Saturday, April 4, 2009 | 5:35 p.m.
Fifty-five years ago, residents knocked door-to-door to collect enough money to keep a struggling Boulder City Hospital open.
The hospital wants to remind residents of that in its current time of financial need.
On April 15, 55 years to the day the community donated $15,000 to declare the hospital an independent 501c3, it will host a anniversary party in its lobby, 999 Adams Blvd., at 2 p.m.
The event is a kickoff for an annual fundraising campaign, said Craig Bailey, the hospital’s director of business development.
The hospital, which has been losing money in its operating budget since 2000, needs money for subsidizing its operating capacity, Bailey said, and hopes it can create an account with resident donations. Last year, a ballot question to create a hospital tax district failed. The tax could appear on next year’s general election ballot.
“Were hurting a bit,” Bailey said. “This recession is hitting us hard like it is everybody. We don’t have corporate reserves to draw upon when we’re in a bad year.”
He said since last September, emergency room visits are down 25 percent, and elective procedures are down even more.
The hospital was built in 1931 at 700 Arizona Street by Six Companies, which built Hoover Dam. In 1935, Six Companies closed the hospital, and three years later, National Park Service reopened it. In 1943, the Bureau of Reclamation took over, only to announce it was closing in 1954.
In two weeks that year, residents raised more than $15,000 to cover operating expenses, and it was officially turned over to citizen control. The hospital moved to its current location in 1973.
Bailey said the town rallied to make the hospital its own.
“In 1954, some of the civic groups adopted hospital rooms and cleaned the linens and fixed equipment,” he said. “They did a lot of things you just couldn’t do in this day in age. We’re asking people to be creative and help in other ways.”
Jo Ann Highsmith, the hospital’s fund development manager, said residents might assume the hospital has extra funding, but it doesn’t.
“In this day and time, all of us are trying to let the community know the hospital benefits people,” she said. “We just want to let the people know a little more about our history and let them know we’ve been caring for them for 55 years”
She said last year, the hospital spent $138,000 on community health fairs, seminars and other educational events.
On April 11 from 8 a.m. until noon, the hospital and the Boulder City Chamber of Commerce host a joint Community Health and Business Expo at the Parks and Recreation building, 900 Arizona St.
The hospital and other businesses will provide free health screenings and health education and lab tests, for a fee.
For more information, contact hospital foundation director Wendy Kyser at 293-0214 or email@example.com.