GREENSBURG — On Thursday morning, Decatur County Memorial Hospital (DCMH) will be formally presented with the Critical Access Hospital Recognition Award, bestowed by the National Rural Health Resource Center (NRHRC).
According to a press release, the award recognizes critical access hospitals (CAH) throughout the country like DCMH for “excellence and innovation in community engagement.”
“This year’s recipients embody both outstanding commitment to their communities and meaningful innovation,” said Terry Hill, executive director of NRHRC. “They demonstrate that rural hospitals can lead the way in the rapidly changing healthcare industry.”
DCMH Marketing and Communications Manager Lynzee McDowell characterized the award as “a really big deal,” because it recognizes DCMH as a hospital that serves a vital function in its community.
The award, she added, “says something really important about DCMH,” and the hospital’s level of success in carrying out its mission to the community. “The award falls perfectly in line with the hospital’s mission statement,” McDowell said, “which is to advance the health and wellness of our community by providing high-value, patient-centered care, leadership and education. Our sole purpose at DCMH is to serve the community. This award is confirmation we’re achieving that goal.”
The award ceremony will coincide with the third annual National Rural Health Day, which celebrates and recognizes the important role of small-town hospitals like DCMH in the communities they serve. A fundamental part of the definition of a CAH, in fact, is that it must be rurally based.
According to McDowell, other criteria factoring into the definition include the number of beds, the average annual length of stay for patients, geographical location and other factors.
DCMH meets all of the formal criteria of a CAH, of course, but for McDowell, the most important practical function of a CAH – indeed, DCMH’s most important practical function – lies in its relationship with and importance to the community it serves.