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A rural hospital making big moves

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | July 23, 2021
From the July 2021 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine


This series of four photographs document some of the expansion progress taking place at Fairfield Memorial, which came underway in 2020.
HCB News: When you were a nurse, did you experience situations where you weren’t empowered in that position and is that something that’s informed your role as CEO?
KB: I’ve been in the nursing profession going on almost 42 years. In my early career, I absolutely experienced that. I experienced it from both male and female physicians. You have to realize, back in the late 70s, it was rare to see females as physicians. So when they came out of their residencies, they were looking to establish equality with their male peers. Unfortunately, in order to do that, some of the other team members such as nurses, lab personnel, radiology … might intersect with that fight for equality they were having. So it wasn’t just the male physicians who were domineering. But that has changed. I’m so grateful for our medical staff we have here. Our surgeons, our specialists, they are now working completely integrated with the team concept at Fairfield. I’d like to say I had a hand in that, but I think the evolution of healthcare, the culture of taking care of people who are ill, vulnerable … physicians now realize they may still be the captain of the ship, but they can’t do everything without the support of the whole team. I’m grateful for their ability to adapt and allow others to have a voice at the table when it comes to decision-making and what’s in the patient’s best interest.

HCB News: So I initially reached out after hearing about Fairfield’s expansion. How long has the $20 to $24 million expansion been planned?
This series of four photographs document some of the expansion progress taking place at Fairfield Memorial, which came underway in 2020.
KB: We started working on those plans back in 2018. We broke ground in November of 2019 and started building in January the following year. And then the pandemic hit. We had to sit down as a group and discuss how we weren’t sure what was going to happen over the next several months, how we were barely into the project and we needed to determine what to do. The bottom line is, we’re building this expansion for better access to our patients, to bring in more specialists so those in our community don’t have to drive long distances for specialty care and those things have not changed. Ultimately, there was no new decision to make — we continue to get the expansion completed.

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