12:31 PM

Philanthropy recap: A year in review

How we put your donated dollars to work in 2018


This past year was another busy one for both the Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) and North Valley Hospital (NVH) Foundations thanks to the many generous donations, both large and small, that went towards maintaining, expanding, and creating new services at both hospitals. There have been multiple large-scale projects over the course of the year going through various stages of development that have managed to headline this year’s philanthropic successes. However, there was so much more accomplished. Here is a recap of this past year’s philanthropic accomplishments.

The Kalispell Regional Medical Center emergency room was expanded into a much needed 35,000 square foot facility, more than four times bigger than the previous one. The purpose of this multi-year project was to keep up with the area’s growing population. Complete with a new ambulance bay, the emergency department was equipped with extra wide hallways, larger doors and spacious rooms. The new emergency room was officially opened in September.

The KRH Foundation also managed to hit its $4 million goal to replace its current aging helicopter for the A.L.E.R.T. program. In 2016, the helicopter was grounded for 105 days out of the year with maintenance issues and therefore, the decision was made to fund the new one. Thanks to the many donations and successful fundraisers, the new helicopter will continue to provide critical care and emergency rescue services for the people of northwest Montana.

Currently, the biggest ongoing project is the construction of the new Montana Children’s Medical Center which is set to be completed in 2019. There was roughly $750,000 in donations for Montana Children’s alone in 2018. The new facility will provide high quality pediatric services right here in the Flathead Valley, with the goal that no longer will Montana kids have to leave the state to receive the pediatric care they need.

The NVH Foundation received a very generous planned gift in 2017 and decided to dedicate half of that donation towards renovating a number of their rooms on the med/surg floor. One thing that NVH has wanted to improve on was their patient nighttime experience. In hospitals, it can be difficult for patients to get peace and quiet with so much going on around them. All semi-private rooms are being renovated to be private rooms. Glass doors will replace curtains separating patients in those rooms, and new TVs with wireless technology will allow a much more private and peaceful experience. Roughly 14-18 of NVH’s 25 rooms will be seeing updates or modifications as a result of this project.

The year 2018 also saw a very successful milestone of past years’ philanthropy. In late October, doctors at Rocky Mountain Heart & Lung completed the 100th TAVR (transcatheter aortic valve replacement) procedure at KRH. The TAVR procedures were made possible thanks to a million dollar donation by the James and C.K. Coles Foundation in 2016.

In the 2018 calendar year, the KRH Foundation distributed more than $6 million to various funds supporting our patients. Some of the funds that were largely benefitted were those of Save a Sister, cancer support, pediatrics and hospice. Two new wheelchair-accessible vans were also purchased for the ASSIST program, helping provide rides to medical appointments for people with no other transportation methods.

NVH also saw huge success with the purchase of new reposition mattresses for patient rooms. In the past, nurses have had to lift patients upright in hospital beds by hand, but now, with the push of a button, these new mattresses can do it themselves. This new technology has helped ease some of the strenuous work that nurses regularly do. “I have never done a project where I’ve had more appreciation from the nursing staff,” said NVH Foundation president Alan Satterlee. “It’s had a huge impact.”

Multiple charitable events helped raise money for local causes as well. This year’s Betty Woods Memorial Golf Tournament helped raise money for Bad Rock Fire & Quick Response Unit, Evergreen Fire District, Kalispell Fire Department, South Kalispell Volunteer Fire Department and Three Rivers EMS. The A.L.E.R.T. Banquet raised a record $235,000 as well.

A good amount of funding also went towards education. A $250,000 gift helped continue expanded instruction for MSU’s Nursing school at KRMC. Additionally, there was also funding for community education such as concussion education programs and screenings for local athletes as well as anorexia/bulimia survivor talks in area schools. At NVH, they raised enough money to schedule regular mobile simulation lab services to be provided for medical staff through SIM-MT, a local nonprofit. The simulation labs allow staff to receive quality training for high acuity, low frequency events that don’t usually frequent rural hospitals. “They really try to do simulations that the nurses and staff haven’t seen much of,” said Satterlee. “It really prepares them for those tough situations for when things go downhill fast.”

“A big thank you to all those who contributed this year,” said KRH Foundation president Tagen Vine. “We are extremely grateful for all the support that made these things possible for our community and for our patients.”