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Neighbors caring for neighbors

November 7, 2018
By Dennis Dinning MPA, HSAC
Boundary Community Hospital Board Trustee

Boundary Community Hospital
Dennis Dinning (far right) congratulates Shannon Rust, RN, Outpatient Surgery Manager and Orthopedic Surgeon Michael DiBenedetto, MD after the successful completion of a total knee replacement surgery in the new Surgery Suite at Boundary Community Hospital.
As a Critical Access Hospital in a rural community, many folks think Boundary Community Hospital is defined as an emergency department only. What they do not realize is that we are more than “just a hospital,” but a health resource for the community with many services offered locally.

In 2016, the hospital board of trustees reached out to voters with a request for a special levy to fund some much needed equipment and upgrades. The levy was passed by voters and the funds were collected in 2017 and in your current property taxes for 2018 for a total of $828,000 over the two years. The hospital received the first half of the funding in 2018 and we expect to receive the second half in 2019.

We specified when we asked for the levy funds that we would:
  • Upgrade the surgery suite so that we can perform more procedures, including joint replacement surgery. The surgery suite infection control system and remodeling have been completed and the endoscopy scopes have been purchased. In 2019, we will purchase arthroscopic instruments and other medical devices for orthopedic surgery. Dr. Michael DiBenedetto has been performing total knee and hip replacement surgery since September, right here in Bonners Ferry.
  • Purchase new equipment for the clinical medical laboratory so that testing can be done locally for faster, more accurate results. The new equipment has been installed and our local laboratory is one of the best equipped in the state, including the Microscan Array to test virus and bacteria in hours instead of days so the correct antibiotic can be prescribed.
  • Purchase Diagnostic Imaging equipment. The C-Arm Portable X-Ray machine for orthopedic surgery and emergency use has been purchased. The CT Contrast Injector is planned for 2019 so we can expand our capabilities in computerized tomography, or CT.
  • Replace the fire alarm panel which was originally installed in 1992 – scheduled for 2019.
  • Replace the climate control system with a computerized control center to better regulate the HVAC system throughout the hospital and nursing home – scheduled for 2019.

These equipment purchases expand the services available and are attracting more specialists for clinics and surgery, enabling patients to recover and receive occupational and physical therapy in Bonners Ferry. This also allows the health care dollars to be spent locally, saves the patient and their family travel and lodging expenses and keeps jobs in Boundary County, which helps the local economy.

In 2016, I had serious health issues and was forced to take early retirement.

I grew up in Bonners Ferry and we had a weekend place here, so my wife and I decided we would consider moving back home after being gone for over 40 years. One of our biggest concerns about coming back to Boundary County was my ongoing health issues and access to quality health care. This is a very common concern for many people looking to retire, as well as companies looking to relocate to a new area.

I decided to research health care systems in the community and evaluate how it would fit into my situation. I saw an opportunity to serve as a trustee for Boundary Community Hospital and, although I have physical limitations, I had past education, work and volunteer experience which would not only allow me to serve, but to be hands-on with our local health care.

Boundary Community Hospital plays a distinct and critical role by leading efforts to address the unique healthcare needs of our rural citizens.

As a trustee, our vision is “neighbors caring for neighbors,” and I have definitely seen this vision in action since moving home and becoming part of the Boundary Community Hospital “neighborhood.”

© Kootenai Valley Times
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83806
editor@KootenaiValleyTimes.com