The word “hospital” sometimes conjures up dread of negative things – sickness, accidents, emergencies, and, yes, death. Sometimes we even dread going there because it means we are visiting a sick or dying friend or family member.
But a hospital is many things. It also represents the health of a community, prevention of sickness, and during an emergency, often survival.
We were thinking about hospital services the other day as we attended a meeting of Baptist Memorial Hospital-Union County’s citizens advisory board.
It’s a group of people that gets together quarterly at the hospital’s invitation to hear about accomplishments, challenges and opportunities at the hospital. Board members also sometimes offer their opinions and ideas about hospital services.
Anyhow, what struck us was a review of Baptist Hospital’s community outreach services. Many of the services are free and others have a very minimal charge.
The printed list of activities for the past year consumed three single-spaced pages. It included everything from breastfeeding and childbirth classes to tobacco cessation programs and health screenings. Just in the past couple of weeks the hospital has sponsored a Baby Fair, a Community Health Fair and a Breast Cancer Luncheon.
Lots of people at the hospital, as well as community volunteers, help with the activities. They’re part of the hospital’s outreach programs, which are organized by Nancy Kidd, director of marketing and physician relations.
The programs, an important community asset, are a reminder of how fortunate we are to have a quality, responsible non-profit hospital in a city our size. Baptist puts its focus on community health, not profit.