Incumbents Sarah Buck, Kenneth McCuskey and Brad Heemstra are running for reelection to the Mary Greeley Medical Center Board of Trustees.
Each trustee is running individually but is uncontested in their race.
Trustees are responsible for managing and governing the hospital, authorizing delivery of health services, adopting bylaws for the governance of the hospital, approving the appointment of quality staff and medical services as well as negotiating charity care and various budgeting matters, according to the Mary Greeley Medical Center website.
Running without opposition, the trustees are moving forward with plans to better the hospital and its community.
Buck, the chair of the board, has been on it for six terms and is running for her seventh.
“I’m experienced,” Buck said. “I care about the medical center and its service to the community and to the region, and because of my experience I think that I continue to have something to offer.”
Buck has served the American Hospital Association as a member and chair of its committee on governance and is also a certified Trustee by the Iowa Hospital Administration.
“That recognizes both that our board does the work it is supposed to do and does it well and also that we have pursued education to help us stay in touch with the trends and the changing landscape in health care,” Buck said.
McCuskey has served on the board since 2004, is the current secretary/treasurer and has been the vice president and chief accounting officer and secretary at Danfoss Power Solutions (formerly known as Sauer-Danfoss).
“We are a bipartisan board,” McCuskey said. “We don’t have party affiliations. And so what I run on is my experience, my background in finance and working for a global manufacturing company for 40 years.”
The board has recently adopted a strategic plan that Buck said includes community health and wellness and staff engagement.
“And further from [experience], I just support our goals, our strategic plan we develop every couple of years that runs on a three-year cycle and I support those goals of the board and the hospital,” McCuskey said.
McCuskey said the board continues to work on how they can collaborate in the community and advance community health.
“One example of that was with the Healthy Living Center, which unfortunately got voted down by the Ames voters,” McCuskey said.
The Healthy Life Center referendum sought public support for a roughly $29 million bond. The center had already received $20 million in funding from private donors and the project’s collaborators, but was ultimately voted down.
“Another primary goal is to continue to increase and improve our patient safety and patient quality in our hospitals,” McCuskey said. “Something that’s very good today, very high today, but we continue to focus on that and improve upon it.”
Mental health has also been a big area of focus for the board in its strategic plan as well as its past achievements.
“We had a particular focus on mental health over the last several years and with collaboration with some other entities, other providers and the county and the mental health region, about a year ago we were able to open a Crisis Stabilization and Transitional Living Facility in Ames to better serve the needs of people with mental health issues,” Buck said.
The Crisis Stabilization-Transitional Living Facility (CS-TLC) opened in the fall of 2018 and provides care and support services to persons with a diagnosis of mental illness or a co-occurring diagnosis of mental illness and substance abuse.
It is an eight-bed facility that is open to people ages 18 and older who are referred by a provider from Mary Greeley, or from other medical and mental health provider locations, according to Mary Greeley Medical Center’s website.
“At a time when a lot of hospitals around the state are closing their mental health units, we’ve expanded ours and expanded and set up the transitional living house,” McCuskey said.
Moving forward, the board plans to expand its focus on mental health and continue to better its service.
“We continue to focus on mental health and how we can offer more and improved services in the mental health area,” McCuskey said. "We’ve done a lot the last few years, but there’s more we can do or need to do.”
Each trustee serves three-year terms. Current trustees Mary Kitchell and Beth Swenson’s terms expire in 2021, and their spots will then be up for election.