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MMH kicks off National Hospital and Nurses Week

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MASSENA - Massena Memorial Hospital kicked off National Hospital and Nurses Week on Monday at a time when the when the future of the facility is in flux.

The hospital’s Board of Managers has recommended that Massena Memorial Hospital become a not-for-profit facility, and that decision is now in the hands of the Massena Town Council.

“This is not about what the town board wants, it’s not about what the hospital wants, it’s not about what the unions want or the employees want. It’s about keeping our hospital, keeping our hospital open and operating, and providing the services we need in the community,” Town Supervisor Joseph D. Gray told those who attended the kickoff reception for National Hospital and Nurses Week Monday morning.

He said discussions have been planned for “the next few weeks” to talk about the future of the hospital.

“We’ll agree on some things, we’ll disagree on some things. It may not always appear to be real friendly and nice. We’re going to do what’s best for our hospital and for our community,” Mr. Gray said.

For now, Monday’s reception was a time to recognize hospital employees and thank them for their service.

Among those recognized was Lois Badger, who was named as Auxilian of the Year by the Massena Memorial Hospital Auxiliary.

President Kay Romeo described Ms. Badger as “a very important person to us and the community,” with her service to the auxiliary since 2003, as well as her work with her church, Massena Meals on Wheels, Back the Pack and other organizations.

“Whenever we ask, she shows up. She’s witty, compassionate and caring,” Ms. Romeo said.

In accepting the award, Ms. Badger said she could think of at least 10 other individuals who were more deserving of the award.

“I accept this award on behalf of my fellow auxilians,” she said.

Ms. Romeo said she and other members of the auxiliary appreciated the support they’ve had at the hospital as they work to raise money to benefit the facility. They were able to raise more than $18,000 last year.

“The auxiliary appreciates all of the hospital employees for all that you do for us. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to do this,” she said.

Chief Nurse Executive Sue Beaulieu also announced other award winners on Monday - the Hershey Kiss Award, which went to Aimee Raymonda, and Nurse of Distinction, which went to Bonnie Weitz.

The Hershey Kiss Award is given to a person who “makes coming to work fun,” she said, noting they had six nominees.

The Nurse of Distinction recognition goes to a person for their professionalism, reliability and positive attitude. They had 12 nominees, according to Ms. Beaulieu.

“The candidates (for Nurse of Distinction) were all strong candidates. The senior staff had a difficult time selecting our nominee,” she said.

Ms. Weitz, who had been in the nursing profession for 50 years, said she didn’t expect to hear her name called.

“I’m completely surprised and overwhelmed,” she said. “It has been a very, very fun 50 years of nursing.”

She said she’ll be “leaving MMH with sadness” on June 27.

“But I will come back to visit. I promise,” Ms. Weitz said.

Massena Memorial Hospital Chief Executive Officer Charles F. Fahd II said Monday was a day to thank all of the hospital’s 425 employees for their commitment to health care in the community.

“Now more than ever our hospitals play a vital role in providing community health care across the nation, and the care that we provide goes far beyond in-patient care,” he said, noting that “a significant portion” of care provided by the hospital and revenue it receives is from outpatient services such as radiology, physical therapy, respiratory care and the hospital’s clinics.

Like other hospitals, Mr. Fahd said, some of those services will be uncompensated.

“Did you know that in one week hospitals in the U.S. will provide $883 million of uncompensated care? MMH will provide about $40,000 of uncompensated care this week alone,” he said.

He also made some other comparisons.

“Did you know that we will deliver 71,000 babies this week throughout the U.S.? MMH will deliver about six of them. Did you know that hospitals in the United States will perform 550,000 surgeries this week? MMH will do about 45 of those. Did you know that 662 patients a week are admitted to our hospitals, and MMH will admit about 55 of those patients?” he said.

All together, Mr. Fahd said, 2.6 million patients go to 5,000 hospitals in the United States - including Massena Memorial Hospital - each week.

“Day in and day out we support the health of our community through the compassionate are and the innovations that we provide and the unwavering and unmatched dedication of our 425 employees,” he said.

“The hospital’s successes can be measured by the dedicated staff and practitioners that work on a daily basis to offer excellent health care and services to the community,” MMH Board of Managers Chair Tina Buckley said. “Today is a day to celebrate our hospital and all who contribute to it. Thank you all for your hard work and dedication to our community.”

“I think the Massena hospital is second to none, certainly in the this state, as far as I’m concerned,” Mayor James F. Hidy said.

Mark Brouillette, senior director of ancillary services, called National Hospital Week “a celebration of our employees. We are extremely proud of each member of our staff and we recognize the important role they play in providing health care services to our patients and the communities we serve.”

He said MMH employees “truly provide compassionate patient care and are dedicated to their specific professions, allowing MMH to provide quality patient care in our unique, innovate approach.”

Mr. Brouillette said their goal was to make MMH “the hospital where patients want to come, employees want to work, volunteers want to participate, (and) doctors and licensed health care professionals want to practice.”

National Hospital and Nurses Week will wrap up on Friday with the 25th annual Massena Memorial Hospital radiothon from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. in the hospital cafeteria. MMH Foundation President Miriam S. Catapano said they had more than $26,000 in donated items to bid on as they look to raise $34,000 to purchase equipment for the emergency and physical therapy departments.

She said the MMH Foundation recognizes the importance of having a hospital in the community.

“To that end, the MMH Foundation has been providing financial support to Massena Memorial Hospital with fundraising activities,” including the annual radiothon, she said.

With funds raised, Ms. Catapano said, they can provide money to the hospital to upgrade to new equipment, a task she said would otherwise be impossible.

“The Foundation also proudly supports advanced training and education of our hospital staff,” she said.

Mr. Fahd said the radiothon should be a busy day.

“There are least 200 items that are going up for auction during the day,” he said.




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