Importance of health care featured at community leadership luncheon

Importance of health care featured at community leadership luncheon The Dakota Hospital Association & Foundation Builders Club Community Leadership Luncheon, held June 5 at the Coyote Student Center, featured the importance of health care and health professional education to Vermillion.

Mayor Roger Kozak, USD vice president, was the keynote speaker. Kozak reviewed the history of health care developments in Vermillion including the initiation of hospital services, the formation of the original Dakota Hospital Association which sponsored the community hospital facility at Main and Plum Streets and the key role the citizens and city have played in supporting the development of health facilities that serve the citizens of the Vermillion area.

Kozak reviewed the impact of changing demographics, an increasingly elderly population, and the growing demand for health care workers as reasons why the partnerships in Vermillion are so important involving Dakota Hospital Association & Foundation, Sioux Valley Hospitals & Health System and The University of South Dakota. Through these partnerships a comprehensive range of health and educational programs are available to address the needs resulting from these situations.

Kozak pointed to the doubling of Vermillion's medical staff in the last several years, the expansion of services and delivery of high quality care as positive indicators of how Vermillion has become a community medical center of its own serving a growing group of communities including our new neighbors in Nebraska.

John Paulson, Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center CEO, reported that the medical center had completed a positive year. It continued to see growth in the provision of services representing an increased opportunity for Vermillion area residents to be served close to home through the leadership and dedication of the local medical staff, board of the Dakota Hospital Association & Foundation (DHA&F) and the employees and department managers of Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center.

He also outlined the importance of the partnerships between DHA&F and Sioux Valley facility and medical staff development and the benefits of the Sioux Valley-USD partnership in regard to USD Health Science education programs, sports medicine, community health education and wellness and for promoting a stronger medical school in Vermillion and state wide.

Gene Lunn, president of the Dakota Hospital Association & Foundation Board of Directors, thanked the Builders Club members for their support and discussed the campus master facilities concept planning project that the board of directors had been conducting to plan and prioritize for future facility developments at the community medical center campus. These included improvements to the old Dakota Hospital building's mechanical systems to allow it to continue to serve the community as Rural Health Professional Training and Education Center and provide support space for the medical center.

This project is a current priority. He also described the planning being done concerning assisted living. Future expansion of clinic and outpatient areas, rehabilitation, pharmacy and other clinical and support services are also being considered in the facilities planning.

"I can't emphasize enough the importance of the community's involvement in our local health care. We greatly appreciate their participation in the Builders Club and involving themselves in the activities and special events sponsored by the Association and Sioux Valley Vermillion Medical Center throughout the year," Lunn said. "We have much to take pride in. Our excellent medical staff and health care personnel, our modern facilities, and growing service capabilities, together with our partnerships involving the association, university and Sioux Valley enable us to offer community health care at its best."

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