Linda Allison steps up to serve on hospital board

Staff reporter

For rural Florence resident Linda Allison, it is her civic duty to volunteer to serve on the board of directors for Marion County Hospital District #1.

And it is a responsibility she is willing to find time to do.

Even though she has been retired from USD 408 for four years, Allison has not been sitting around, twiddling her thumbs. Much of her time is taken up with sewing, flower gardening, bird watching, substitute teaching, and activities at her church.

So making the decision to be a candidate for the hospital district board was not one that was made hastily.

Allison has time to commit to the board and believes that no matter how busy people are, they make time for what's important.

And this is important to her.

"This part of the county needs to be represented on the board," she said.

Typically, hospital board members have been from Marion or the surrounding area. The hospital district includes Marion, Florence, Peabody, Lincolnville, Tampa, Ramona, and the rural areas in-between.

Allison was elected May 20 at the hospital board's annual meeting. This was her second run at a seat on the board, throwing her hat in the ring last year but failing to be elected.

This time around, she received enough votes from the 30-some residents in the hospital district who took the time to attend the annual meeting and vote.

The retired teacher said she always had been interested in politics and considered running for school board or county commissioner but decided this may be more her forte.

"I have a good understanding of people," she said sincerely. "I have a special heart for people whose needs aren't being met, particularly those on limited incomes who have to drive out-of-town for medical care."

With the rising cost of living, Allison knows there are a lot of people who are having to choose between medical care and food. She wants to identify those people and their needs.

"I have no agenda for wanting to be on this board other than wanting St. Luke Hospital to survive and always have a presence," Allison said.

More hospital services, including gerontology would be appropriate with an aging population in the county, Allison said.

Personally, Allison prefers smaller hospitals and hopes St. Luke always will maintain sufficient inpatient rooms and not just be an outpatient facility.

She would like the hospital marketing effort to include the entire county and not just concentrate on Marion and the surrounding area.

"We're all paying for this district and we all need to support it," Allison said, but the hospital also needs to meet the needs of residents throughout the district.

As far as a new hospital or a major renovation, Allison isn't sure and will weigh the information as it is presented.

She's looking forward to receiving more information as she prepares for her first board meeting June 24.

Allison and husband Les have four children — Raquel Riggs of Florence, Lane Allison and JanDee Allison, both of Kansas City, and Jason Allison of North Dakota.