One year after joining Parkview Health, DeKalb’s rural community hospital reflects on the transition

On Oct. 1, 2019, Parkview DeKalb Hospital (PDH) became the sixth community hospital to join Parkview Health. One year later, Tasha Eicher, President of PDH, reflects on the transition and how it’s changed the hospital and community. 

IFW: In your opinion, why is it important to have strong hospitals in a rural community?

TE: In rural communities, strong hospitals are vital to ensure we are meeting our patients where they are in their time of need. A local hospital allows for convenience not only for patients, but also their caregivers. Hospitals also provide an economic impact. Many times, the hospital is one of the largest employers in a community. 

IFW: One year later, how do you feel the affiliation with Parkview Health has made a difference for your hospital? Eicher

TE: Being part of Parkview Health has positively impacted our team and community in many ways. We have access to subject matter experts for both clinical and business matters, and these resources have especially been appreciated during the pandemic. Outside the pandemic, we have been able to update medical equipment and our information systems infrastructure. Additionally, Parkview provides our co-workers with new opportunities for education and growth. 

IFW: How do you feel the transition has impacted Auburn and the surrounding communities of DeKalb County? 

TE: One of the main reasons the community built this hospital back in the early 1960s was to serve the East side of the county. At the time, there was a hospital in Garrett, serving the western portion of the county. As we looked to affiliate with a larger health system, we wanted to ensure our mission, vision and values closely aligned to our new partner. We wanted to ensure this asset remains here in the county for many years to come. By partnering with Parkview Health, the DeKalb county community’s tradition of caring continues.

IFW: What’s it been like for you and your co-workers to join the Parkview team?

TE: This affiliation has been a journey for all of us at PDH. Many of our co-workers were eager to become part of the world-class team at Parkview Health, but we knew going into it there would be challenges and changes. At the end of the day, we wanted to ensure that our co-workers knew they had our support, and we were open and honest through the process. I think recognizing and communicating the changes openly with our co-workers is what bonded us all together through our journey. Looking back, one of the biggest concerns for our team was losing our culture of family and community. I am proud to say that one year later, our team is still a family, taking care of the families in our community. 

IFW: How do you feel being a part of Parkview Health has impacted your hospital’s ability to respond to COVID-19?

TE: The world-class teamwork of Parkview Health was palpable as we responded to COVID-19. Being part of the health system allowed us to focus on caring for our patients, co-workers and community. Behind the scenes, there was collaboration across the health system in support services, physician guidance, emergency preparedness, facilities, environmental services, and so many more areas. Having these subject matter experts and resources available to our hospital allowed for us to focus our efforts locally and on our patients. While our team at the health system was researching, learning, trialing and planning, we were able to implement their findings, educate our team on operational changes, and continue to provide excellent service to those in need. 

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