Lawrence Memorial Hospital officials will host a gathering Friday to recognize and thank approximately 1,300 individuals who have made contributions to the hospital's $45 million expansion project.
The project is on schedule and is due to be completed in 2009. All of the hospital's semi-private rooms will be converted to private rooms for a total of 173 rooms, and there will be new and expanded emergency room facilities with greater privacy for those using that service. The project also includes new operating rooms, expanded and improved obstetrics rooms, expanded and improved intensive care rooms and many other improvements.
Ground was broken for the project in August 2006, and those attending next Friday's event will be given tours of the new parts of the hospital that have been completed.
The original goal for private giving to the LMH campaign was $5 million. That target was topped, and those in charge of the drive raised the goal to a very-challenging $8 million. Private contributions currently total between $7 million and $8 million.
Some might suggest the drive did not hit its goal, but it did surpass the original $5 million figure by at least $2 million and perhaps eventually will meet the revised $8 million goal. For example, the current sale of personalized bricks to be placed at the hospital's entrance has gone well. In addition to outright gifts, it is understood the capital campaign has revived interest in planned giving among a number of people interested in the hospital.
Congratulations and thanks to all those who made contributions and to the many volunteers who helped make the drive such a success.
Hospital President and CEO Gene Meyer marks his 10th anniversary this week as head of the hospital. By most every measure, the facility and its services are far better today than when he arrived in Lawrence. The morale of hospital employees is much improved.
The hospital has seen a substantial increase in the number of patients, which has risen by 40 percent in the past six years. In addition to the larger number of patients, the hospital also is serving a wider geographic area. Numbers and totals aside, the new hospital is sure to provide patients a higher level of care. Competition for doctors, particularly good doctors, is intense and a new, enlarged hospital will be an excellent recruiting tool.
Good doctors have their choice of many communities and many hospitals, and LMH officials are eager to attract the best possible doctors. Many factors play into a highly trained physician's choice of Hospital X or Hospital Z, but Lawrence residents have reason to be pleased with the excellence of the doctors who have decided to make Lawrence their home.
LMH is not going to duplicate the Cleveland Clinic or Mayo Clinic, but its leaders do want to make it a top-flight regional medical facility offering first-class medical care.
The quality of health care is an important factor in the quality of a community. This has been true in the past and is bound to be even more important in the years to come. More than 70 million baby boomers will reach their retirement years within the next four to seven years. Here in Lawrence, the average age of residents is bound to rise. Older people need more medical attention, and the quality of care offered here will be a major factor in whether Lawrence is attractive to those deciding where to spend their retirement years.
The current hospital project will be good for Lawrence and its residents in many ways, but it would be a mistake to think the city can coast on the current health care facilities and services. The newly renovated 173-room LMH will accommodate the needs of today's Lawrence, but if the city continues to grow, there will be a need for a larger hospital and more good doctors.
Lawrence residents have every reason to be pleased with the quality of care offered at LMH and the likelihood that the new hospital will play an even greater role in making Lawrence an even better community.