The Foundation for Community Care recognizes the only way to control the destiny of the hospital and community healthcare organizations through the philanthropic environment in Richland County.
An endowment (savings account, think of a more layman's term for this) has been established to ensure long-term growth. Each year the board gives 5% of this investment in grants. It is a fair statement to say that there is not a single Richland County resident that hasn't been impacted in some way by the grants distributed through the foundation. Over $3 million has been granted to Sidney Health Center, as well as health organizations throughout Richland County. Each year the Foundation is able to distribute a higher total amount in grants due to the investment performance and growth in the endowment.
As a benefit of the unique relationship between Sidney Health Center, the Foundation for Community Care Senior Executive serves on the Administrative Board at the hospital. This partnership provides access to the needs and challenges in rural healthcare from an insider perspective.
Hospitals are the cornerstone of our communities. We connect with a hospital during our most intimate and extraordinary circumstances. Most of us are born in hospitals. Hospitals provide care after serious injuries and during episodes of severe sickness or disease. We often turn to hospitals to provide different levels of care as we age and need different types of support. Hospitals are predominately where our loved ones go to die. Sidney Health Center is embedded into the sacred fabric of our community. SHC offers all of these services; the hospital, the Lodge, Assisted Living and Extended Care.
The Foundation for Community Care measures its impact based on the ability to continue providing existing services, while recognizing and developing local management of healthcare in Richland County.
Current Sidney Health Center Clinic Remodel Project:
In most U.S. cities, access to physicians and hospitals is a quick drive, a cheap public transit fare, or a taxi ride away. However, people in rural settings are likely to live further away from health care providers, particularly specialist services. Additionally, the deficiency of dependable transportation can be a barrier. Transportation services that exist in urban areas are often lacking or non-existent in rural areas.
Besides the geographical barriers to accessing health care, there are fewer providers. As noted earlier, about 20% to 25% of the population is rural; however, only about 10% of physicians practice in these communities. Ask any rural hospital or skilled nursing CEO to list the top issues in the industry; most would likely tab finding qualified staff as a key concern. Per "Healthy People 2010: A Companion Document for Rural Areas," a project funded by the Office of Rural Health Policy, more than 33% of rural Americans live in “health professional shortage areas," and nearly 82% of rural counties are classified as “medically underserved areas."
Compounding these issues is the rate at which rural health care facilities are shutting down. The National Rural Health Association recently teamed with the University of North Carolina and iVantage, a health analytics firm, to conduct a study that identifies current and potential rural hospital closures. The ultimate goal is to identify potential closings before they occur. The research targeted approximately 2,000 rural hospitals across the country, and labeled 210 as "most vulnerable" with another 463 labeled as "at risk." Those dubbed “most vulnerable" could close any day, while “at risk" ratings are reserved for hospitals that may only last another few years without adjustment. Ultimately, closing these sites will not only have a negative impact on the access to care in the service area, but also eliminate a top employer in the community.
With that in mind, the Foundation for Community Care is focused on funding for the portion of the clinic remodel that will provide access to two new physicians at Sidney Health Center beginning in 2019. The project budget, listed on page 14-15 of the attached document, titled Phase 4A – 3 More Providers (10-11 Total). Total planning budget for this phase of the clinic remodel, adjusting for escalation & inflation, is $631,769. That amount will pay for full construction costs, as well as furnishings, professional fees, and miscellaneous contingency items. This portion of the project will ensure that 2 family practice physicians, Dr.'s Seth Larson & James Hickey, would have space to begin building their practice here in Sidney in Summer of 2019. The two physicians, both finishing their residency programs, have committed to Sidney Health Center, and the added space would allow greater and more consistent access to quality health care professionals.