Connected to the community Featured

7:00pm EDT December 26, 2009

At Berger Health System, the definition of care transcends the medical sense of the word. Under the guidance of CEO Tim Colburn, the hospital and physician system strives to extend its reach beyond hospital beds and give back to the community in bigger ways.

As you would expect, Berger has several initiatives for supporting patients — especially the frail, elderly and disabled. The company founded its Circle of Caring Faith-In-Action Program in 1997 and coordinates it with support from the United Way, local churches and community volunteers. Volunteers assist those in need through transportation, yard work, shopping, housekeeping, other chores and, simply, visits.

Through a partnership with the Pickaway County Community Action Organization, Berger also provides free transportations for frail, elderly and disabled patients to and from their appointments. The company provides about 3,500 transports annually.

A lot of Berger’s outreach starts in schools. The health system provides full-time athletic trainers for three high schools in the county — which not only provides visibility for the company as employees act as ambassadors in the community but also provides schools with a much-needed resource. The trainers also offer coaches clinics, CPR classes and annual physicals, in addition to mentoring student trainers.

Students also benefit from Berger’s involvement in the Pickaway Ross Career and Technology Center’s Allied Health program. High school students can spend half-day sessions in Berger’s classroom, lab and learning center to get hands-on hospital training. The program earns graduation credit as well as patient care tech certification.

Berger’s education outreach extends beyond the school system, though. Annually, Berger employees also participate in 20 community and corporate health fairs. They provide education and free or low-cost services, such as preventive and diagnostic screenings.

Throughout the year, they also offer seminars, lectures and other community education classes, from diabetes education to support groups for caregivers, grieving families and stroke patients. Specifically, the organization’s first aid and CPR training program — which earned a 100 percent survey score rating — was designated as an American Heart Association Training Community Center and acknowledged as a role model for other training centers in the state.

In 2008, the value of Berger’s many outreaches exceeded $9.5 million.

How to reach: Berger Health System, (740) 474-2126 or www.bergerhealth.com