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Reflections on a momentous year

CEO Scott Kelly looks back on our achievements in 2021, from saving lives during the pandemic to serving as a standard bearer for our community’s health.


This past year, our health system has been the source of hope and help, and not only because of the pandemic. Hundreds of parents trusted Asante to deliver their babies and provide care in our NICU if needed. Hundreds of cancer patients trusted Asante to provide treatment for a hopeful cure. Thousands of people trusted Asante for emergency care, primary and specialty care, heart and stroke care, and so much more.

Our community’s trust in Asante is because of you. While facing unprecedented challenges, you continued to do your best. First it was the delta surge and the unimaginable loss of life. Then the vaccination mandate and the departures of cherished coworkers. Now it’s the often-overwhelming patient volumes. Through it all, this year hasn’t been easy for any of us.

But what I also want us to remember are the hundreds of lives that were saved because of your efforts, and to honor the thousands of employees who chose to stay and continue to work side-by-side with us. You are all incredibly valued and appreciated.

It’s not an exaggeration to say our hospitals and medical clinics are essential community assets. We are ingrained in the fabric of life in Southern Oregon and part of the infrastructure that provides critical support every day. What truly inspires me is knowing that our community stands behind Asante and the work we do.

In a year fraught with controversy, our community set a record for its support of our Mission and Vision. Through Asante Foundation, a record $16.3 million was raised to help ensure we have the necessary services and tools to provide the care our patients need. This is an outstanding accomplishment and it reflects the value our community places on the care we deliver.

As we look toward 2022, we’ll ring in the new year with a significant milestone that will affect the lives of more than 2,000 people each year: the grand opening of the Mary and Dick Heimann Cancer Center in Medford and the expansion of the Helen K. Spears Cancer Center in Grants Pass. Both facilities will redefine cancer care in the region by coordinating services in single locations.

Recruiting and retaining the best employees remains a priority. Many departments across our organization experienced staffing shortages even before the pandemic and vaccination mandate. We continue to seek out individuals who want to work for an organization that puts the health and safety of its employees and patients first.

We have a long road ahead of us on our journey forward. The best way to travel this road is to do it together. We must trust each other to do the right thing, rely on each other for support and guidance, and help reassure our patients and community that Asante is their trusted health partner for life.

Saying “thank you” is hardly sufficient to express my gratitude and appreciation for all you do. I am honored that you are part of our journey and for sharing our vision for a bright and lasting future.

Tags: 2021, new year, reflections, Scott Kelly
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