Two Boards, One Vision: Exceptional community health care for all
Special to The Union
Meet the Board and President of Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital
Monty East, Board Chair
Alex Klistoff, MD, Vice Chair
Nancy Guerland, Secretary
Stacy Fore, DDS
Andrew Chang, MD
Brian Evans, MD, SNMH President and CEO
Meet the Board and Executive Director of SNMH Foundation
Gil Mathew, Board President
Mary Bitle, Vice President
David Jones, Treasurer
Barbara DeGraw, Secretary
Sean Metroka, Immediate Past President
Denis Drew, MD
Brian Evans, MD
Greg Vixie, DDS
Kimberly Parker, CFRE, Executive Director
It often surprises people to hear that Dignity Health Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital has been a 501(c)3 nonprofit since it opened its doors in 1958. SNMH is not only the largest employer in Nevada County, it is also the largest nonprofit.
SNMH is your community hospital. Our journey began together when a group of local physicians, community leaders and mining industry representatives with shared values aligned with a common goal – to ensure our community had quality health care. It was their vision, volunteer time and donated dollars that built our hospital.
In 1984, the community came together once again to form Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital Foundation. Also a nonprofit, SNMHF focused on providing philanthropic support for SNMH to advance services that improve the health or our community.
In the mid 90’s, Sierra Nevada Memorial Hospital’s Board of Directors voted to affiliate with the Mercy Healthcare system in Sacramento and later with Catholic Healthcare West (renamed in 2013 Dignity Health). This year, Dignity Health aligned with Catholic Health Initiatives to become CommonSpirit Health, the largest nonprofit health care system in the country.
As an affiliate, SNMH retains a local Board of Directors. Affiliation offers an opportunity for shared knowledge – local connections that help us understand the specific needs of our community and national leadership offering opportunities for sharing of best practices. Together we are part of a system that is mission driven with a focus on humankindness.
In the very early years, the two boards worked diligently, but did not interface with each other very much. Their roles were very specific, with the SNMH Board focusing on quality, strategy and fiduciary responsibilities and the SNMHF Board focusing on philanthropy, community outreach and education.
While the focuses were different for each board, the ultimate goal of ensuring a strong and vibrant hospital for our community was the same. These boards were instrumental in significant achievements that have had a profound impact on how health care is delivered in our community.
The first really large project that brought the two together was the fundraising and construction for the Outpatient/Cancer Center Building. The SNMH Board, along with Dr. Bill Newsom, brought cancer services onto our campus. Today, the Cancer Center is nationally accredited as a Regional Cancer Institute. The fundraising by SNMHF for that project was critical and was led by Executive Director at the time Pamela Comstock and Campaign Chair John Casey.
Working together the boards accomplished so much over the years. In 2005, the Diagnostic Imaging Center was opened. Many other projects followed, including a new Infusion Center and a transformation of the Emergency and Inpatient Diagnostic Imaging Departments that will be completed this year.
Current Board Chair Monty East reflects on the reasons he joined the Hospital Board.
“I believe every community needs a great hospital and education system. SNMH is an excellent hospital. My family has used it, I’ve used it,” commented East. “Being a part of the decision making and working with the clinical staff and the board has meant a lot to me because I believe our ability to provide quality, safe, medical care makes a big difference to the people that choose to live here.”
Gil Mathew, Board President of SNMHF shared, “The work of the Hospital Foundation grabbed me almost immediately. I worked very closely on the campaign to become nationally certified as a Primary Stroke Center. Seeing how that impacted critical care for citizens in our community fed my soul.”
Mathew and East share the belief that the community is best served because the two boards are aligned around mission, vision, and values.
“I look forward to working collaboratively in an environment where new ideas and ways to efficiently care for the medical needs of the community are considered,” East said. “I am also enthusiastic about working with SNMHF and their board of professionals because what they do is essential in the scheme of things for giving the best care for this community.”
“A vigorous collaboration between the Hospital Board and the SNMH Foundation Board is critically important because the work of each is very different therefore so much more can be accomplished,” Mathew reflects. “Working closely we’ve funded projects that might not have happened or happened so quickly. Our recent grant award for a primary care residency program is a great example of how SNMH leadership, the boards, and physicians are all working together to provide for the current and future health care needs of our community. I am really energized and excited for this next year.”
Serving on these boards is a tremendous commitment of time, talent and resources. These volunteers are heroes. The dedication and heart they bring to the work they do, especially in a difficult health care environment, is truly appreciated.
The lives of western Nevada County residents are enriched today because of the generations of volunteers, board members and staff that dedicated themselves to providing the finest health services to our community.
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