New hospital construction focus of annual meeting
By Daniel Arens
It was almost as if you could hear the sound of construction teams at work around the hospital building from the distant city hall, with all of the emphasis and excitement about the new hospital overshadowing the ordinary business that consumes time at company annual board meetings.
Over the course of the hour-long meeting, several people addressed the new Sakakawea Medical Center (SMC) hospital project. SMC Board of Directors President Christie Obenauer thanked the numerous staff, board members, foundation members, management team, and construction workers who have been working together after the project’s site work officially began in August and the groundbreaking ceremony in mid-October.
“This is a great crowd,” Obenauer said, adding that she hopes it is “an extension of the energy I felt at the groundbreaking.”
SMC CEO Darrold Bertsch gave the financial report, noting $11.2 million in assets and a substantial increase in net assets. Bertsch noted that, in general, critical access hospitals in the state are having decreases in assets, highlighting the strong position SMC is in.
Bertsch said that a vibrant hospital is important for the overall economic growth of a community, with the salaries, wages, and benefits provided being spent here in the community.
In addition to the financial report, Bertsch gave the attendees an overview of the layout of the new hospital complex upon completion.
Chief of Staff Jacinta Klindworth gave a report on the medical staff, complimenting the strong working relationship between Coal Country Community Health Center (CCCHC), Beulah, and SMC. She recognized the medical staff, which had almost a 100 percent attendance at the meeting.
Klindworth stated that, in the face of the large changes coming to SMC, the goal of the hospital is to “continue to provide quality service and care, now and for generations to come.”
SMC Foundation President Duane Pfliger gave a report on various projects and events the foundation was involved in in the community, including Giving Hearts Day and a student loan program. He said one priority of the foundation is to assist in acquiring needed technology for the hospital.