Day Kimball Healthcare (DKH) held its annual meeting of the corporators at the Mansion at Bald Hill on Wednesday, February 13. Each year’s meeting invites DKH’s corporators together to reflect on organizational achievements from the past fiscal year.
At this year’s meeting, DKH had something special to celebrate – its 125th anniversary of providing high quality, compassionate care to the residents of Northeast CT. DKH also celebrated and recognized 36 corporators who have dedicated 25 years or more to the organization.
On September 1, 1894, Day Kimball Hospital of Windham County’s doors opened; founded for the community, by the community. Now, 125 years later, the hospital continues to thrive with the same spirit of community support that led to its founding. The support of its corporators remains a significant component in DKH’s ability to maintain and grow its services and to provide care to those in need.
“It’s an honor to be part of DKH’s history; to listen to the experiences from our staff and physicians who have served our community, and from the patients who have trusted us with their health care for generations,” said DKH President and CEO Anne Diamond.
DKH’s historical evolution – its story of expanding to meet the needs of the community despite the changing healthcare landscape – was the focus of the meeting. More than 138 attendees engaged in memorable conversations over vintage photographs documenting more than a century of history at DKH.
Diamond took attendees back in time to a vastly different world of healthcare in 1894 – when there was no hot water in the operating room if the laundry was running and when there was just one bedpan sterilizer in the entire hospital – to present day, where DKH is at the forefront of a health care trend that is bringing more resources locally.
“DKH has made significant advancements over the years with doctors treating patients who likely would have died from their conditions in the past. Technology has been a huge factor in improving standards of care over the past century. The quality, the expertise, and the new procedures that we’re able to do in this community today is significant compared to where we were over the last 125 years.”
Diamond spoke to DKH’s multi-year strategic plan, a guidepost for the organization to reach new milestones and achievements that define its next great era. “It’s built on a simple, but power premise: to redefine what it means to be a community hospital,” Diamond said.
In her remarks, Diamond reported on a year of broad and significant progress towards meeting goals within the strategic plan; stabilizing DKH’s financial performance and bringing cutting edge medicine to its patients in its 2018 fiscal year.
Accomplishments from the year included several national awards and recognitions for excellence in clinical care, patient safety, and patient experience; recruitment of new experts to better meet the region’s needs while building a critical mass of services across the full continuum of care including new OB/GYNs, a psychiatrist, urologist, new director of emergency medicine, a pediatrician, and several primary care doctors; expansion of access to existing services; and investments in next generation technologies from 3-D mammography to digital mobile x-ray systems, ergonomic ultrasound machines, and more.
In its annual report, DKH reported a major financial turnaround for fiscal year 2018. The health system elevated its financial performance from a $6.2 million dollar deficit in 2017 to a posted total revenue exceeding $138 million, ending the year in black by $557,673.
A driving factor that contributed to significant financial and operational improvements across the organization was growth in patient volume in several of DKH’s clinical services, posting a total revenue increase of $7.1 million. In addition, total operating expenses, when factoring out the significant increase in the state revenue tax, were reduce year over year by $593,000.
“We will continue to optimize our performance and grow responsibly which is essential in funding our organization’s guiding mission and ensuring we remain our region’s distinguished partner in health and wellness today and tomorrow,” Diamond said.
At the meeting, DKH Medical Staff President Michael Baum, MD reflected on the many physicians who have come through the doors at DKH. “Throughout the course of DKH’s 125 year development there are 75 physicians who have been on the medical staff for over 25 years. Interestingly, nearly one third of those physicians are still practicing. This demonstrates that we have an experienced and seasoned medical staff,” said Dr. Baum.
Dr. Baum went on to explain that the 75 physicians’ photos line the wall of the Overlock wing at the Hospital, named in honor of Dr. Seldom Burden Overlock who joined the medical staff in 1894. He practiced medicine and surgery for 40 years and was the first chief of surgery and president of the medical staff. His most lasting legacies were his gifts to DKH of $5,000 for instruments and equipment in the operating room. The bulk of his estate went to the hospital for future additions and reconstructions using modern materials. “Over the years the value of his legacy grew to well over 1.5 million dollars and we continue to make use of these funds today,” Baum said.
“125 years have passed since our humble beginnings on Bolles Street in Putnam. Over the years, strides in medical science beckoned and as history shows, we have been the foundation for the Northeast CT community. We continue to build upon the foundation that was laid for us. We’ve always been here, we always will be here,” Diamond said.
The corporators approved a new mission and vision for the healthcare system at the meeting. In his remarks, Board Chairman Joseph Adiletta reflected on the founding vision of DKH. “125 years ago, Elizabeth and Gertrude Vinton had a vision for healthcare services in Windham County. With the support of Mrs. M. Day Kimball, the Kimball family, and the community, that vision became a reality as Day Kimball Hospital. Tonight we celebrate their vision even as we, now, approve our own vision for the future of DKH: to be the premier regional health system creating excellence and innovation in patient care.”
As testament to the dedication of DKH’s team, the evening concluded with the naming of DKH’s 2018 Employee of the Year recipient, Michelle Gardner, Intake and Outreach Coordinator for Day Kimball HomeMakers.
All of the 2018 Employees of the Month were recognized at the meeting: Lindsay Ferrer, radiologic technologist at Day Kimball Hospital; Matthew Kenney, occupational therapist at Day Kimball Healthcare Center in Plainfield; Heather Gormley, phlebotomist at Day Kimball Healthcare; Jennifer LeClair, night cook at Day Kimball Hospital; Jessica Provencher, RN at Day Kimball Hospital; Jillian Mancini, staff pharmacist at Day Kimball Hospital; Stacey Jones, lead phlebotomist at Day Kimball Healthcare; Michelle Dickinson, RN, operating room charge nurse at Day Kimball Hospital; Chris Lavallee, education training assistant at Day Kimball Healthcare; Sherry Fitzgerald, nutritional services at Day Kimball Healthcare; and Leslie Taylor, phlebotomist at Day Kimball Healthcare.
To learn more about other highlights and achievements from DKH’s 2018 fiscal year, view Day Kimball Healthcare’s annual report at daykimball.org.
PHOTO CAPTION: DKH Board of Directors pictured after approving new mission and vision of Day Kimball Healthcare at the annual meeting of the corporators held at the Mansion at Bald Hill on Wednesday, February 13.