JEFFERSON —The Golden LEAF Foundation Board of Directors awarded Ashe Memorial Hospital with $946,152 to update and renovate its Emergency Department on Thursday, June 4.
Ashe Memorial Hospital (AMH) Chief Executive Officer Laura Lambeth officially announced the award on Monday, June 15.
“Ashe has such a good story. Two years ago Ashe was on the brink of closing it’s doors,” Lambeth said. “Because of community support and with Novant Health management services agreement, it has really turned the hospital, and they saw the need and potential for the organization.”
All monies received from the grant will go to renovate the Emergency Department which has not been renovated since 1991.
“We want to get it updated,” Lambeth said. “We want the ED (emergency department) to be physician, patient and staff focused but particularly patient and family focused.”
AMH Board of Trustee member Nancy Kautz authored the grant which required a two-phase process.
The first phase discussed the design plan and the second was an overview of AMH.
According to Kautz, the entire grant writing process began in August of last year and was completed this past March.
“This is not just a gift for Ashe Memorial, it’s a gift for Ashe County,” Kautz said. “This is a project that has the ability to impact everybody.”
According to Lambeth, the Ashe County Board of Commissioners had to recommend to support AMH obtaining the grant since the grant is officially awarded to the county.
County Manager Sam Yearick spoke in favor of AMH at a meeting with the Golden LEAF Foundation.
Lambeth also came before the Ashe County Board of Commissioners during their regular meeting on Monday to thank them for their support.
“I will always be grateful for all that you have done to help our hospital and this community,” Lambeth said. “Your support will assist in impacting the lives and livelihood of so many individuals.”
Lambeth also thanked the community for their support and contributions.
According to Lambeth, approximately 50 letters of support were sent from community leaders throughout the county in support of the grant.
“I would like to thank everybody that was involved and had a component in helping us secure this grant,” Lambeth said. “Certainly the employees in the Emergency Department, medical staff, the board of trustees, finance, the commissioners, the community, and last but certainly not least, Nancy who did an exceptional job in writing that grant.”
Construction on the Emergency Department will take place as early as this summer with hopes to be completed within the next 18 months. Once the renovations are completed, AMH will report to the Golden LEAF Foundation if the quality of care in the Emergency Department has improved.
According to Lambeth, the Emergency Department staff have a remodel design in mind.
The staff hope to centralize patient rooms for nurses to provide more efficient care to patients.
“We want to be able to bring more people in if need be because a lot of the time we are patient’s primary care,” Emergency Department Nurse Manager Kina Jones said. “We want to be able to serve the needs of the community.”
“We would love to hear from the community. What would they like to see in their community Emergency Department?” Lambeth said. “This is truly their community hospital.”
According to Lambeth, there will be an open house whenever the renovations are completed.
In addition to the Golden LEAF grant, AMH also has funds from other grants to go towards the renovations.
In 2012, the Hospital Foundation annual campaign raised $123,000 which was then reserved for the Emergency Department. AMH was also awarded $25,000 from the Blue Ridge Electric Impact Grant.
The Golden LEAF was founded in 1999 by North Carolina legislature to administer funds from the Master Settlement Agreement with cigarette manufacturers.
The foundation focuses on agriculture, job creation and retention, and workforce preparedness and makes grants to government entities, educational institutions, economic development organizations and nonprofits in tobacco-dependent, economically distressed, or rural communities.
Currently, the Golden LEAF Foundation has awarded 1,295 grants of over $567 million.
For more information about the Golden LEAF Foundation, visit www.goldenleaf.org or call 252-442-7474.
Hannah Myers can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @cmedia_hmyers.