A year ago, we couldn’t wait to see 2020 in the rear view mirror. We eagerly looked ahead to 2021 hoping for relief from the pandemic. And then the 2021 roller coaster ride of variants said, “Buckle up.”
The Delta variant was a game changer. As hospitals large and small across the nation were hit hard, some stopped taking patients, others found themselves in situations where rationing care and resources became a heartbreaking reality.
Thankfully, we did not face those hard choices here in Union County, but we did see our COVID cases rise to unprecedented levels, as our hospital filled with younger and sicker patients. Our battle-weary staff understandably became disheartened at times. Each loss was incredibly personal. As we do our best to lift each other up, we won’t forget the losses. But we must always hope for the best and work to move forward.
The strength of small town America has never been more important to a future of health, peace and prosperity. I have personally witnessed that strength. The resolve and resiliency of the care givers we have here at Grande Ronde is both humbling and rewarding. I believe more than ever it is a privilege to live and serve in a rural community.
I am grateful Grande Ronde also experienced some tender mercies and wonderful accomplishments over the past 12 months. In March we were notified we made the Top 100 Critical Access Hospital (CAH) list, one of just three of Oregon’s 25 CAHs to do so. With a total of 1,350 CAHs in the nation, this honor places GRH in the top 7.4 percent in performance.
In June we made the full transition to acquire Blue Mountain Associates, a 30-year outpatient mental health treatment center, adding a psychiatrist and his care team into our behavioral health services program. This gave GRH a key foundational building block to recruiting additional providers to an interdisciplinary team. We are seeing success there already, and there will be more to come on that this summer.
Another project just completed was moving our infusion services into the former rehabilitation therapy and gym space. With a wall of windows and the best view of our beautiful valley from here on the hill, there are now 10 new, light-filled spaces. Patients who must sit for hours at a time, often on more than one day a week, now have a calm and healing environment to do so. It was designed specifically with these very special patients in mind.
The good news is that – despite all the challenges we have had to work through – GRH is growing and moving forward to serve our community. We have always been the exception to the rule of small town health care – we have always looked forward at what can be done to improve our communities’ health and wellbeing. It is what drives us. And because more of you chose to stay home for care during COVID, we had the opportunity to show you who we are today. It was a privilege to be here when you needed us and become reacquainted.
When we consider a new service, program, or big construction project, we ask – how does this benefit the health, wellness and quality of life in our community? Our mission is to provide the best health care services in as broad a variety as we possibly can. All so that you can stay home for care. We are partners in your health. And we look forward to investing further in Union County. There are more good things to come in 2022.
We believe in the power of rural - the strength of small town America. We believe in our community and in all of you. We believe in the vision statement that adorns our walls: “Quality healthcare is our mission. Patients are our passion.” And we truly believe that our best days lie ahead.
Jeremy P. Davis, MHA
President and CEO
Grande Ronde Hospital and Clinics