WWRHCC Awarded 1.4 Million Dollar HRSA Grant

The WWRHCC as a subcontractor to the Washington State Department of Health, Office of Community and Rural Health was awarded a 1.4 million dollar grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), Medicare Rural Hospital Flexibility program. This grant, one of only seventeen awarded in the United States will focus on the development of aCAH-HIT Network in Washington State. For more information, open this attachment: Grant Abstract

USDA Awards More Than $22.3 Million for Telemedicine, Distance Learning Grants

Acting Agriculture Secretary Conner today announced the selection of 78 grant recipients for Distance Learning and Telemedicine grants totaling $22.3 million in 31 states.

“These grants connect rural communities to educational programs and medical services that bridge the miles between doctors and patients and provide classroom teaching at the touch of a button,” said Conner.
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Mark Reed’s New Leader Enthusiastically Takes the Reins

Mark Reed Hospital and Grays Harbor Public Hospital District No. 1’s new chief executive officer, Renee Dunham, who began Aug. 1 after her longtime predecessor Jean Roberts retired, has no problem with small towns. She grew up in one – Monroe (though the town northeast of Seattle’s been growing.)

Photo of Renee DunhamBefore coming to McCleary, Dunham, 30, worked for seven years at a hospital in the Eastern Washington town of Dayton, northeast of Walla Walla. Dayton is smaller than Monroe and just a bit larger than McCleary. Continue reading

Community Health Care Executive Completes Business Management Program at UCLA

LOS ANGELES – Families and individuals who receive medical services from the Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative will be the ultimate beneficiaries of specialized management training completed by the organization’s Executive Director, Elizabeth Floersheim, one of this year’s 80 graduates of the Johnson & Johnson/UCLA Health Care Executive Program. The intensive two week program, conducted at the UCLAAnderson School of Management is designed to enhance the management and leadership skills of community-based health care organization executives. Continue reading

Goodbye Jean and Welcome Renee

Jean Roberts, longtime administrator of Mark Reed Hospital in McCleary and superintendent of Grays Harbor County Public Hospital District No. 1 is retiring as of August 31.  Roberts has worked at the hospital for over 22 years and has been administrator/superintendent for two decades.

The Board of Commissioners has hired Renee Dunham to be the new CEO/Superintendent of the hospital district.  She began in her new position August 1.

Durham comes to Mark Reed Hospital from Columbia County Health System in Dayton, Washington.  She holds a bachelor of science degree in biology/chemistry and a master’s degree in healthcare administration.

Source:  WRHA Newsletter, August 2007 [pdf]

Collaborative Grant Allows Mark Reed to Install CR Unit

In early 2006 Mark Reed Hospital installed new radiology equipment. Because of their participation with the Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative’s Teleradiology project, and the availability of grant funds, Mark Reed is installing a CR unit that will be fully operational in September.

This unit allows the hospital to send x-ray images directly to South Sound Radiologists in Olympia and has eliminated the need to send films by courier (except for mammography). Radiologists can now dictate through their system, and Mark Reed Hospital receives the reports much sooner than in the past, often in the same day. These images will also be sent directly to the radiologists in Olympia.

Without the CR unit, which was made possible by the grant to the Collaborative, Mark Reed would still be sending x-ray films by courier and waiting longer times for the reports.

Source: Internal Memo

Forks Hospital Rises to Occasion

by Jim Casey

FORKS — Forks Community Hospital lived up to its middle name again during this week’s snowstorm and the power outages it caused. A 17-bed acute-care facility, the hospital turns itself into an emergency kitchen, shelter or both when weather attacks the town.

After snow felled power lines and the town of about 5,000 people went dark, “we had to set up a little emergency shelter in our ambulance building,” said hospital administrator Camille Scott. More than a dozen residents showed up at the facility Tuesday night before power was restored and they could go home, she said.

In the meantime, hospital staff called or visited new mothers and their infants and people whose health might be at risk from the cold and darkness.

Community canteen

“Naturally, people came and ate,” Scott said, as the hospital repeated its unofficial role as community canteen. When high winds darkened the town about two weeks earlier, the hospital dietary department served more than 2,000 meals to Forks folks who showed up expecting to be fed.

The hospital has no official obligation to feed or shelter people, Scott said. It just does it.

Without a Red Cross chapter or a big-city homeless shelter, the hospital turned to the state Department of Natural Resources. DNR responded with cots and sleeping bags it had stockpiled for fire crews.

“The weather put a hardship on the town,” Scott said, “but not the kind of hardship that causes negativity. It just causes growth.”

New surgical unit

And no sooner had the crisis passed than the hospital dedicated its new $1.9 million, 4,500-square-foot surgical unit. About a hundred people braved the elements to attend the ceremony, Scott said.

“During that lousy weather, in they came,” Scott said.

Meanwhile, the hospital attended to several people who’d slipped and fallen on icy pavement or who had suffered cardiac problems, possibly from shoveling snow or perhaps from the stress of repeated power outages.

“That’s why I love rural health care,” said Scott, who said she’d turned down offers of administrative jobs at higher-paying urban hospitals. “You can really feel that you can give in a rural community,” she said, “because you’re looking at your neighbor eye to eye.”

Source: Peninsula Daily News, Issue 288

WWRHCC Receives Grant

The Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative (WWRHCC), a group of 8 CAH hospitals, has received a grant from the USDA-Rural Utilities Service for $248,400.00. The purpose of the grant is to provide the funds to help the “Collaborative” connect to Tele-Specialties via Tele-Radiology, using Tele-Health technologies. The Collaborative is building a Tele-Specialty Cooperative (The Co-Op) to meet our communities’ much needed access to specialty healthcare.

The five members of the WWRHCC involved in this project are Ocean Beach Hospital, Willapa Harbor Hospital, Mark Reed Hospital, Morton General Hospital, Forks Community Hospital. Also included is Garfield County Public Hospital District, Pomeroy, WA a CAH that shares many of the same characteristics of the five WWRHCC hospitals. Currently, many of the WRHCC’s hospitals have a Radiologist part-time, and one not at all. When radiology studies are done, in the absence of a radiologist, reports have to be taken to another facility to be read, increasing the turnaround time for reports back to the primary care physician anywhere from 2 to 3 days.

To make this work, the plan is to build a Teleradiology (Network), which will provide “real time” x-ray interpretations and access to radiologists (who are in short supply). Having the patient’s x-rays transmitted to a site that has a Radiologist present gives the quick reports needed for family practice physicians to plan their care. The Collaborative will use radiologists who contract with WWRHCC members to provide services to those other members who have limited or no coverage; a website will be developed to assist with access to radiologists schedules.

Once the connections have been developed for radiology, the plan is to include other specialty practitioners. The important concept of this project is to allow for “sharing of scarce resources” such as Radiologists, but also the access to specialists for consultations via telecommunications. The ability to provide specialty care in our communities will decrease the inconvenience and costs of traveling to urban areas for care and reduce costs of care while improving the overall quality of care provided. The members of the Collaborative are looking forward to making this project a reality.

Source: WRHA newsletter, February 2006 [pdf]