Kathy Foster: a life of commitment, loyaltyBody: If there's one way to describe Kathy Foster, it would definitely be as a woman that values long-term commitment. She and her husband, Jim, have been married for 32 years. She's worked for Downey Regional Medical Center - her only employer since graduating from nursing school - for 31 years. And, she and her family were Downey residents for 23 years. Kathy's career at Downey Regional Medical Center is a classic example of "moving up the corporate ladder." Initially hired in 1978 as an RN in the surgical and intensive care units, Foster has since served as Utilization Review Coordinator, Department Director for Medical Records, and Administrative Director for Clinical Data, Planning and Review Services. Her most recent promotion came this past March, when she was appointed Vice President, Compliance/Risk & Quality. In her position, she is responsible for a number of hospital departments, including risk and quality management, medical staff services, Downey Regional's family practice training program, corporate compliance, case management, social services, and education, among other programs. But Foster's life hasn't been solely focused on her impressive career at Downey Regional. She's thrived in her personal life as well. Foster and her husband Jim, the service manager for LA Freightliner, just celebrated their 32nd wedding anniversary on July 5. Their two grown daughters, Alyson and Melissa, were raised in Downey, where they were involved with the YMCA, the Assisteens, and as cheerleaders and student council members at Downey High School. Their ties to Downey remain strong - Alyson is a sixth grade English teacher at West Middle School in Downey, and Melissa works at Downey Regional as an RN in cardiology. The couple has also been blessed with three grandchildren: Alyson and her husband are the parents of son Jett, 2, and Melissa and her husband are the parents of son Landon, 18 months and daughter Sydney, born in May, 2009. All three grandchildren were born at Downey Regional Medical Center. Foster earned her RN at St. Vincent's School of Nursing in Birmingham, Alabama. She and Jim married while she was enrolled in nursing school, with the couple relocating to Southern California after Foster's parents moved here. Her mother, Ellia Deblois, was a long-time member of Downey Regional's auxiliary, heading up the gift shop for a number of years. Ms. Deblois contributed an impressive 11,500 hours of volunteer service to the auxiliary, but is no longer able to volunteer due to a recent illness. "A career in health care is an excellent way to be involved with people and to do good things," notes Foster. "Yet it's a difficult time for hospitals due to the increasing population who are uninsured. We're here for everyone-but we're still a business and need to pay our bills, so there are always challenges." What has kept Foster at Downey Regional for more than 30 years? "I love the family atmosphere here," she explains. "We care for our patients like they're family. The medical staff provides excellent care, and I've enjoyed working with members of the governing board, my fellow staff members and the volunteers. I'm very proud of the hospital-our focus is always on the patient, just as it should be."
********** Published: July 10, 2009 - Volume 8 - Issue 12