Among the wreckage of destroyed shipyards and charred buildings, the people of Norfolk, Va., set out to rebuild after the conclusion of the American Civil War in 1865. As part of the recovery effort, the Norfolk Women’s Christian Association pitched the idea of a hospital.
Local physicians and civic leaders agreed with the need to establish a local healthcare facility, donating $5,000 for a down payment on a Spanish-style house. The 25-bed Retreat for the Sick opened in 1888, planting the roots of what would later grow into Sentara Healthcare.
Now, 132 years later, Sentara Healthcare spans Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, with 12 acute care hospitals and more than 300 sites of care. The network includes two hospitals with outpatient care clinics in the Blue Ridge region: Sentara RMH Medical Center in Harrisonburg and Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital in Charlottesville.
As a not-for-profit healthcare system, Sentara’s focus is on patients and local communities, with a primary goal to improve health every day by focusing on quality, patient safety, service and integrity.
The Power of Collaboration
Modern Healthcare magazine has ranked Sentara one of the nation’s top integrated healthcare systems for more than a decade. That consistent level of success is likely due, in part, to the close ties among caregivers at the system’s diverse facilities, through which leaders at all 12 Sentara hospitals collaborate and combine resources to help ensure efficient, state-of-the-art patient care across the network.
As Sentara RMH and Sentara Martha Jefferson approach their respective 10th anniversaries of joining Sentara, each hospital’s president reflects on the positive changes that have taken place since joining the network.
“Being part of a large, innovative healthcare system like Sentara brings many benefits to Sentara RMH—clinically, financially and in terms of effective management,” says Doug Moyer, president of Sentara RMH. “We can draw from the expertise of the system’s multiple hospitals, sharing best practices in the care we provide and getting multiple perspectives from hospital leaders throughout the system. We’re also able to lower our costs because of the economies of scale we achieve by purchasing supplies and equipment in larger volumes.”
Concrete examples of how Sentara RMH and its community have benefited from partnership with Sentara include the Funkhouser Women’s Center and the Orthopedic and Advanced Imaging centers on the hospital campus—both of which were constructed thanks in part to access to low-cost capital provided by Sentara, which allowed new construction to move forward.
Sentara Martha Jefferson has experienced similar growth and benefits by partnering with a larger healthcare system focused on innovations in care.
“Navigating the ever-changing delivery systems in health care is a difficult yet important journey, “says Jonathan Davis, president of Sentara Martha Jefferson Hospital. “Sentara serves as both a catalyst for change in our industry and as an incubator for cutting-edge improvements in care processes. We have been able to face the many industry headwinds and accelerate our quality of care today and into the future because of our Sentara family. I’m excited about the direction in which Sentara Martha Jefferson is headed, given our focus on clinical excellence and meeting the ever-changing healthcare needs of our community.”
Over the past 10 years, Sentara Martha Jefferson has introduced many new services, including neurointerventional radiology, advanced gastroenterology services and advanced colorectal cancer services. The hospital also has opened its freestanding emergency department north of town. These services, which provide great value to the community, were made possible in part due to Sentara Martha Jefferson’s partnership with a larger healthcare system, Davis adds.
Each Sentara hospital is firmly rooted in its respective community, and giving back to the local areas Sentara serves is essential to our mission. In the Blue Ridge Region, the Martha Jefferson Hospital and RMH foundations have directed millions of dollars in donations that stay exclusively within their local communities.
“The foundation is a conduit between caring and generous community members and programs and services we wouldn’t be able to provide through operations support alone,” says Ray Mishler, vice president of the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation. “Our donors are the heart and soul of Martha Jefferson’s Caring Tradition.”
Likewise, at Sentara RMH, the hospital has been able to expand its services and outreach thanks to the efforts of foundation board members and donors.
“Donors in our community help improve and save the lives of our patients in countless ways,” says Cory Davies, executive director of the RMH Foundation. “They are heroes in every sense of the word, and we are so grateful for the impact their generosity has on the care our patients receive.”
Committed to the Community
In the Charlottesville area and Shenandoah Valley, the Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation and RMH Foundation have directed millions of dollars in donations to their local communities. Some recent examples include:
Martha Jefferson Hospital Foundation
•Free clinical breast exams and mammograms for more than 100 women annually
•Scholarships to local community college students to develop entry-level employees interested in building careers at Sentara Martha Jefferson
•Up to $20,000 each in financial support for more than 100 nurses to return to school for an advanced degree, benefiting their careers and professional development, as well as improving the overall quality of bedside patient care
•Continuing the Martha Jefferson Caring Tradition through funding for palliative care, cancer survivorship programs, and nursing resiliency initiatives.
•Approximately 280 free mammograms provided annually to underinsured/uninsured women
•$159,000 in scholarships awarded to nurses enrolled in Bachelor of Science in Nursing programs while also working at Sentara RMH
•Nearly $650,000 in donations to provide new cardiac monitors for each rescue squad throughout Rockingham County, helping to ensure that patients suffering a heart attack will get the timely, life-saving care they need
•More than $19,000 in medication assistance to help patients fighting cancer in the Shenandoah Valley