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

CAH HIT Grant Implementation Updates

An official kick off for the CAH HIT Grant project began in August 2008 with chosen vendor, Orion Health. Since this time, Forks Community Hospital has taken the place of Whidbey General Hospital. Forks Community Hospital (Forks, WA) will join Jefferson Healthcare (Port Townsend, WA) and Morton General Hospital (Morton, WA) to implement the health information exchange. Continue reading

FLEX CAH HIT Grant – Vendor Selected!

In July 2008, a vendor for the CAH HIT Grant was chosen. We proudly announce that Orion Health will be working with the three WWRHCC Critical Access Hospitals, Jefferson Healthcare (Port Townsend, WA), Whidbey General (Coupeville, WA), and Morton General (Morton, WA) to implement a health information exchange. Over the course of the coming months, Orion Health will be utilizing their expertise to bring this exchange to life. If you would like to know more about Orion Health, please visit their web site at

FLEX CAH HIT Grant Update

In September 2007, the WWRHCC was awarded the FLEX CAH HIT Grant in the amount of $1.4 million dollars on behalf of the Washington State Department of Health – Office of Community and Rural Health. The primary focus of this grant will be to build a health information exchange between three of the WWRHCC Critical Access Hospitals and each of their respective Rural Health Clinics for the purposes of Telepharmacy and to provide elect information to Harborview Medical Center (Seattle, WA). The three Critical Access Hospitals (CAH’s) chosen were Jefferson Healthcare (Port Townsend, WA), Whidbey General (Coupeville, WA), and Morton General (Morton, WA).  Continue reading

The Wild Winds of 2007

The town of Ilwaco, WA is already used to having high winds (think 80 to 90 mph) but when the winds reached 130 mph on December 2nd, 2007 the staff at Ocean Beach Hospital knew they were in for a wild ride. The Astoria Bridge, one of the most well–traveled bridges and main thoroughfares into town was closed for several hours at one point. No cell phones or long distance phone calls were made. Logs blocked roadways while many others were shut down. Continue reading

Baird Secures Funding for Pharmacy Programs in Rural Communities in SW Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. – One of the biggest challenges facing the country is health care; and in rural communities a lack of access to care is compounded by a shortage of doctors, pharmacists, and allied health care professionals. To help address part of the problem, Congressman Brian Baird (WA-03) secured $550,000 for the Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative (WWRHCC) to implement a telepharmacy program. The funding was included in the House Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education Appropriations Act Conference Report for 2008.
Continue reading