Linda Chastain has served as Chairperson of the Decatur County Hospital Board of Trustees since January 2017. As Linda ends her term as Chairperson, she reflected on successes and challenges we’ve seen during her tenure. The following is a letter from Linda.
“It’s been an honor, great fun, and often a real challenge during the last 4 years as Chair of your Decatur County Hospital Board of Trustees.
“During this time we have had many successes and a few tough situations, but our mission to ‘deliver exceptional care, close to home’ has served us well.
“The biggest challenge has been getting the right CEO in place who will successfully guide our hospital into the future. After a few short lived appointments, we believe we have found a great match in Mike Johnston, who is constantly reviewing the needs of our community, and driving the hospital vision to meet the needs of our patients.
“As a direct result of this, we have added 6 new Outpatient Clinic providers in the last 2 years, bringing our total to 15. The access to these specialty services close to home can save you the drive to “the big city.” We also constructed a home for our providers to stay in while they are here to serve our patients in Decatur County. This allows us to offer specialty services like Orthopedic Surgery, and others that are not readily available elsewhere in southern Iowa such as Neurology and Spine/Neck surgery. Because the providers can stay close to the hospital, we can offer these services multiple days each month.
“In order to serve our aging population, and meet their unique needs, we started the Senior Life Solutions program. This is a service geared toward our older population in need of socialization and other age-related services.
“For years our Community Health Needs Assessments (CHNA) have indicated the lack of affordable transportation to health care service providers. Our collaboration with the Community Health Centers of Southern Iowa and Decatur County Public Health now provides free van rides to health care appointments for Decatur County Residents. As of this publishing, we are approaching almost 2,000 rides since January 2020!
“We are the only emergency services provider in Decatur County. To better serve our population, we hired 6 dedicated ER providers within the last 2 years to ensure consistency, quality, and provider recognition when you visit the hospital. We also added state-of-the-art ambulances to our fleet to ensure our EMS crew members have the tools they need to provide emergency care.
“With all of these successes, we also saw our share of challenges. But with our resilient and dedicated staff, we are able to address them and adapt to the ever-changing world of rural health care.
“Perhaps the biggest story in all of our lives this year was Covid-19. Our administration and staff have addressed Covid-19 head on and have been in a prepared state since April. We have adapted our operations to safely keep our facility open to the public throughout the pandemic so we could continue to provide services to our patients and community. Kudos for our loyal, dedicated health care workers.
“I recently let the Board of Trustees know that I would not seek reelection for Chair when we elect new officers at the January meeting. While I will continue to serve on the Board as a trustee, I feel that the officer positions need to be rotated frequently. We have a very engaged and loyal Board of Trustees, any one of whom would willingly take on these roles and serve you well.
“I look forward to serving the remainder of my term on the Board, and would encourage any of you to consider running for a Board position whereby you could serve in keeping our local health care top notch.”
In recognition of Linda’s service to Decatur County Hospital, CEO Mike Johnston said, “I want to thank Linda Chastain for her dedicated service to the Decatur County Hospital Board of Trustees. In her time not only as Board member, but also in her tenure as Chairperson, Linda has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to this hospital, its employees, and the community as a whole. This attitude, also reflective of each one of our Board members, consistently enables DCH to navigate the myriad challenges facing hospitals today and, more importantly, has allowed us to grow Decatur County Hospital into a modern health care facility well positioned to meet the needs of our community.”
All the providers, employees, and Board of Trustees members of Decatur County Hospital thank Linda for all her service as Chairperson for the last 4 years. Thank you, Linda!