory illnesses sweeping though our state. This “perfect storm” of Influenza, RSV and COVID-19 has had a broad impact on our staff. I am so proud of the tenacity of our GRH family – those in direct patient care certainly, but also the hundreds of employees who work tirelessly to keep everything running, so those providing patient care can do what they do best.
With that being said, however, it’s important to talk about some great things from 2022. We started out the year on a high note in January when we announced the significant facilities expansion here on campus. We broke ground this spring around the same time Oregon announced it was easing masking and screening requirements implemented during the height of COVID. As the weather warmed up, GRH began to open up to welcome more visitors into our facilities to be with their loved ones. We were able to ease some screening and masking restrictions for visitors, as well as our staff.
This also meant we could open our arms and welcome guests into our “home”. We began hosting community groups and held in-person meetings again. In June, we welcomed many of our neighbors into our hospital for a special dinner presentation to share the plans and vision for the new facility. And humbly asked for their grace while under construction. It was a wonderful night, and we definitely have great neighbors.
In July, we held our annual employee picnic after not being able to gather for two years. Our newest employees were blown away by the “fair” atmosphere of food, fun and fellowship. Also in July, the GRH Foundation hosted a successful community event to announce the launch of the “Healthier Together” capital campaign in support of our new expansion. In August we officially kicked off the project with a celebratory Groundbreaking Ceremony right in the middle of all the construction.
The speeches were short that day, but Dr. Gerry Funk, who chairs Surgical Services, reiterated one of the main reasons for the project. Our current operating rooms are old and small. This project is an opportunity to build the future of health care in Union County. These expanded, state-of-the-art operating rooms will also aid in recruitment and retention of more terrific surgeons and surgical services staff to our team.
As we proactively seek new providers, we look for those who will embrace all that Union County has to offer. We know that many of them could work anywhere, but our own “perfect storm” of a great community, facilities and people certainly helps set us apart. We did very well in 2022, successfully recruiting 13 new providers in Internal Medicine, Emergency Medicine, Licensed Care Social Worker (LCSW), Psychiatry, Urgent Care and Hospitalist.
The GRH vision for more than 115 years has been to remain locally owned and self-governed. I believe this commitment to independence is not only attractive to new providers, but has also allowed GRH to remain nimble and proactive as we assess and implement what works best for us right now – right here – at home.
Having a committed team of volunteers serve on our governing Board of Trustees who believe in “Big City Medicine with a Hometown Touch” is vital to this community. They guide our efforts during the best and worst of times. I am humbled by this dedicated group of men and women who believe in our Mission to bring the best health care possible to our region and keep our patients home for the care they need with their loved ones near.
Those who serve on our Board are determined, as I am, to move forward in 2023 with a message of hope for the future. I am more convinced than ever that it is the strength of those of us living and working in small town America that will carry us toward that future of health, peace and prosperity we seek.
Happy 2023 Union County! The best is yet to come!