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Published on May 15, 2013

Celebrating National Hospital and Nursing Home Weeks

By Pamela J. Rezac, Ed.D.
President & CEO
Avera Sacred Heart Hospital

This week marks National Hospital Week and National Nursing Home Week. We are paying tribute to the pride, professionalism and people of health care and long term care with the slogans “A Guiding Light for Changing Times” and “Team Care: Everyone Pitches In,” respectively. As most people are aware, these are changing times for health care. Avera Sacred Heart Hospital is following the trends and staying out in front of the changes brought on by the Affordable Care Act and the many other forces in health care, such as new technology and aspects of patient- and resident-centered care.

Although these weeks in and of themselves are cause for celebration, I observe outstanding care and service that deserves recognition day in and day out at Avera Sacred Heart. America’s hospitals play a unique role in our health care system. The care and safe haven that hospitals provide 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is a major contributing factor in fostering the health and well being of the community and region. Community full-service hospitals and their staffs stand ready, around the clock, to provide a full spectrum of high quality, compassionate care, to respond to disasters and pandemic disease, and to care for all regardless of their ability to pay. Whether it’s emergency, curative or preventative care, full-service community hospitals exist to meet everyone’s needs.

In addition to improving the health of the community, hospitals throughout the nation are large employers within a community. This brings economic benefits to these communities. In Yankton, Avera Sacred Heart Hospital is the largest employer in the Yankton region with more than 1,200 employees and a payroll and benefits of approximately $57 million. That is a tremendous economic impact on the Yankton community and region.

The celebration of National Hospital Week (NHW) began in 1921 when a magazine editor suggested that more information about hospitals might alleviate public fears about the “shrouded” institutions of the day. From that beginning, Hospital Week expanded to facilities across the nation. Today, National Hospital Week has grown into the nation's largest health care event.

May is a busy month for health care recognitions as we have also been celebrating National Nurses Week (May 6-12).

Health care plays a vital role in every community. Here in Yankton we are truly fortunate to have the very finest health care available - from physicians, to nurses, to technicians, to support staff – Yankton holds a true treasure of health care services.