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Auxiliary doubles as hospital’s heart

The heart is one of our body’s most vital organs. Without it pumping blood to sustain the other organs, we cease to be.

That’s the scenario volunteers at Boulder City Hospital are faced with daily as they provide vital services to the health care facility.

While no one truly expects the hospital to disappear from the community, its volunteers provide the heart it needs to sustain several areas of operation and keep things humming along.

At least that is what members of the Boulder City Hospital Auxiliary were told by CEO Tom Maher at their annual lunch last week.

“You are the heart of the hospital in our community,” he told the women and men attending the luncheon while thanking them for their service.

Members of the group work in the hospital’s long-term care center, operate the gift shop, help out with various administrative tasks and raise funds for much-needed equipment and extras at the hospital. Last year, the auxiliary donated $18,103, including its purchase of a centrifuge, hot food counter, WiFi system and wheelchairs for the hospital.

While their roles are critical to the hospital’s success, the volunteers are happy just to lend a helping hand. Some have served for there decades, and one woman was lamenting that her deteriorating health was preventing her from doing what she loved — working in the gift shop.

But just as a body cannot exist without a heart, a heart cannot survive without the body it needs to serve. Fortunately for the auxiliary members, Maher was pleased to report that despite many years of struggling, the hospital is in good financial health and well on its way to a full recovery.

According to Maher, 2014 was the first profitable year this century, and since 1998, for the medical facility. With a bit of intervention from the federal government, along with the addition of a new geriatric psychiatric unit, the hospital was able to restructure its debt and begin to rebound.

They also have expanded the full-service emergency room and reopened a surgical center.

As with a person recovering from a major illness, the hospital still has some work to do, Maher said.

Since the surgery center was closed for five years, “we lost a lot of doctors doing regular procedures,” and the administrative team has been struggling with a new electronic health recording system and how it processes and collects bills.

He said they are making progress, but is counting on the volunteers to help get the word about about the hospital and its services. And there are countless more projects that need to be done to keep the facility healthy and up-to-date.

“We need to present a message to the community that help is still needed,” he told the auxiliary members.

He has no doubt they will succeed. They are, as he said, all heart.

Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at hsaylor@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.

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