From handwritten paychecks to today's technology, Edna C. Humphrey has seen a half century of changes in the delivery of healthcare in Mason County.

Edna marked 50 years of service with Meadowview Regional Medical Center on Friday, Jan. 1, 2016. She was recognized in December by her employer and co-workers with a reception and was given the honor of being named a Kentucky Colonel for her years of service.

Of course, when Edna started working at the hospital, it wasn't called Meadowview and it wasn't located on Kentucky 9, the AA Highway.

In 1966, she worked at Hayswood Hospital in downtown Maysville at the corner of Fourth and Market streets. 

She began her career with the hospital in 1955 following her graduation from Deming High School.  She started as an aide while she took classes at the Maysville Business College and after one year, she was moved to the administrative offices, helping with payroll and personnel.

She said when she moved to the administrative office, there were two employees in the office and she was assigned as a relief person to help with their duties.

"There's no way you could do that today, it's totally different," she said of her duties then compared to how things are done today.

In 1965, she left Hayswood to work in the office of Dr. William Cartmell. 

But after one year, she said she returned after her former co-workers continued to call and ask her to come back.

Her duties over the years have changed and evolved as the profession itself has changed.

She remembers attending a meeting at St. Patrick School with community leaders to establish a plan for a fundraising campaign for a new addition for Hayswood.

And she can recite the names of the doctors on staff at Hayswood as if they were still practicing today: Cartmell, Estill, Harry and Mitchell Denham, Parker, Sewell and Savage.  She said a Dr. Snyder from Cincinnati would come to Maysville to read patient x-ray films.

She also recalls the time when ambulance service in the Buffalo Trace Region was provided by funeral homes instead of being an operation of local government.

What was once Hayswood Hospital is now Meadowview Regional Medical Center.  The hospital has been owned by several corporations including Hospital Corporation of America, when it moved to the AA Highway, then Columbia, Health Trust and now, LifePoint Health.

She remembers the Hayswood emergency room having only three beds, compared to the state of the art facility now available and laughs about the unpredictability of one elevator at Hayswood, saying you never knew when it was going to work.

"To move out here was fantastic compared to what we had down there.  It was a sad day and a wonderful day when we moved," she said of the hospital's relocation in 1983.

As patient coordinator, Edna's job during the move was to make sure the patients were transferred to the new building.  She said all patients were transferred in one day, with no problems.

Many people know Edna through her job as the hospital's patient coordinator and discharge planning coordinator.  Until 2010, Edna was the person families and patients met with related to Medicare payments for hospital stays.

She recalls in the 1960s and early 1970s, before changes to the Medicare laws about extended hospital stays, doctors would sign off on orders allowing patients to stay for extended visits, so family members and caregivers could go on vacation or take an extended vacation down South during the winter. 

"That was the norm," she said of the practice.

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When changes were made to Medicare and that practice stopped, she helped those same families and others find resources in the community to help care for the ailing family member when they needed to take a break.

In 2011, Edna's duties changed to that of volunteer coordinator.  She is currently in charge of approximately 40 volunteers who provide services throughout the facility.  One segment of her volunteer core is college students at Maysville Community and Technical College, who are pursuing a career in the healthcare field.

She also coordinates the hospital's Senior Friends, a not-for-profit organization offered through Meadowview and LifePoint Health for adults 50 and above interested in health education and recreation-oriented activities.

She said one of the biggest challenges she sees today is the need for people to understand when they are sick, they need to see a doctor as soon as possible and not wait until they end up in the hospital.  She thinks the reason so many people wait to seek medical care is because of the increasing cost of healthcare coverage and insurance deductibles.

"When you get sick, please go to the doctor," she said.

Having never married, and with her siblings deceased, Edna's family includes her co-workers and her adopted family, that of Pam and Mark Brandt.  She attends the First Christian Church in Maysville where she serves as a deacon and a member of the mission board. She is active in the community serving with the United Way, Relay for Life, the March of Dimes, and the Orangeburg Lions Club.

"She takes care of everybody," said co-worker Angie Calland, who has known Edna since she started with Hayswood in the 1970s.

In recognition of her service to the hospital, she was a recipient of the Dr. Frist Award (the founder of HCA) and in 2013 she was awarded the Scott Mercy Award (Meadowview) by LifePoint.

Edna said she has no plans to retire in the near future and continues to work full-time hours. 

"I have enjoyed all of it...all the ups and downs ... I've enjoyed it," she said.

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