January 30, 2017
NORTON, Kan. – The Norton Regional Health Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that focuses on the importance of rural health and health care, has officially formed its Board of Directors. The Foundation's mission is "to support the enhancement of quality health care for the residents of Norton County and the surrounding counties by securing gifts and contributions for the support of the mission of Norton County Hospital.”
The Foundation, developed in late 2016, specifically looks to fund ways to meet the health care needs of regional communities and support projects of the Norton County Hospital and its clinics – Norton Medical Clinic and Logan Clinic, which will enable more opportunities for health care services locally, as well as economic stability and potential growth, according to the Foundation’s executive director Katie Allen.
“The health care industry is changing, and now more than ever it’s important for hospitals to find different avenues for financial support,” Allen said. “I see this Foundation as one of the ways Norton County Hospital can continue to add services and provide the best care possible for patients in the region. By supporting the hospital, we as a Foundation are supporting our family, friends and neighbors so they don’t have to travel long distances to receive quality health care. Likewise, we are supporting our local economy by keeping these services close to home.”
A January 2017 report by the Kansas Hospital Association titled “The Importance of the Health Care Sector to the Kansas Economy” stated that quality-of-life factors, such as health care services, play a dramatic role in business and industry location decisions. A strong health care system can help attract and maintain business and industry growth, attract and retain retirees, and create local jobs.
Therefore, health care entities including hospitals directly and indirectly support the local economy in terms of job opportunities, income distribution and retail sales. Further, the report said if a community wants to maintain accessible and affordable health care, it must work together – health care administrators working alongside government, business and civic leaders to find solutions to challenges unique to a specific area.
“I grew up in a rural area myself, in a town not quite the size of Norton,” Allen said. “Having family members who work in health care, I could see some of the rural health challenges – whether it’s recruiting and maintaining a qualified medical and support staff, or providing services so patients have the ability and confidence to visit the local clinic or hospital if needed. Norton County Hospital is trying hard to be a progressive rural hospital and face these and other challenges head on to benefit patients. I look forward to seeing how the Foundation and those who support it will be able to help.”
Allen added that she expects the Norton Regional Health Foundation to not only support projects within the walls of the hospital and clinics, but she hopes to build the Foundation so that it can also support health-related projects within regional communities themselves. She believes it is crucial to support healthy communities as well as enhance health care services.
In addition to serving as the Foundation’s executive director, Allen is also the Norton County Hospital’s communications director and a full-time employee of the hospital. The work of the Foundation, therefore, is housed within the Norton County Hospital, although the Foundation itself is a separate entity governed by its own Board of Directors. Each year, the hospital’s Board of Trustees votes to approve the Foundation’s voting directors.
Voting directors pictured include top row, left to right, Dennis Gilhousen, chair; Terry Nelson, vice chair; and Shad Chandler. Bottom row, left to right, is Jill Diane Edgett, secretary/treasurer and representative from the Norton County Hospital Board of Trustees; Karen Griffiths, representative from the Live Well Norton coalition; Jennifer Miller; and Phil Gottstine.
For more information about the Norton Regional Health Foundation, access the Foundation tab on the Norton County Hospital’s website.