A set of three incumbents are running unopposed in their bids for re-election to the Clarinda Regional Health Center Board of Directors in the city/school general election to take place Nov. 2 in Clarinda.
Katharine M. Boysen, Dale Falk and Rob Marsh are each completing their first four-year term on the Board of Trustees. The deadline for candidates to file to be included on the ballot for the election was Sept. 16.
Voters may pre-register for the election until 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18. After that, Election Day registration rules apply.
Page County began mailing absentee ballots for the election Oct. 13. Voters could also cast absentee ballots in person at the County Auditor's Office starting Oct. 13 and may continue to vote in this way until 5 p.m. on Nov. 1, the day prior to the Nov. 2 election.
Absentee ballots must be received by the County Auditor's Office before polls close at 8 p.m. on Election Day.
Profiles of Boysen, Fulk and Marsh follow.
Profiles of the candidates running for Clarinda City Council and the Clarinda Community School District Board of Directors will be published Oct. 21 and Oct. 28 in the Clarinda Herald-Journal.
Kathy Boysen has been a resident of Clarinda for nearly 20 years. She came to Clarinda as a school administrator. She said she found the community to be a good place to raise a family and discovered the local residents are very supportive of each other.
Boysen said there are several differences between the operation of a school district and a hospital. As a result, she said she has learned a great deal during her first term and is excited to put that knowledge to use over the next four years.
"Being on the board has a huge learning curve. The funding sources are different, as are the rules and regulations. It took me a good two years to understand how the hospital operates," Boysen said.
Last year, the hospital started an extensive renovation and expansion project. Boysen said she is excited to see that project completed and is pleased Fulk and Marsh will also be returning to the board to provide their input on the building project.
"We want to see this project completed. It would not be a good time to have new board members come on. Our current board has a good understanding of the hospital and the building project," Boysen said.
Boysen said she is also pleased with the leadership provided by Chief Executive Officer Chuck Nordyke. Boysen said Nordyke can see the bigger picture when it comes to the operation of the hospital and identifying the services the facility needs to offer in order to remain competitive in the future.
Once those services are identified, Boysen said the hospital can depend on its excellent staff to implement the services and meet the needs of its patients.
"We have a great staff. I think we've done a good job of offering competitive benefits and salaries. We are always looking at that. We want to meet the needs of our employees so we do not have a lot of turnover. The nature of nurses and doctors is to go where they are happy, so (we have to) do our best to provide what they need so they are happy here," Boysen said.
Still, Boysen said recruiting doctors and other providers to Clarinda remains an essential priority for the board. However, those efforts are made more challenging by the housing conditions in Clarinda.
"Doctors expect a certain level of housing and we don't have it. The places for them to build are also limited. I see that as holding us up as much as anything. Addressing this situation is crucial for us because this is a very competitive market. They really have to want to come here because we are a small town," Boysen said.
Along with completing the building project in Clarinda, Boysen said the board also needs to continue extending its reach to the surrounding area. She said the best way to do this is by continuing to expand the clinics in Bedford and Villisca.
A lifelong resident of Clarinda, Dale Fulk is finishing his first term on the Clarinda Regional Health Center Board of Trustees and is looking forward to serving on the board for another four years.
"I want to give back to the public. This is one way of doing so. I enjoy being on the board and I enjoy the challenges presented to the board. We are making many positive changes," Fulk said.
Fulk worked at Bank Iowa, formerly known as Citizen's Sate Bank, for 35 years and also farmed for a few years. His wife, Vicki, was a teacher in Clarinda for 36 years. The couple has three children, 11 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Fulk said one of the key reasons he decided to run for re-election to the board was to see the renovation and expansion project underway at the hospital through to completion.
"When it is done it will be something, we as a hospital will be proud of, and the citizen of Clarinda will be proud of as well," Fulk said.
Among the features of the building project Fulk said he is especially excited about are the new therapy building and the addition of a second surgical suite at the hospital. Fulk said the physical therapy department has outgrown its current location and will greatly benefit from having its own dedicated building.
Meanwhile, Fulk said he is confident the hospital has enough business to warrant the addition of a second surgical suite.
"We want to be the best hospital we can be," Fulk said. "We want to provide services that benefit our patients and to be able to offer as many of those services as we can locally rather than having people drive to the city."
Along with the construction project in Clarinda, Fulk said he is also excited about plans for the hospital to expand its footprint in Taylor County by getting the Bedford clinic fully operational.
Another factor that convinced Fulk to seek re-election are the many positive relationships he has developed during his time on the board. Fulk said he enjoys working with the other board members, the hospital administration and the staff.
"We have a great administrator and staff. I enjoy working with them and seeing the progress we're making. Our staff is dedicated to their profession and want to do things right," Fulk said. "Compared to where we were four years ago, there have been a lot of positive changes. The board and hospital have shown they are adaptable to changes."
Among the future challenges the hospital has to remain cognizant of, Fulk said, are potential changes in Medicare and Medicaid regulations.
The former director of Emergency Medical Services at Clarinda Regional Health Center, Rob Marsh has brought that experience to his duties on the hospital Board of Trustees.
Raised in Villisca, Marsh was named the EMS Director in October 1993 when CRHC, formerly Clarinda Municipal Hospital, took over operation of the ambulance service for Clarinda. Marsh said 24 years of service in that role taught him an important lesson he has remembered during his first term on the board.
"It's not all about the money. It's about the patients. Our key focus with EMS was the patients. When you take care of the patients, the money takes care of itself," Marsh said.
Marsh said he was pleased with the progress the hospital made during his first term on the board and he wants to help the facility continue to take positive strides forward.
"I feel like we're doing a lot of good and we're expanding services. I really enjoy it," Marsh said.
The services offered by CRHC will continue to grow thanks to the construction project that is currently underway at the hospital. Marsh said seeing that project through to completion was an important factor in his decision to seek re-election.
Marsh said he was especially pleased about the addition of a facility specifically dedicated to physical therapy.
“Obviously they need more room and improved equipment. With the new building we will be able to add so many new services and I'm really excited about that. For example, they will have a treadmill and stationary bike people will be able to use in the water to ease the stress on their joints while exercising," Marsh said.
There are also several other pre and post care services the physical therapy department will be able to add once the new facility is completed. This will allow local residents to stay at home while undergoing their rehabilitation rather than having to travel to larger cities.
Despite all the new services and equipment the hospital will have at its disposal after the construction project, Marsh said the ultimate success of the hospital depends on one thing -- the employees.
"Our employees are our biggest asset. We've tried to instill a culture where our patients are number one. Our employees take care of the patients and in turn we want to take care of the employees," Marsh said.