Last updated: January 09. 2014 6:55PM - 1014 Views
Anthony Gonzalez Staff Reporter

Paul Hammes, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, provides members of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce with highlights of accomplishments and challenges faced by the hospital.
Paul Hammes, CEO of Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital, provides members of the Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce with highlights of accomplishments and challenges faced by the hospital.
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The Yadkin Valley Chamber of Commerce gathered its business members during a Thursday luncheon for its first meeting of the new year.

The meeting was held at Fairfield Inn & Suites in Elkin at noon.

Chairman Jerry Stroud, a 37-year veteran of Duke Energy, welcomed members and was optimistic on the upcoming year.

“I want to thank you for being here. I want to thank Myra Cook (chamber executive director) for hosting at her residence the executive board retreat. We have a few things coming up and I am asking for your support,” asked Stroud.

Stroud went on to remind chamber members that the Yadkin Valley Wine Festival is scheduled for May 17. The all-day wine festival is held at the Elkin Municipal Park.

“As you know, the chamber relies on this fundraiser to raise necessary revenue for staff salaries. What we need is for everyone to provide some type of volunteer support. Please do what you can to help us,” he said.

Stroud announced that Steva Bledsoe will serve as volunteer coordinator for the wine festival.

Stroud introduced special guest speaker Paul Hammes, chief executive officer for Hugh Chatham Memorial Hospital.

“We have a commitment to work with you all to design health care solutions through a virtual way, or at the hospital. We’re here for you,” said Hammes.

Hammes said the hospital stands by the Yadkin Valley business community and its residents. A topic was opened up with chamber members on affordable care and how the hospital and business would be impacted.

Hammes said that HCMH wants to be recognized as one of the top hospitals in the nation.

“A lot of people think about HCMH as a hospital, but we’re actually a health care system … we also have 12 practices that are part of our system. There are 856 people employed in the network. We had $36 million in payroll, and we spent last year $3 million on local businesses.”

Hammes indicated that the hospital had more than 30,000 patient visits to the emergency department. He said HCMH sees about 100,000 visits annually to physician practices.

“We serve a lot of people,” said Hammes.

Chamber members listened to a second guest speaker, Dr. Joseph Zastrow, who spoke about occupational medicine concerns.

In other announcements, a local homeless shelter official said that support is needed.

“We are officially full (capacity). Every bed is taken. If anyone is interested in helping, let us know. We need paper towels, winter gloves, socks, and even sliced bread. We have seven clients who have gotten jobs at Candle Corp.,” said Theresa Knopps, executive director for the Ark.

Misty Matthews reported that “Girls Empowering Girls Symposium” will be held on Jan. 14 at the Fairfield Inn.

“The purpose of the event is to inspire children on career options when they grow up,” said Matthews.

The symposium starts at 6 p.m. and ends at 8 p.m. Guest speakers include Theresa Knopps as a firefighter, Dr. Adrian Classen who will discuss medicine, Pam Blackburn will speak about the military, Sarah Byrd will talk about being an author, Lt. Mendy Peles of the Elkin Police Department will cover law enforcement, Mayor Lestine Hutchens will discuss public service and elections, along with other guests.

Food will be provided for the children compliments of Heaven Scent and other sponsor support. Prism Medical is the primary sponsor.

Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 835-1513 or agonzalez@civitasmedia.com.

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