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April 27, 2010 > Thank you from your neighbors at Washington Hospital Healthcare System

Thank you from your neighbors at Washington Hospital Healthcare System

By Bernard Stewart, DDS, President, Washington Township Health Care District

Washington Hospital Healthcare System is honored to be recognized as Ohlone College Foundation's Citizen of the Year Awardees. In 1948, a group of citizens saw the need for a local hospital within what is today called Washington Township Health Care District. These devoted residents worked hard to raise funds and ten years later Washington Hospital opened its doors. That hospital has grown during the years to be much more than a hospital. It is made up of nearly 500 physicians on staff and hundreds of other team members who work day in and day out on behalf of our District's residents. We are a family of devoted community members committed to working to serve the health needs of our residents. This recognition honors everyone working so hard to fulfill our mission.

This past year has been an outstanding one for Washington Hospital Healthcare System. Washington Hospital served the residents of the District by providing rapid and life saving services to 48,175 patients in our emergency room, performing 4,369 surgeries, and our obstetrics unit had the privilege of welcoming 2,418 new members to this community and into the world.

Since Washington Hospital opened its doors to the community more than fifty year ago, we have taken pride in not only providing the highest quality care for our patients, but also in strengthening bonds with our neighbors--the people who live, study and work around us.

Last fall, we were proud to co-host an open house at the Ohlone College Student Health Center. The event was a celebration of our nearly fifteen-year partnership with the College that has made the center a reality and provided more than 170,000 students with critically needed care that was not previously available to them on campus.

This nearly 4,900 square foot clinic on the Ohlone campus is only one component of Washington Hospital's partnership with the College. We are also proud to have worked together on the development of the physical therapist assistant program, and the construction of the Richard M. Warren Nursing Skills Lab on the grounds of Washington Hospital. In fact, since 1996, the District has provided nearly $1.9 million in grants to the College. This includes a $1.75 million grant to help the Ohlone expand its nursing program to help fill a critical shortage of new nurses that will be needed to help care for our aging population.

Our commitment to mentoring and developing the next generation of health care workers is just as strong as our year-round efforts to reach out to the community. We see our role in Southern Alameda County as two-fold: to provide the best care available and to make sure that as many members of our community as possible have access and take advantage of it.

This spring, we are focusing on outreach to the low-income community, educating the public and offering services and clinics on women's health and cancer awareness. We will be holding a number of free workshops and screenings aimed at teaching about prevention and detection, and improving the overall health of our community.

Our Healthcare System is able to offer these programs to our neighbors because of success and a strong fiscal backbone. Our services and programs are paid for entirely by the revenue generated by our operations. We provide exceptional service to our community through programs such as our free health screenings, nursing scholarships through the Ohlone College nursing program, and more than $21 million per year in free medical treatment to this area. Our mobile health clinic-Washington on Wheels--brings free medical care to senior centers, schools and other community centers. All of this effort is aimed directly at improving our community's health and increasing our residents' access to necessary preventive medicine and care.

As the leader in our region on women's health, we are thrilled to be able to provide free breast cancer screenings for low-income residents who have no health insurance, thanks to the generosity of the Washington Hospital Healthcare Foundation. We also offer screenings for health problems such as diabetes and osteoporosis, as a community service at no charge.

For those diagnosed with cancer, there's no better place to receive care than Washington Hospital Healthcare System. In fact, the hospital's Community Cancer Program is just one of four programs in California to receive an Outstanding Achievement Award from the Commission on Cancer of the American College of Surgeons for the high level of care provided by the program.

Washington Hospital Healthcare System has been providing these sorts of award winning services, programs and care to the Fremont, Newark, Union City, Sunol and South Hayward communities since 1958, and has become an established leader in the fields of cardiac surgery and heart disease, stroke, women's health, breast cancer care, and non-invasive brain tumor treatment. We have been able to accomplish all of this, as an institution and a citizen, because of the dedication of those who work, volunteer and contribute to our success. This includes my fellow members of the board, administrators, the executive team, employees, medical staff as well as nurses.

As we humbly accept the Ohlone College Foundation's Citizen of the Year Award, we are more focused than ever on what is on the horizon. Washington Hospital's facilities are currently undergoing capital improvements that are largely funded through the proceeds of Measure FF, a general obligation bond approved by the residents of the District in 2004. The projects are necessary to improve our ability to meet our community's health care needs and to provide superior services.

We will soon be starting (in the near future - right? Since we are not starting for another year or so?) on a major expansion and renovation of our emergency room to make it state-of-the-art and have more capacity to care for our residents. All of our construction will incorporate new, cutting edge technologies that are intended to provide improved care for our patients and bring our facilities into seismic compliance so that we are able to better withstand the impacts of an earthquake and conform to new state mandated seismic standards. All of this construction will also be completed with a nod to the environment so that our environmental footprint will be reduced.

We do this as a good citizen, intent on service to this community. Washington Hospital Healthcare System accepts this award in recognition of the people who make this Healthcare System what it is.

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