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EPHRATA — A public hospital district needs community support to fulfill its mission of meeting the health needs of the community. That might be purchasing chairs, organizing volunteers or funding upgrades to medical equipment, says Susan Scheib, the hospital’s director of communications and development.

“The foundation actually came into being in 1982 from a donation of land,” says Scheib.

The property was sold and the money was divided among several 501(c)3 nonprofit organizations, she said. The Columbia Basin Hospital Foundation received about $10,000 in seed money and has been working to support the hospital ever since. To keep the foundation running and efforts to support the hospital, various members donate money. This includes general donations and donations to specific causes, depending on what makes the hospital attractive to the particular donor.

“Many of my donors are specifically focused on our assisted living facility at Garden Oasis because they had family there and were happy to donate money,” Scheib said.

Other specific donations include maintaining the roses outside the hospital’s entrance – a feature the hospital is known for – and equipment such as a new ventilator for the emergency department and an accessible bathtub for the hospital’s long-term care facility. The foundation is currently raising money to replace hospital beds that have reached the end of their expected lifespan through its Buy a Bed campaign.

“When I started here in 2006, a hospital bed cost $7,200. Life expectancy is 10 years,” Scheib said. “Now it costs $14,000 per bed and we want to fund 31 beds, so $434,000.”

So far, one bed has been fully funded, but Scheib is hoping for public support to ensure quality equipment is available to patients at Columbia Basin Hospital. Anyone wishing to donate can either contact Scheib at the hospital or visit https://bit.ly/CBHFBEDS.

The Columbia Basin Hospital Foundation board consists of seven positions, but Scheib said only four of them are currently filled. Retirements and the unexpected death of a member have reduced the board’s membership. She wants to fill those positions with residents from around the hospital district who care about health care and support the hospital’s mission of providing health care to residents in and around Ephrata, Soap Lake and Wilson Creek.

Board members represent the foundation in the community and contribute to its success, she said. The right person can really make a difference.

“You have to have a passion for health care and a passion for the hospital to be on the board,” Scheib said, adding that that doesn’t mean the person has to be just any medical professional.

Community events help the foundation with its mission. Scheib said she hopes to revive an old tradition of hosting murder mystery dinners that are a lot of fun, make donors laugh, and support a good cause at the same time. Once she has those plans, the information will be released. In the past, they have hosted a murder mystery dinner and partnered with local groups for various fundraisers.

For those who can’t donate or don’t want to contribute their time, there are many ways to get involved, she said. That could include reading to patients, working on hospital grounds or a variety of other tasks.

“We are accepting more and more volunteers here,” said Scheib.

R. Hans “Rob” Miller can be reached at [email protected].

Would you like to know more?

To learn more about the Columbia Basin Hospital Foundation, visit www.columbiabasinhospital.org and click on the “Foundation” link in the upper right corner.