Knapp Medical Center
Giving Thanks This Holiday Season

During this holiday season, I would like to take a moment and extend my deepest thanks to all members of the Knapp family for your continued commitment to providing excellent healthcare service to our community.

I am thankful that, together, we have attained many great accomplishments this year. From earning the fifth consecutive maternity excellence award, to implementing computerized physician order entry and winning a TMF quality award, we have much to be thankful for this year. Keep up the great work!

Education, Early Detection Highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month

This October, Knapp Medical Center is proud to participate in Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign to increase awareness of the disease. Breast cancer is the second most common cancer in American women, taking approximately 39,500 lives just last year. I’m sure you’ve heard the statistic that one in eight women will develop invasive breast cancer during her lifetime.

Early detection is key, so be diligent with the women in your life to keep up with their cancer screenings. The Imaging Department here at Knapp is available and ready to meet the screening needs of your loved ones.

I’m proud to announce that the Bras Ending Breast Cancer event on October 1-2, 2012 raised enough money for the Foundation for Knapp Medical Center to fund mammograms for 12 local indigent women. From all donations received for this project during 2012 (including $1,000 additional funds from the Weslaco Girls’ Volleyball Team on October 23, 2012) a total of 39 indigent women have or will receive mammograms. Think pink and raise awareness! The goal is early detection.

I hope everyone has a safe and fun Halloween! Don’t forget to kick off your evening festivities by visiting the Fit ‘N Fun Festival in the Conference Center from 4-6 p.m.

Remember the Real Purpose of Labor Day

Labor Day is celebrated each year on the first Monday of September.  The holiday means various things for different people.  For some, it is the symbolic end of summer or it is the time when the kids go back to school.  For many fans it is the beginning of the professional and college football seasons.  Yet others see it as a last opportunity to travel and to get away for a long weekend.  Some of us will have to work, but for the majority, it will probably just be a day of rest.

However, we choose to celebrate Labor Day this year, the real purpose of the holiday should be kept in mind.  It is a holiday dedicated to the achievements of American workers. And here at Knapp Medical Center, it is a tribute to our entire health care team who has contributed so much over the years to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our hospital.  Thank you for all that you do!

Remember that you are the Patient Experience!  You are Knapp!!  Have a safe Labor Day weekend.

Continue to Support Knapp’s Mission - No Matter the Challenges

It always makes my day to receive a complimentary letter from a former patient about the excellent care they received during a visit to Knapp. I would like to share a few comments from one such letter I received last week from an out-of-state patient who found herself in need of our services during a recent trip to the Valley.

She notes in her letter that the doctors and nurses involved in her care were “efficient, caring, knowledgeable and personable” and that she was “treated with respect and kindness” and felt that she was “definitely in good hands.” This patient summarizes in one short letter all the great things we strive to achieve every day. Keep up the great work, for this is proof that you are making a difference and your patients do appreciate your efforts.

Now as we look to the future we must be true to our calling.  We must continue to support Knapp’s mission in the next 50 years.  Our challenges are great.  The obstacles sometimes seem daunting. 

But this hospital, the future boards of directors, the future administrators, physicians, nurses, staff, and the auxiliary volunteers to come will not fail to keep our commitments to the people of this area.  We will provide always and consistently excellent health care to all who enter these doors.  

Knapp, Community Come Together to Celebrate 50 Years

Comments of James A. Summersett III, President/CEO

On Knapp Medical Center’s 50th Anniversary Celebration

May 8, 2012


This afternoon, in this hospital, a new life will begin. Up in labor and delivery a baby will be born. And although he or she won’t see it now, family members have just bought a brick in our Memorial Garden to announce and celebrate the birth of that child.

And because of the care that newborn baby will receive in this hospital today, and in the days to come, that child may very well stand here, where we stand today, fifty years from now.

I am Jim Summersett, President and CEO of Knapp Medical Center and today I, along with each of you, stand at the threshold of a new half-century for this hospital. Today, we embrace its history and take pride in the foresight of those who have built it, guided it, nurtured it and sustained it.

