Take care of the community, and it will take care of you.
This is the lesson Jeremy Ensey is learning as CEO of St. Luke Hospital. It hasn’t been a hard lesson — rather, just the opposite. As his facility prepares to roll out its fifth new program of this calendar year in a couple of months, it’s getting thank-yous in the form of a $20,000 donation from St. Luke Hospital Auxiliary that allows it to complete a project it hadn’t even budgeted for.
The donation will go to help remodel the radiology area, to give a modern styling that’s cohesive with the aesthetic of the rest of the hospital. That’s just the latest contribution the auxiliary has made. It’s also helped the hospital purchase equipment, such as a machine to monitor patient vital signs in the physician clinic.
With the help from the auxiliary, Ensey is able to focus on furthering the mission of the hospital: To provide the best care possible for those in the community.
Lately, it’s been the final three words of that mission that have been stressed: In the community.
“All the services that we are trying to implement are to try to keep our patients from having to drive outside the county,” Ensey said.
Avera’s eMergency tele-medicine service is able to bring in emergency care expertise “in 10 seconds,” as nursing director and program overseer Gail Boaldin told the newspaper in May when the program was announced.
St. Luke also added sleep studies to its arsenal, so people snoring excessively at night or having trouble staying awake through the day can be monitored over the course of a night’s sleep and learn of any harmful patterns detected.
A wound care clinic, opened in August, treats chronic, nonhealing wounds with the help of Wound Care Specialists, a Louisiana-based group.
This week, Ensey said, St. Luke signed a contract with Vigilias, a tele-medicine company, to provide endocrinology services to patients over online video chat.
“Patients would come in, they would still see a nurse, just like they would normally. Then they would see a physician via computer screen, and they can talk with them and discuss their issues,” he said. “They even have a stethoscope they can plug into, so the physician can still listen to a patient’s heart and lungs.”
St. Luke also added a rheumatologist, Dr. Shashank Radadiya, who will see patients on the second Friday of each month.
The auxiliary, meanwhile, keeps working and being rewarded for it. By selling charitable donations from the community, the auxiliary has been bringing in about $7,000 a month before expenses and taxes. The Hospital Auxiliaries of Kansas recently awarded the group with a Gold Award, which president Lenore Dieter said is the highest distinction an auxiliary can earn.
“We have such fine people volunteer here,” Dieter said. “They’re very conscientious and very capable.”
And very plentiful. Ensey said about 150 people make up the small army of volunteer members that keep the lights on every Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, when the auxiliary at 321 E. Main St. opens its doors.
Though, of course, most of the volunteers’ time is put in when those doors are closed.
“It takes a lot of planning,” Ensey said. “Those guys and ladies, they put a lot of hours into planning, making sure spots are filled, and time slots are covered.
“I can’t say enough about the auxiliary group. They’re always improving, coming up with more ideas on how to improve their store and make it better.”