Staff at Marian Regional Medical Center

The effort to build the center at Marian was led by Western Growers Board Member George Adam, President and Owner of Innovative Produce and a member of the Marian Foundation Board of Directors, who rallied the agricultural community in the area to raise funds for this critical asset to the region. “As we go through different economic times in ag, it’s always tough because you don’t know what’s around the corner,” Adam said. “But I think everyone saw the need for this. It wasn’t really a tough sell. It was a great response, especially during the pandemic when this particular need is acute.” Among those Western Growers members who answered the call were: Beachside Produce, Bonipak, Main Street Produce, Central West Produce, Durant and Rancho Laguna Farms. In total, the group raised $2 million to help establish the center. “George’s help has been instrumental,” Ketelaar said. “We were so appreciative of how he helped rally the community. The work he did provided a boost to our ER staff when they heard about the support.” Cortney De Lotto, the Manager of Philanthropy and Philanthropic Gifts at the Marian Regional Medical Center, said the push to fundraise for the Crisis

Stabilization Unit came on the heels of a campaign for an expansion of the hospital’s emergency department. “As soon as that [expansion] was built and opened we were running to the same issue,” De Lotto said. “It was just this really bad cycle.” To break that cycle and build the CSU, outside financial help was needed—and is still required to this day. According to the Vice President of Philanthropy for the Foundation, Jessa Brooks, the need for community financial support for the Crisis Stabilization Unit will be ongoing. For those who are truly indigent, there is adequate insurance reimbursement to medical professionals for the care they provide, she said. But for those not living in poverty, medical treatment for behavioral health issues is provided at a loss to the hospital. “Mental health is going to be a priority for our organization, not only clinically, but also philanthropically,” Brooks said. “We know that services are dire in this community, and we need them. But we also know the reimbursement is not desirable. It’s really horrible. The hospital takes a hit on providing these services. We run in the red in that area. Insurance has not caught up with the need. But this is, as our hospital president says, just the right thing to do. So we’re going to do it.”

A blessing for the Crisis Stabilization Unit was held on June 8; as soon as inspection is complete by state and county agencies, it will open. And as mental health needs cross all socio-economic boundaries and close to 1 in 5 people will suffer from an acute psychiatric illness during any given year, Ketelaar said the formal go-ahead cannot come soon enough. “The one thing George recognized very early on in talking with us is that mental health is ubiquitous,” Ketelaar said. “Everybody from the CEOs of companies and their families down to the farmworkers to the people who are just doing the daily work in our community— you do this kind of care for everybody. I can’t tell you how appreciative we are of the leadership that George Adam showed and how he helped us in linking us to key persons in the community.” For Adam and his Western Growers colleagues, the chance to give individuals going through mental health struggles a chance to regain a productive place in society is, simply, invaluable. “We just try to make the most impact where we can,” Adam said. “It’s what we would do with any of our employees. We try to give everyone the best opportunity we can.”



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