We celebrate the dedication of the community leaders who first, back in 1958, had the insight to lay the foundation for this institution to grow and prosper. Those leaders saw the needs of the community, and they responded and met those needs.

We acknowledge the members of the Boards of Directors – Hospital and Foundation- who over the years have been so outstandingly represented by individuals such as Robert McAllen, Noble Allen, Trainor Evans and Richard Vaughan.

These men and their families represent the best in our community leaders who have supported and contributed monetarily and – most importantly- who have contributed their time, their talents and their involvement in the success and growth of this institution.

We thank the initial group of doctors who, 50 years ago supported community based health care in the town and all the members of the medical staff who have continued to support Knapp to this day.

As the current CEO, I particularly celebrate the fortitude and the tenacity of the former Administrators of Knapp. Each of them understand the perseverance it takes to do this job, and to do it well. And when the average tenure of a hospital CEO is four years, it is a testimony that in 50 years, Knapp has had but five Administrators.

So many gifts of time and money have been given through the generosity of the Knapp Auxiliary, the members of the Auxiliary have become cornerstones of the hospital. Just like a building without a cornerstone, we would fail without them.

Our employees have all experienced happy times and joyful times and – yes, some tearful times, for the patients we serve. But through all times, our employees have said “I will be here all the hours of all the days and all the years your doors are open Knapp.” But they will also say, “I will be here for you for all the bright and glorious tomorrows that you envision.”

To all who have labored for this hospital – paid professionals and volunteers alike, I say “thank you”. You have a responsibility to this community and this institution to further its mission, “To give always and consistently excellent service, every patient, every time.”

So we mark this day, this occasion, with joy and celebration. There is only the past and the future. We learn from the past, to build for the future. And the future is closer now that it was just a few minutes ago when I began.

Former Administrators

We are grateful to and thankful for those who have served before us. They have shown us great leadership. They have shown us great courage. They have shown us great faith. And they have shown us great vision. And they have challenged us to build upon that leadership, that faith and that vision.

I want to take this opportunity to let you hear, in their own words, what the former CEO’s who have joined us here today have to say about Knapp.

Marcus E. Drewa 1961-1964

Charles L. Foster 1964-1975

Eugene J. Bartels 1975-1978

Robert W. Vanderveer 1978-2005 


Now as we look to the future, we must be true to our calling. We must continue to support Knapp’s mission in the next 50 years. Our challenges are great. The obstacles sometimes seem daunting.

But this hospital, the future boards of directors, the future administrators, physicians, nurses, staff and the auxiliary volunteers to come, will not fail to keep our commitments to the people of this area. We will provide always and consistently excellent health care to all who enter these doors. And we will not turn away anyone who is in need of our services.

And so, young man or young woman who is being born today in this hospital, I say to you, live a healthy, active, and happy life. Live to be right here, in this place, 50 years from this day.

Tell them as you stand here on May 8 in the year 2062, “I was born here. They build this hospital and this memory garden for me and for all who have passed through these doors for the last 50 years.”

And then tell them this one last thing: That back on May 8, in the year 2012, my mom said to my dad just before she got in the car as was about to go into labor – she looked at him and said: “I choose Knapp”.

Come Celebrate 50 Years With Us!

The 50th Anniversary Celebration is right around the corner! To commemorate this great milestone, an Anniversary Reception and Health Fair will take place on May 8 starting at 4pm in the Conference Center. Everyone is invited, so bring your family, friends and neighbors to join in the festivities. In line with our half-century celebration, there will be fun cash giveaways such as 50 pennies, 50 nickels, 50 dimes, 50 quarters and 50 dollars to separate employee and community member winners. As an added bonus, Nutrition Services will bake delicious cupcakes made from winning recipes of the recent cupcake contest.

I hope to see everyone at the 50th Anniversary Celebration as we take a look back over Knapp’s amazing progress from 1962 to 2012. A half-century of improving healthcare in the Mid-Valley is something we can all be proud of!

