SAYRE BOROUGH — This year’s public meeting of the Guthrie Robert Packer Hospital Board of Directors came with a surprise recognition of the hospital as a 100-year member of the American Hospital Association.
An award was presented to hospital administrators Thursday by Michael Draine, a regional executive with the advocacy group, who praised the hospital’s commitment to caring for others.
“You’re acquiring talent, you’re retaining talent, and you’re using innovative technology to advance health care in this community,” Draine said. “As long as you continue to do that and provide cardiovascular care and cancer care, we at the American Hospital Association will continue to advocate for better reimbursement — avoid Medicaid cuts, surprise billing.”
The AHA was established in 1898 and, in 1919, began admitting members, Draine explained. The Robert Packer Hospital was one of 55 charter members at that time. The group has since grown to nearly 5,000 health care organizations and 43,000 individual members, according to its website.
“You’ve been a member of the American Hospital Association through 24 presidents and 48 sessions of Congress,” Draine added as perspective, while also listing off the changes to medical procedures and technology seen throughout the years.
According to Guthrie President and CEO Dr. Joseph Scopelliti, “Good government facilitates growth. If you have a municipal, county, state, or federal government that’s really doing its job, it should allow the community institutions — private and not-for-profit — to flourish.”
By flourishing, Scopelliti said they can better serve their communities. But with a government that is getting more and more complicated, he stressed the need for groups like the AHA that can represent their priorities so that government can facilitate their growth.
“Sometimes trade associations are criticized for a variety of things, but the reality is that as an organization dealing with a complex government institution, we need somebody in the middle,” Scopelliti continued. “The organizations that do a good job stay around for a long time as the AHA has, so we’re very grateful for the work that they do.”
Hospital President Joseph Sawyer added, “What a great honor it’s been to be a member of the American Hospital Association for the past 100 years.”