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When Mee Memorial Hospital first opened its doors to southern county residents in 1962, astronaut John Glenn had just become the first American to orbit the Earth. The Dow Jones Industrial Average stood at around 652, the average income was just over $ 5,500, a gallon of gasoline cost 28 cents, and a one-year tuition at Harvard was $ 1,520.

And in a city formerly known as Hog Town, the population of King City in 1962 was about 3,000.

As we look back at 60 years of Mee Memorial, we realize that much has changed … although much remains the same. Sixty years later, it is still the only hospital less than 50 miles from the city, serving an area of ​​several thousand square miles. We still see the same union in our united community in southern Monterey County.

We continue to share the same spirit that inspired rancher Tom Mee to donate all proceeds from a cattle sale, more than $ 150,000, to help build a hospital named after his late father George L. Mee.

From the beginning, nothing seemed to stop this community from achieving its goals. Back in 1941, before World War II began, the first full hospital opened in King City thanks to the tenacity and dedication of a small group of doctors, led by Dr. LM Andrus.

The 22-bed single-story facility on Broadway (where True Value Hardware now stands) was known as Southern Monterey County Memorial Hospital. During its more than 20 years of existence, it has thrived as a small town hospital loved by its neighbors.

When Tom Mee’s generous donation surpassed the fundraising campaign, it launched us into the modern era, but we quickly surpassed that facility. The current hospital was built next to those facilities from the 1960s and was completed in 2001. In 2007 the second floor of the hospital was completed.

Today, it is the core of the Mee Memorial health system in southern Monterey County. Also included are four comprehensive medical clinics in King City and one in Greenfield.

The facility represents a state-of-the-art hospital and a specialized nursing facility that offers culturally sensitive and patient-centered care in our proud rural community.

With a collaborative team of hospital professionals and a progressive and responsive board of trustees, we have been able to expand our physician base, improve our technology and equipment, and promote the hospital and its numerous services.

How did all this happen? Through philanthropy, dedication and volunteering. Strong community support continues, led by a dedicated Services League, a valuable Board of Directors, and a committed Mee Memorial Foundation that over the decades has raised several million dollars for the hospital.

Due to cuts in funding for hospitals at the state and federal levels, many hospitals have struggled to get financial support. Every year our volunteers organize special events and organize fundraising activities. Over the years, they have raised millions for hospital-specific needs, from Heartstart defibrillators to floor polishers and even maintenance and upkeep of the Rose Garden Memorial.

That garden on the hospital grounds is a symbol of our community spirit. Anyone can buy a “rose forever,” a brick, or a commemorative bench to honor someone they love. Donations represent a “purchase forever,” with the name of the loved one living forever in the garden.

The Service League, volunteers, and hospital staff combine efforts to be part of something greater than themselves and serve a greater good. It takes a lot of work and dedication to operate a resilient, patient-centered, community-minded hospital in rural America.

Access to health services is critical for all, but we know that rural communities face a variety of barriers that negatively affect their overall state of physical, social, and mental health.

South Monterey County falls into this category. For 60 years (and counting) our proud hospital has played a vital role in providing quality care to patients they often do not meet.

It is comforting to know that Mee Memorial’s efforts do not go unnoticed. Late last year, the Lown Institute published a national ranking of socially responsible hospitals, and Mee scored the best in three main categories: health equity, pay equity, and community benefits. Only 75 hospitals in the country made the Lown Index Honor Roll by getting “A” marks in all three of these categories.

Earlier this year, the King City Chamber of Commerce and Agriculture named the Mee Memorial Healthcare System the King City Business of the Year 2021. The honor served as validation for the enormous efforts, in incredibly difficult circumstances, of all our employees and health volunteers.

It’s no secret that rural health is at a crossroads, and the ongoing pandemic has added another challenge.

But one thing is clear. Our community is resilient and there is a lot of pride and hope around us. Our friends and neighbors in southern county are together, supporting each other, and supporting Mee’s ongoing mission to provide “heart health care” to all of our valued citizens.

This has been the case for 60 years, and I am sure it will continue to be so in the future.

Guest Column | Happy Birthday to Mee! My How We’ve Grown Source link Guest Column | Happy Birthday to Mee! My How We’ve Grown

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