From: Nancy M. Brown
Executive Director of Development
Winona Health Foundation
On Sunday, December 14, Winona and surrounding communities got a little brighter as the Winona Health Foundation with the help of Orphie Kukowski, Ellen and Jim Olson, and Randy Schenkat lit the Tree of Lights in Lewiston and Winona.
For more than 20 years the Tree of Lights has been a holiday tradition that many people in the surrounding area look forward to each year. Beyond the tree lighting ceremonies, tributes to loved ones are publicized throughout the holiday season. Each tribute is a charitable donation made in support of Winona Health’s mission to improve the health and well-being of our family, friends and neighbors.
The importance of such support cannot be over-emphasized. Just as great universities cannot exist on tuition alone, great healthcare cannot survive on reimbursements alone. Indeed, philanthropy will play an increasingly more important role in how Winona Health achieves its mission.
Every day Winona Health cares for people who will not be able to pay for their care. This is the heart of our charitable mission. In the last year, we cared for more than 330 patients who were unable to pay. The Ben and Adith Miller Patient Care Fund was able to help 294 of them pay more than $740,000 toward their care. Winona Health will absorb the cost of delivering care to the remaining 40 patients. This gap will continue to grow, and the need for philanthropic support will grow with it.
In addition to helping people regardless of their ability to pay, Winona Health strives to provide a truly superior level of care. This means we must invest in new equipment, technology and training that directly impacts patient and resident care. It also means investing in the extra touch of a well-appointed exam room, private hospital rooms, and clean, inviting grounds. Our patients and residents come to us expecting and deserving above average care. And we must deliver on these expectations in an environment where payment is based on averages, not excellence, not extras. Philanthropy allows us to invest in excellence.
The truth is philanthropy has always been a part of Winona Health. Early on, the people of Winona recognized that access to top-flight healthcare was critical to the quality of life in our community. It was through their charitable gifts that Winona General Hospital was built 114 years ago. Today it is hard to imagine our community without Winona Health. It is even harder to imagine Winona Health without the generous support of its community. During this holiday season, Winona Health, the Winona Health Foundation and the patients and residents we serve, thank you for your generosity.