Howard County General Hospital began as a vision 40 years ago. As we celebrate the hospital's 40th anniversary year and its official "birthday" of July 9, I reflect on how HCGH has been caring for generations of families in our community for four decades and I'm proud to have been a part of the HCGH team through times of significant change and growth.
HCGH has grown up with this community and the people who call Howard County home. We've been right by the sides of so many people — through emergency department visits, the births of children and grandchildren, through health crises and amazing recoveries. For the past 40 years, our community has always been able to count on us for excellence in health care and medicine with a human touch.
The hospital opened its doors to the community in 1973 as the Columbia Hospital and Clinics Foundation. In its first day of operations, the hospital staff saw 36 patients in the emergency room and had four admitted patients. Compare that with the more than 730 patients we see on average every day at HCGH today and you'll get a good idea of just how much our hospital has grown. Over our history we've added new services, built new patient pavilions, led the way in a number of advances in modern medicine and added some of the most sophisticated health care technology to provide the highest level of health care to the region. And, by entering into a strategic partnership with Johns Hopkins Medicine in 1998, we strengthened the hospital's solid foundation and mission of community-based medicine, while adding the benefits of a strong relationship with a world-renowned academic medical institution.
But beyond the bricks and mortar, the advanced, life-saving technology and the many programs and services that have benefited so many people, HCGH continues to be a mainstay in our community because of the people who make up our team. If not for the compassionate, expert, dedicated professional staff members and my caring, wonderful co-workers, we would not be where we are today. It's our people who are the promise of this hospital's great future, and, I'd be remiss if I did not credit the amazing volunteers and community partners who provide the support necessary for our sustained growth and ability to serve our community to the highest levels. Just last month the Howard Hospital Foundation announced the completion of its $30 million campus development campaign, which could only have been done with the generous support of our county government officials, plus so many individuals and businesses throughout our community.
Finally, as I reflect on all that we have achieved together over the past 40 years, I look toward my own future — outside of the walls of HCGH. In 2014, I will be retiring from my post as president and CEO to spend more time with my family and pursue other personal and professional interests. I've spent nearly 50 years in the healthcare field, and I'll always hold a special place in my heart for HCGH. I will watch with great interest, pride and excitement as the hospital continues to care for future generations.
Happy 40th anniversary, Howard County General Hospital, and many, many more.
Victor A. "Vic" Broccolino, Columbia
The writer is president and CEO of Howard County General Hospital.