I believe The Foundation is integral to Cookeville Regional's efforts to implement its strategic plan. We have in place a good management team that is committed to providing a broad spectrum of high-quality medical services. To fulfill that commitment, we must have a source of funding to pay for expanding our facilities, purchasing new equipment, and recruiting medical specialists.
A few years ago, a survey of residents and key healthcare stakeholders in our region identified medical services needed and community preferences. One of the findings of that survey indicated that area residents did not want to drive 80 miles for treatment of heart ailments.
Once hospital management determined the market was large enough to support the program, The Heart Center was opened. The hospital opened The Heart Center in 1994, and it was recently ranked one of the top five heart facilities in the state. We now provide nearly all of the cardiac services that are available in Nashville or Knoxville.
It is crucial for a nonprofit hospital like Cookeville Regional to be able to generate its own capital. One example: If we had had The Foundation when we decided to add on to The Cancer Center, we likely would have had available capital and could have moved forward with the plan sooner. When you have to start from zero, with no basic capital, it makes it tough. We do it — it's just harder and it takes longer because you have to raise funding.
We need to continue to expand services when hospital management and the board identify needs so we will continue to have excellent treatment options available locally. And we need a good source of financing for those services. A good foundation can help support the strategy and mission of the hospital.