March Madness - Time to Develop that Winning Attitude

March is upon us, and that means two great things – Spring has officially arrived and March Madness has too! Hope everyone is enjoying the warm weather and your NCAA brackets are playing out better than mine.

I have enjoyed watching the playoff games because through the power of sports there is much that we can learn about competition, winning, and excellence. For some people, basketball is far more than just “a game” — it is virtually a religious experience.  At the most basic level, the games can demonstrate how we can deal with obstacles and overcome disappointments. But for anyone who listens to the words and watches the actions of players and coaches there is also something to be gained about developing a winning attitude toward life.

In closing and in the spirit of this season, I wanted to share a quote from Tim Duncan for all my fellow Spurs fans in the hospital. He was of course speaking about basketball, but we can easily apply this to every aspect of our lives, “Good, better, best. Never let it rest. Until your good is better and your better is best.”

"Choose Knapp!" - Sharing the Message

“Choose Knapp!” I’m sure you’ve heard this phrase around the hospital lately or have seen a physician television commercial advising patients to “Choose Knapp”. It seems simple enough, right? But in our very competitive healthcare market, those two simple words mean so much to this hospital. We, as employees and stewards of Knapp, are perhaps in the very best position to help spread the message and educate our community. We have the most accurate, firsthand knowledge of the excellent care provided at Knapp on a daily basis. It’s easy to get distracted by the outspoken few who have worked persistently in the last few months to cast shadows on Knapp and tear down the hospital’s image in the public. Together, however, we are a much stronger force, in the greatest position to share the great news of Knapp. Please take the time to tell your family members, friends, neighbors, church members, etc. about the wide array of services and great staff that Knapp has to offer, and most importantly to “Choose Knapp!”

In closing, Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax opened in theaters on March 2, 2012.  I was a big fan of Theodor Seuss Geisel growing up, still am, and his wisdom offers our encouragement for this month:

"I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!"

~ Dr. Seuss

Seasons Change, but Focus Remains the Same

Friday, September 23, marked the official start of fall. The ending of summer and the arrival of fall historically has translated to the beginning of the busy season for Knapp Medical Center. The first of the Winter Texans start to arrive and the number of admissions and outpatient procedures also begin to rise. With the anticipated increase in volume in the coming months, Knapp’s focus remains on our vision of being always and consistently excellent, every patient, every time.

As fall is also the start of football season, I want to share a quote from a Dallas Cowboys Hall of Fame Quarterback: “There are no traffic jams along the extra mile.” ~ Roger Staubach

We will continue being committed to “going the extra mile” this fall to ensure quality of service and excellence at Knapp Medical Center.

Real Character Comes From Dealing With Adversity

Golf’s Sacred Journey: Seven Days at the Links of Utopia is one of my favorite books. After reading the book last year, I shared it with the Executive Leadership Team of the Medical Center. I have also given the book out to friends of mine who are in the midst of transitions in their lives.

Golf’s Sacred Journey is a story of an aspiring golfer dealing with the insecurities, frustrations, and failures of trying to make it as a professional. Beneath the main story line, however, is a much deeper message about how we touch each other’s lives and that, according to the book, is the true measure of success. Golf’s Sacred Journey teaches that the real character of a person is more about by how they deal with adversity, challenges and setbacks, than by what they achieve in life (their golf score).

And so it is with all of us here at Knapp. Each of our individual decisions and convictions brought us together in this Medical Center to serve our community. The characteristics of patience, humility, forgiveness, and caring help us do our jobs better every day. These same characteristics help us to be better people (and better golfers). As we plan and visualize the future for Knapp Medical Center, let us practice patience and balance, and hold on to truth and tradition. With the support of each other, we can achieve our greatest dreams!

Golf’s Sacred Journey is now a major motion picture! It is due to open on September 2, 2011 and stars Robert Duval and Lucas Black. Enjoy your Labor Day weekend and take in the movie … . See it, feel it, trust it!