May 13, 2011

BRMC Celebrates Donors

Donors make it possible for Baxter Regional Medical Center to provide quality care and to continue giving that care to the community. Thatand#39;s the message given Thursday night as BRMC honored its supporters and announced $3 million in gifts to the hospital.

"You," said BRMC President and CEO Ron Peterson, "are the people who brighten the future of Baxter Regional Medical Center."

Peterson noted how 65 people attended the first appreciation banquet 10 years ago, and how Thursday night more than 400 people were gathered at the Vada Sheid Community Development Center.

Randall Drake, who chairs the BRMC Foundationand#39;s Planned Giving Committee, introduced Rick and Pam Fairlamb, who have made a $1.2 million gift to the hospital. The Fairlambs are hospital volunteers and have been active in many community activities. He is a former chief of the Clarkridge Volunteer Fire Department.

In a news release, the Fairlambs said having good medical care available was a factor in their decision to move to the Twin Lakes Area in 1998. As they volunteered at BRMC, they saw firsthand the quality of the employees and leadership there, according to the release.

The couple received a standing ovation as they came forward for a presentation recognizing their gift. The BRMC Auxiliary -- 630 volunteers strong, according to Barney Larry, executive director of the BRMC Foundation -- provided another million dollars for the hospital. Larry said that in 2005, the auxiliary launched a drive to create a $1 million endowment to BRMC. Now established, the endowment contains $1,152,000.33, said Larry.

Members of the 2005 Auxiliary board and subsequent boards took the stage as the Auxiliary was honored for reaching its goal. The gift will remain in perpetuity, and the interest will continue to fund BRMC needs each year through the Auxiliary.

"This will last forever," Larry told the audience. John Dyess, chairman of the BRMC Foundation's Major Gifts Committee, presented $750,000 to Peterson and BRMC Board Chairman Clark Fletcher. The money was raised through the Adopt-A-Room campaign to remodel the 2 West wing of the hospital. A similar campaign had financed remodeling of 3 West.

Peterson praised the donors and the community for supporting BRMC. Itand#39;s due to such support that BRMC has been able to do $2.5 million in recent remodeling and improvements. Thanks to them, said Peterson, the hospital has helped 500 people through scholarships and financial support to earn degrees and advanced degrees. In other words, he said, they provided jobs and careers for 500 people. Despite facing Medicare cuts -- $40 million through 10 years -- BRMC is able to continue providing quality medical care and service, said Peterson. "There is more work to be done, more people to be treated, and more people to be saved," Peterson said.

Fletcher told the audience that among Arkansas hospitals, BRMC ranks in the upper quadrant for the quality of care, yet is in the lowest quadrant in Medicare reimbursement. Theoretically, a hospital canand#39;t provide such care on Medicare, Medicaid and other reimbursements alone, he said. But BRMC does, and Fletcher cited three factors:

  • A medical community that works hard and efficiently.
  • A volunteer organization he dubbed "the yellow-shirt army." "There's nothing as strong as the heart and spirit of a volunteer," said Fletcher.
  • Donors who entrust their assets to BRMC, "and they expect good things to be done with them."

"Even with the cuts in Medicare, we are providing quality medicine," said Fletcher.

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