Winneshiek Medical Center will celebrate its centennial next year with three community events.

At Wednesday's meeting of the WMC Board of Trustees, Chief Administrative Officer Gretchen Dahlen told the Board in honor of the Medical Center's 100th year of operation, the public will be invited to three public gatherings.

The first is an "Honor the Founders" luncheon at Washington Prairie Lutheran Church Sunday, Jan. 19; the second is a grand community picnic on the Medical Center grounds Thursday, May 1, and a gala event is scheduled for Saturday, Nov. 1, at a location to be determined in the near future.

Dahlen explained the significance of having the luncheon at Washington Prairie is because the hospital was founded by the Reverend Paul Koren, a minister at Washington Prairie.

Koren, with the help of William Smith, a retired farmer, and others, raised $25,000 to open the first Decorah hospital in 1914.

Affordable care

In other matters, Dahlen reminded the Board the Medical Center has a number of trained counselors on site to help the public with their questions about the Affordable Care Act and the Health Insurance Marketplace.

She said a recent national survey by the Commonwealth Fund polled 682 adults, ages 19 - 64.

"Seventeen percent had visited the Marketplace website and of those, 21 percent had actually enrolled in a plan," said Dahlen.

Dahlen said top reasons given for not enrolling included: technical difficulties (37 percent), financial concerns about plan costs (48 percent), high co-pays and deductibles (42 percent).

When asked what they thought of the Marketplace experience, 27 percent said it was excellent or good and 70 percent said fair or poor.

"Only 42 percent of people said they had a favorable opinion of the Affordable Care Act's new insurance options," she said.

Dahlen said there is a link on the Medical Center's website, which directs the public to some helpful resources.

"There will be a big learning curve and our counselors are here to help with some of the basic stuff," she said.