By Janet Cuslidge

Great reputations are earned over time. For nearly 30 years, Dignity Health and Mark Twain Medical Center (MTMC) have worked side by side to provide quality, compassionate health care to Calaveras County, and to give back to the community they serve.

The affiliation between the Mark Twain Health Care District and Dignity Health has meant Calaveras County residents have maintained access to high-quality health care services, while many other rural hospitals around the country have closed. Not only has MTMC survived, but it has thrived during those years. As a Board member of the MTMC Foundation, I can say firsthand that it’s been a shared success and the result of a collective effort by many in this community. As a testament to the strength of the hospital and dedication of its employees, in 2016, MTMC was named one of the top rural hospitals in the country for quality and patient safety – the only rural hospital in California to receive this recognition.

Since the early days of the affiliation, the MTMC Foundation has partnered with Dignity Health and the Mark Twain Health Care District to provide fundraising support for capital improvements and new technologies. Generous donations from individuals and businesses helped the Foundation to assist in the construction of the new hospital and purchase of the CT Scanner, Digital Mammography and more. The continued affiliation will allow the Foundation to leverage your philanthropic support and bring more technologies and programs to MTMC.

More recently, the MTMC Foundation raised $2.3 million to support a state-of-the-art, $7.6 million Angels Camp Family Medical Center. The new facility will include general family practice, women’s health, laboratory and imaging and psychiatric services, but it cannot move forward if Measure A does not pass.

On June 5, Calaveras County voters will be asked to approve a new lease between MTMC and Dignity Health and to renew the partnership. The ongoing affiliation will ensure continued local access to care, while also allowing for the expansion of services and the adoption of new technologies.

This is the kind of commitment residents of Calaveras County expect moving forward. To kick off the new agreement, I’m proud to say that Dignity Health has announced it will make a generous dollar-for-dollar matching donation of up to $1 million to the MTMC Foundation with the Mark Twain Health Care District’s contribution. Commitments like this strengthen a proven, long-term partnership but also underscore the vitality of the Mark Twain Health Care District and Dignity Health.

Gone are the days when MTMC faced financial hardship that could have closed the hospital. Instead, residents have benefitted from an expansion of acute care medical and surgical beds, better imaging with advanced technology, an improved Intensive Care Unit (ICU) and surgical suites for inpatients and outpatients. We’ve seen an expansion to more than 300 highly-trained, dedicated professional staff and a commitment toward hiring the best and brightest.

I urge you to join me in voting ‘yes’ on Measure A to continue an affiliation that has benefitted Calaveras County for nearly 30 years.

Janet Cuslidge, Century 21 Sierra Properties, is a member of the Mark Twain Medical Center Foundation Board of Directors