SVHD provided support for over 1,000 community members

Teresa McClain helps community members enroll in health care coverage at the HBE Office in North Bend.

More than 1,000 uninsured community members received help enrolling in health coverage through Washington’s online enrollment center at the Health Benefit Exchange Office in North Bend. Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District provided free in-person assistance during the open enrollment period from Oct. 1, 2013 to March 31, 2014.

Teresa McClain, Certified Assister/Navigator for Washington Health Benefit Exchange and Clinic Admin. for SVH, helped community members navigate the Washington Healthplanfinder website and enroll in coverage every Monday through Thursday. Continue reading

Announcement of Change of Business Name and Contact Information

Effective immediately, the Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative new legal name is Washington Rural Health Collaborative (the Collaborative).   In the last year the Collaborative has grown from 10 to 13 member hospitals and covers several areas in Eastern Washington as well as Western Washington.  The name change more clearly reflects our expanded membership.  Continue reading

80th Annual Meeting for the Washington State Hospital Association

Last week marked the 80th Annual Meeting for the Washington State Hospital Association with the theme of Patients First: Moving Beyond the Norms. Nearly 300 health care leaders from across the state participated in the event.

80annual_meeting1The annual meeting provides a great opportunity to honor and recognize the good work of health care leaders across the state and this year was no exception. Summit Pacific Medical Center received this year’s Community Health Leadership Award for their innovation and commitment to providing patient centered care in their new facility, which was built around the medical home model.

Kudos to Reneé Jensen and her team!

80annual_meeting2WSHA honored organizations excelling in the area of patient safety and quality with the 2013 “Safe Care in Action” award. Hospitals participating in the Partnership for Patients initiative earned the award by achieving a 40 percent reduction in harm or were in the top 10 percentile for six or more measures or for 80 percent of eligible measures in the 10 key areas.  Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics and United General Hospital were both honored for this achievement. Congratulations Eric Moll and Greg Reed!During the annual business meeting, the membership approved the candidates for the 2013-2014 WSHA board of trustees, including the new slate of officers. Our own Julie Petersen, PMH Medical Center was unanimously approved for the position of Chair-Elect. Congratulations Julie!

WWRHCC Members Elected to WRHA Board

The Washington Rural Health Association elected new Board members at the annual membership meeting on March 20, 2013.  Newly selected for three-year terms were Jeff Johnson, Wipfli LLP; Melissa Lovell, Office of Community Health Systems; Ron DeArth, administrator of Morton General Hospital; and Cass Bilodeau, from Kadlec Health System.

WRHA Awards


Leah Layne Memorial Health Leadership Award – Winner Renee Jensen


The 26th NW Regional Rural Health conference awards ceremony honored true examples of authentic leadership, genuine dedication and commitment to the rural health community.

Dr. John Anderson Memorial Award for Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner – Winner Dr. Shawn Andrews (Left to Right: Karen Jensen, Shawn Andrews, and Renee Jensen)

Meet Mr. William McMillan

After a nationwide search was conducted for new leadership, Forks Community Hospital welcomes William McMillan as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to his new role at Forks, Mr. McMillan was the CEO of Curry Health District in Gold Beach, Oregon since 2007. He has also been an administrator for Shriners Hospital for Children in Portland, Oregon, and the Chief Executive Officer at Guam Memorial Hospital Authority in Guam.

Mr. McMillan received his Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration from Baldwin Wallace College in Berea, OH.

Meet Mr. Kendall Sawa

In the fall of 2012, Kendall Sawa became CEO of Ocean Beach Hospital. Mr. Sawa came from PeaceHealth Ketchikan Medical Center, in Alaska, where he served as the regional vice president for patient care services.

Kendall attained his diploma as a Registered Nurse from LethbridgeCommunity College in 1996 and attended the University of Lethbridge, Alberta, focusing on Community Health. In 1997 he moved to Ketchikan, Alaska and spent the majority of his career actively involved in the development and delivery of health care services in South East Alaska. In 2007, Kendall obtained his Bachelor of Science in Health Care Administration and is currently pursuing a dual graduate degree of a Masters in Business Administration with a Masters in Health Care Administration.


WWRHCC Receives Federal Health IT Grant

Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative recently received a health information technology network development grant from HHS. WWRHCC is one of 40 rural recipients across the US. HHS has awarded a total of $11.9 million and WWRHCC will receive almost $300,000 in the first year to assist five members: Forks Community, Whidbey General, Morton General, Willapa Harbor and Ocean Beach. The hospitals will use the funds to adopt electronic health records and other health IT tools and to qualify for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments for the meaningful use ofEHRs. The grant funds will also be used to purchase equipment, software and provide training for staff members. Continue reading

Meet Mr. Tom Tomasino

Congratulations to Tom Tomasino, recently appointed as CEO of Whidbey General Hospital, one of our nine member facilities. Tom had served as interim CEO while their Board of Directors sought to fill the vacant position, and they have determined they need look no further. Following is a piece appearing in the hospital’s newsletter, “Pulse,” which offers more in-depth information on Tom’s background as well as his excellent fit for the hospital’s needs. Thanks to Trish Rose, who authored the piece. Continue reading

Telemedicine: A lifeline for rural health care

Holley Carlson had good news from her physician following a checkup in February 2009 : a clean bill of health.

It’s nothing earth-shattering for most women her age. But Carlson is in a league of her own. Six months earlier, the otherwise healthy 44-year-old dodged a cerebrovascular bullet when Jefferson Healthcare Emergency Room physicians teamed up telephonically with neurologists from the Swedish Neuroscience Institute, a part of Swedish Medical Center in Seattle to diagnose a severe blockage in her carotid artery. Continue reading