● By Wendy Sipple
Photo by Dante Fontana
The Placerville-based Marshall Hospital – one of California’s last independent, non-profit hospitals governed by a volunteer board of directors made up of community members – epitomizes the principle aim of community healthcare, which is to administer to those in need with compassionate, priority care of the highest quality.
The oft-modeled facility, which is affiliated with Marshall Medical Center and claims outpatient clinics located throughout El Dorado County, has for more than 50 years done exactly that with the help of the Marshall Hospital Auxiliary (MHA).
A fund-raising nonprofit, MHA got its start in the mid-1950s, when a group of local businessmen and concerned community members began the process of building a hospital in Placerville to serve local residents. To aid with this multifaceted endeavor, and to see it through to fruition, the wives of the aforementioned parties joined forces to spearhead fundraising efforts. By the fall of 1959, MHA was officially recognized as the respected and far-reaching organization it is today.
Although nearly half a century has passed since the inception of the MHA, its mission – to support the continued development of Marshall Hospital by providing special volunteer services and raising funds for medical equipment – remains consistent, according to the group’s current president, Harriett Tose. “We work in nine separate areas of Marshall, including ER, Information Desks, Outpatient Surgery, Transitional Care Center, Patient Floors, Cancer Resource Center, and the Blood Bank,” she explains. “We also provide free blood pressure clinics.”
If the group’s umbrella of responsibilities is vast, so is the noteworthy results of its tireless and diverse efforts. In 2008, MHA provided 15,915 volunteer service hours, 5,418 of which were considered “outside hours” for fundraising and special projects, for a total of 21,333 hours. In addition, the organization donated $70,000 to the building fund for the construction of Marshall Hospital’s new wing. MHA pledged to contribute $500,000 to this fund in 2004, and have two years to provide approximately $100,000 more to keep this promise. “By providing vital support to Marshall Hospital,” Tose explains, “[MHA is] contributing to [the hospital’s] success, and making sure that it remains available as a great asset for our community.”
In order to accomplish its myriad of goals, MHA relies on active and engaged membership. “The volunteer work that we provide saves the hospital a great deal of money each and every day, allowing it to put resources back into the [facility] and patient care,” Tose explains. “We are very proud of this effort.” Recruitment, though crucial to helping the MHA fulfill its aims, remains a consistent challenge. But community members who wish to join and serve the hospital with their time and talents are always welcome.
For more information about MHA or membership/volunteer opportunities, call Marshall Medical Auxiliary President Harriett Tose at 530-622-9294. Learn more about Marshal Medical Center and Marshall Hospital online at marshallmedical.org.