ENTERPRISE — For the first time in its existence, the 25th annual Healthy Futures Dinner Auction took to an online format when it was held virtually on Saturday, Nov. 14, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There wasn’t an auction as in years past, but instead a raffle. There also was a message of optimism for the future, one that showed the Wallowa Memorial Hospital in a good financial position and that was full of gratitude to those who had donated more than $1.35 million to the Wallowa Valley Health Care Foundation during the previous 2½ decades the event had been held.
“It’s amazing as you look back 25 years, the impact this event has had over the years,” Larry Davy, Wallowa Memorial Hospital CEO, said during his pretaped State of the Hospital address, which was part of the Saturday night event.
Many who spoke praised the efforts of those who raised money through the years and talked about what the funds had helped to bring to the hospital, including new equipment such as a medication dispenser, imaging equipment, a bone-density unit and an ultrasound machine, among others.
“The goal of the foundation is to provide quality health care for Wallowa County,” said Terry Jones, foundation board member.
Many of the purchases have enabled patients to receive care in Wallowa County that they otherwise may not have been able to.
“Your support has made the difference. Over 25 years, giving generously, each and every year had meant the difference between adequate equipment and no equipment at all in some cases, to state of the art equipment that comes with anything you could find in a much larger hospital in an urban or suburban area,” said Stacy Green, Wallowa Valley Health Care Foundation director.
Davy spoke of a hospital in increasingly solid financial shape, noting that in 2014, the hospital had $19.5 million in mortgage debt.
“As of today the hospital is now under $4 million on its mortgage...with plans to have that paid off in the next 2-3 years,” Davy said.
Davy also said the hospital had received several high accolades from national companies.
“In 2020, the iVantage company did announce that Wallowa Memorial Hospital for the third time in four years is named as a top 20 critical access hospital in the county with a percentile ranking of 99.7, which put us approximately No. 4 in the nation,” he said.
The hospital also received a five-star ranking in patient satisfaction from the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services, and in employee satisfaction, it was ranked No. 8 as a health care employer and No. 1 for millennial employee satisfaction by Modern Healthcare. The hospital also received a new accreditation from the federal government.
Davy said that in spite of the challenges provided in 2020 and the uncertainty of what lies ahead, he believes the future of the hospital will remain solid.
“Our finest hour is still in front of us, and I think a reminder, we have stood on the shoulders of giants to get to where we are in health care in this community, but also the remainder of the responsibility we have to hand the hospital off to the next generation even better than we found it,” he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic and fallout wasn’t far from minds on Saturday, and a moment was taken as a remembrance for those who had been impacted by the coronavirus.
And rather than an auction, the event posted ways to donate to the foundation, either by mailing a check to WVHCF, P.O. Box 53, Enterprise, OR 97828, or online at https://wchcd.ejoinme.org/hfda2020.