May 21, 2012, Rifle, Colorado: After 13 years of serving on the Grand River Hospital Board, Board President Sam Potter bid a bittersweet farewell to an organization that has been his passion for over a decade. “There’s been a lot changes at the district since I first began serving on the Board. We have been through some challenging times, but have emerged as a strong organization committed to improving the health and well-being of the communities we serve. I am very proud to have been a part of those changes.” says Potter.
Potter was appointed to the hospital board in 1999. At that time, the District had just entered into a management agreement with St. Mary’s Hospital and Pat Howery was hired as the CEO. “The Hospital District was going through some difficult times financially back then. Our partnership with St. Mary’s, the leadership of Pat Howery and the Board members who hired him turned this thing around and began to set the course for our future success“ adds Potter. In 2000, Potter was elected to his first four year term. ” “It didn’t take long to understand that in order to offer the quality of health care needed by our communities that we needed to upgrade of facilities to 21st century standards. Board President Bruce Mills appointed Potter and long time board member and Vice President Shirley Lemoine as Co-Chairpersons of a Bond committee for an addition and remodel of the existing Clagett Memorial Hospital. The bond campaign “Same Taxes, Better Health Care” passed and in the early stages of planning it became clear that remodeling the old hospital presented many expensive issues. At that time the board decided to purchase the property on Airport Road in South Rifle and to build, what is now known as, Grand River Hospital and Medical Center, which opened in 2003.
Potter was re-elected to a second four year term in 2004 and served as Secretary until he took on the role as Vice President in 2006. Pat Howery had left the District and was replaced after an extensive search by Martie Wisdom as CEO who a few months later hired Jim Coombs as the District’s CFO. During the next few years the need for additional service lines was realized, and in 2007, plans were put into motion for an additional expansion to the new hospital as well as the purchase of additional land to allow for expansion at the Rifle location and Battlement Mesa. During these “boom years” the District also opened an Occupational Health and Safety center in the Battlement Mesa community and continued to operate the clinic there after assuming its operation responsibilities from St. Mary’s after the management contract with them had been terminated. “Mr. Potter was instrumental in building the new hospital and the southwest medical center addition, having the vision to add its 3rd floor for future growth and acquiring additional land in Rifle and Battlement Mesa for expansions .” says Jim Coombs, CEO of Grand River Hospital.
In 2008, Sam was re-elected to his final four year term and in 2009, Potter took the reins as President of the Hospital Board. “It’s been fun, interesting, memorable, and will always be that way…and it has been rewarding to see the difference we’ve all made over the last decade. We’ve come a long way.” stated Potter at his final Hospital Board meeting April 25th. “My one big disappointment is that we were not able to replace the aging E .Dene Moore Care Center!” Jim Coombs adds “Sam’s influence will carry far into the future as Grand River Hospital looks to expand its services in the next decade to include Obstetrics, Intensive Care and more modern facilities in Battlement Mesa and the E Dene Moore Care Center.”
The staff of Grand River Hospital District would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to Sam Potter for his 13 years of service and dedication to the District.