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Hospital Foundation in Elma fulfilling promises

How’s this for a big figure: Half a million dollars. That’s how much the Mark Reed Hospital District Foundation raised last year during its big capital campaign.

But they’re not done. The goal is a full $1 million, says Foundation Director Lauren Day.

Already, plans are underway to make this year’s annual golf tournament and dinner a bigger success than last year’s. And the hospital is also courting other potential sponsors for naming rights around the hospital.

By the end of 2012, the foundation raised $508,000 through gifts and pledges. They were able to sell a dozen commemorative naming rights, marked on different plaques around the new hospital in Elma, Summit Pacific Medical Center, which opened last month.

To finance the hospital, the district had to take out a $21.1 million loan from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. CEO Jensen then worked out a deal with the county commissioners to acquire the property in Elma. But the financing didn’t leave a lot of room to acquire some pretty important equipment.

That’s where the foundation has stepped in.

Working with a $75,000 grant from the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, the Mark Reed Hospital District Foundation also donated $75,000 to purchase a picture archiving and communication system and radiology information system upgrades. That’s critical pieces for the hospital’s ultrasound machine and CT scanner.

“It’s imaging storage and sharing software so they can scan and able to send those scans electronically digitally to other doctors or providers, wherever they might be,” Day said. “It’s pretty instantaneously. All scans have to be read by a radiologist and we don’t have a radiologist here. … Also, in Emergency Care, our emergency department doctors can use the software for the CT scanner so that our emergency doctors can be in the emergency room and see the scans come up live. That way they can make quicker decisions and have a quicker diagnosis. It’s a pretty critical piece of equipment.”

The Grays Harbor Community Foundation actually received the naming rights on the diagnostic imaging section of the hospital for its donation. A newsletter from the foundation notes that the $75,000 grant is the largest single-award discretionary grant in the history of the organization.

“In a surprising, fateful connect, a Board member pointed out that a gentleman with Grays Harbor roots was the inventor of the portable medical ultra-sound diagnostic device,” the newsletter states, noting that inventor Don Baker was invited to the hospital’s opening ceremonies and able to make a short presentation about the history of ultra sound.

Day said that the hospital foundation also received a critical $150,000 grant from the M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust to specifically purchase a digital mammography machine and software for the new hospital.

The hospital’s annual report also lists a treasure trove of other donations done over the past year, including for a fetal heart Doppler and two pulse oximetry units.

“We’ve also purchased a lot of hospital beds and paid to help equip the physical therapy gym,” Day said.

A recent purchase was for a ventilator-bi-level positive airway pressure-combination machine for the Emergency Department. Day explains that it’s a machine to help patients breathe and is especially useful for people who are having problems exhaling.

“We’ll be able to keep more patients here because of the machine,” Day said. “And this came about because as the nurses and doctors were working, they came to realize it was a critical piece of equipment.”

But, without funding for the device in the budget, the administration leaned on its eight-member Foundation Board to approve the expenditure. The Board of Directors includes many in the business community — officials from Murphy Veneer, Anchor Bank, Timberland Bank and the Thurston County Chamber of Commerce, for instance.

“The hospital administration will look at a list of recommended purchases first and make a decision on what they think they need and submit a formal request,” Day said.” The foundation reviews that and agrees or disagrees. They are pretty good about asking questions.”

Day works half-time as the Foundation director and half-time as the hospital’s marketing director. She’s been on the job for two years now, after working four years at a hospital in the Chehalis area.

“It’s not often you get to build a hospital from the ground up and this has been an amazing experience,” she said.

Part of her job is organizing charity events and helping to facilitate between the hospital foundation board and hospital administration. She’s also the point person when seeking donations and when those come to the hospital looking to donate.

“It’s a mix of what I do,” she explained. “We have a committee of people out there meeting with people and doing face to face talks and showing them the hospital, talking about what we hope to accomplish and what’s available and what we need. The people who donate usually have roots here. They may not live here anymore but they grew up here and live in Seattle now. There are a lot of local families, who have been very generous. But some people donate and wish to do so anonymously.”

Inside the hospital, a donor wall was installed at the lobby to give credit for those who have helped during the new hospital’s capital campaign.

The M. J. Murdock Charitable Trust is listed as the top donor. In the $50,000 to $99,999 category is listed the Grays Harbor Community Foundation, the Forest and Ruth Kelsey Foundation and Bill and Joan Martin.

In the $25,000 to $49,999 category, it’s listed Kay Hill and Family, in memory of Ron Hill, Karen and William Hurley, B&K Emergency Services and Willis Enterprises. In the $10,000 to $24,999 category, Harbor Pacific is listed along with Ron and Sherry Hulscher and Renée and Tom Jensen. Ron Hulscher is the former CFO of the hospital district and Renée Jensen is the current CEO.

Jensen’s name is actually located quite a bit around the hospital. She purchased the naming rights for the administration office, put a stone out by the flag pole in memory of her father, Ron Hill, who died in 2008; and in the healing garden, she dedicated a water feature in honor of her daughter, Kaylin, born in March of 2012.

“May this be a place to pause and reflect on the most precious moments in life,” the stone honoring her daughter states.

“We’ve been blessed by Renée and Tom’s generosity,” Day said.

Many other employees have also donated to the hospital or pledged to do donations over the next three years. If they donated at least $1,500, they got their name permanently on the donor wall, she said.

Besides the capital campaign, the foundation also manages a patient assistance fund to help patients pay for medication and transportation costs. Plus, the foundation awards scholarships, last year giving away four scholarships valued at $500 each. The foundation also hosts a regular picnic for employees and gives out employee awards.

“That’s a big morale boost and hard for the hospital to justify the expense so the foundation picks up that piece,” Day said. “With us getting bigger, the employee picnic will be even more important because there will be some employees who used to have contact with each other all the time that maybe now don’t see each other at all.”

The next big event for the hospital is the Celebrity Golf and Gala event, set to happen May 10. The golf tournament is set for Oaksridge Golf Course in Elma followed by the dinner and live auction, which will take place at the hospital this year.

“That gives the community another way to see what we do and see the new hospital,” Day explained.

Last year, they raised more than $36,000 — the most successful event to date.

Cost is $120 for just the golf tournament or $160 for golf and dinner or $60 just for dinner. The dinner is formal wear and the auction is hosted by KOMO anchor Brad Goode, featuring an assortment of sailing, skiing, fishing, golf trips, dinner experiences, jewelry and art.

The event will be catered by the hospital’s new chef and manager of dietary services, Brandon Smith. Smith said he’s still deciding on a menu, but says he has a background in barbecue, Italian, Indian food and classic Americana.

“For the most part it’s comfort food, soups, salads,” he said.

Those interested in the golf tournament or dinner should contact Day at (360) 346-2250 or email at