COTTAGE GROVE – About 70 people celebrated the PeaceHealth Cottage Grove Community Medical Center’s 20-year anniversary last Thursday during the Cottage Grove Chamber’s “Business After Hours” event.
The medical center was opened on Oct. 6, 2003, but that would not have been possible without legislative action.
“The first thing we had to do was get legislation passed that would allow us to have a critical access facility because at the time you couldn’t have two hospitals within (35) miles of each other,” said Judy Cunningham, president of the Cottage Grove Community Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors. “As a result of all those efforts, we have this wonderful facility.”
A 250-member organization called Citizens Supporting Health Care led the initiative which changed the stated 35 miles to 15 miles, allowing the facility in Cottage Grove to be opened. Over 1,800 hospitals have been opened and are running in underserved areas nationwide as a result of this group’s advocacy.
Kyla Adair, environmental services caregiver of the year, has been working at CMC for five years. She said that staff from other hospitals commonly praise CMC staff for their kindness, which sets the Cottage Grove facility apart from others.
“The wonderful thing about this hospital, that I think is really unique to Cottage Grove, is that it doesn’t matter where you are in the staff hierarchy,” Adair said. “Everybody is treated with kindness and respect, and we really are a giant family.”
While the 20-year anniversary is cause for celebration, past president of the Cottage Grove Community Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors Jim Gilroy said this was also a sad occasion for him as he thought of those who helped build the facility: his friends who had passed.
“As much as bricks and mortar are important – because you couldn’t go to the hospital if it wasn’t there – what’s most important are the people,” Gilroy said.