Coming Together as a Community
By: Preston Becker
The year 2020 has been one we will never forget. As I reflect on the past year, I am filled with many emotions but one I would like to emphasize is that of gratitude. My family and I relocated to Bonners Ferry in the fall of 2019 as I was hired as CEO of Boundary Community Hospital. A native of North Idaho, I was excited to return to the quality of life I knew growing up. One which would afford me the opportunity to play as hard as I would work and have the opportunity to spend quality time with my wife and children in a small and safe community. What we didn’t anticipate was a worldwide pandemic. As the pandemic became a reality, we saw our new sense of normal completely transform. Like many others, we were filled with a lot of questions, concerns, fear, and confusion.
I quickly was forced to act and prepare our local hospital for the uncertainty that was ahead. In mid-March, we developed an advisory task force to guide our organization through handling COVID-19 locally. This team, which is still active today, has met routinely to ensure the safety of our staff, physicians, patients, and visitors. We have created an environment where key stakeholders have the opportunity to voice their opinions and concerns in a transparent and safe setting. I immediately recognized that we have something very special here, we truly have the most caring and compassionate group of caregivers and healthcare leaders that I have ever had the privilege of working with in my 20 years in hospital administration. I believe we have not only created a very safe environment for those needing care, but we have put the safety of our nursing home residents at the peak of our priorities as this is their home and they are our most vulnerable population to any infectious disease, especially one we know so little about. While we don’t live in a perfect environment and mistakes do happen, I believe we have developed a culture where individuals take ownership and accountability for their actions and are continually striving to learn and do what’s best for those entering our facility, whether it’s through our primary care clinic, our nursing home, or one of our many hospital services including the emergency department, outpatient services such as lab, medical imaging, and rehab among so many others. We may be a small community and a small hospital; however, we have the best people and some of the best technology available. As an example and due to quick thinking; we were proactive in acquiring lab testing equipment that would allow us to provide COVID-19 testing locally, and we have been able to keep the community well cared for and informed during this pandemic.
Now that we’re nearing the end of the year, I can look back and find so many things to be grateful for. Understanding that COVID-19 has impacted every community around the globe, there is no other community I would rather be in. I am proud of Bonners Ferry and the people that make up our great community. I truly believe that what we have here is special and while I’m sure I don’t need to convince many people of that, I have chosen to see all of the good things about our community during such a trying time. I appreciate the support the community has shown our healthcare community and entrusting your care to our local healthcare professionals. I have seen our community come together, neighbors caring for neighbors, and for that I am a proud and grateful citizen of this wonderful community!
Preston Becker is Chief Executive Officer at Boundary Community Hospital