Organization Newsletter

July 2012

In this issue...

  1. President's Message
  2. State Office of Rural Health: Getting Out and About
  3. WRHA Welcomes New Members
  4. WRHA Board Member Spotlight
  5. NRHA Responds to Supreme Court's Health Reform Ruling, Has Record Attendance at Webinar Following
  6. Rural Health Fellows Applications Now Available: Due August. 31
  7. Physician Assistants, Rural Washington and State Loan Repayment
  8. History Made at Yakima Medical School
  9. Rural Health Class Field Trip to Othello
  10. A Heroic CRNA and Why CRNAs are the Lifeblood of Rural Hospitals
  11. Telehealth Certification Give GCI Connect MDs Senior Program Manager a Boost on Customer Support
  12. 2012 Clinical Education Series
  13. Med-Surg Review and Update CE Course: Breaking Records and Improving Practice
  14. Shriners Motion Analysis Lab Receives National Accreditation
  15. Brian Hoots Receives NRTRC Director's Innovation Award
  16. St. Luke's Pain Program: Help for Patients in Pain
  17. Northwest MedStar Expands, Adds Base
  18. Friends, EMS & Hospital Teams Make all the Difference


The Washington Rural Health Association e-newsletter is a publication of Washington Rural Health Association, a not-for-profit association composed of individual and organization members who share a common interest in rural health. This e-newsletter seeks to disseminate news and information of interest to rural health professionals and stakeholders to help establish a state and national network of rural health care advocates.
WRHA members include administrators, educators, students, researchers, government agencies and workers, physicians, hospitals, clinics, migrant and community clinics, public health departments, insurers, professional associations and educational institutions. If you are interested in joining or renewing your membership with WRHA click here.

President's Message

submitted by: John Hanson, WRHA President

[email protected]

The Washington Rural Health Association is here to serve you, its members. In that vein I have three things to ask of you because in order to serve you better, we need your help. One request is to share your stories. We publish a newsletter every two months, a paper edition and an electronic one, alternating each time. If you have a heart-warming or heroic story to tell about your own or a family member’s health care experience, it would do all of us a lot of good to read it. Providing health care in rural areas is often harder than doing it in urban areas. Some of the problem is a lack of health providers. Other factors include distances, challenging terrain, and severe weather. In spite of these barriers, however, our rural providers often go above and beyond to help people in need. When that happens, it would be nice to hear about it.

If you want to share your story, write it up and go to the WRHA website (, then choose either the WRHA PRINT NEWSLETTER or the CURRENT E-NEWSLETTER BOX. Follow the instructions to send in your story. If you have trouble please call 509-358-7653 for assistance.

Request number two is related to Regional Meetings. These meetings are when members of the Board of Directors travel to a rural community and hold an informal community forum. We get to meet each other face to face and have a conversation about health care in your community or area. Our goal is to find out how things are going for you and if there’s anything we can do to help. Remember that WRHA is an independent not-for-profit organization that is able to connect with legislators, other government officials and organizations and urge them to support a certain point of view. What I’m asking of you is to let us know if you’d like to have a regional meeting in your community. We haven’t held a regional meeting for a few years and are just starting to plan for reviving this program. Please make your thoughts known through the website under “Contact us.”

My third request is for those of you who would like to be more involved in the workings of the Association. We currently have a vacancy on the Board of Directors. If you would like to be considered to fill that seat, please send in a biographical sketch of yourself and tell us why you want to be on the Board and what areas of interest you have. Board meetings are conducted by telephone except for our annual meeting in Spokane in March. If you have questions about this, please let me know through the website.

Thank you for reading this. It is an honor for me to serve as your President and I want to see that our membership is as engaged in the work as much as possible. All of us have the same goal: preserving and improving the strength of health care in rural Washington.

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State Office of Rural Health: Getting Out and About

submitted by: John Hanson, Rural Health Specialist, Ofice of Community Health/Systems/Rural Health, Washington State Department of Health
[email protected].

During the last week of June I got to do one of my favorite things as Program Manager for the Washington State Office of Rural Health—make some site visits. My visits are mostly to Rural Health Clinics (RHCs), and if a clinic is owned by a hospital or if there is a hospital nearby, I try to check in with that CEO as well. This particular week was the week of the annual Rural Hospital Summer Workshop, put on by the Washington State Hospital Association. Needless to say, the hospital CEOs were out of town when I cruised through their towns. I did, however, meet my goal of conferring with RHC Administrators in Sunnyside, White Salmon, and Stevenson. My visits also included tours of the facilities where I had the privilege of meeting most staff and clinicians. Can you imagine how much fun it is to walk into a medical clinic and say “Hi, I’m from the government and I’m here to help you,” and they actually believe me? I wasn’t there to find fault or to regulate, I was there to find out how things were going and if they were having problems, was there a way for the Department of Health to help? So cordial were my hosts that one of them even invited me into the break room to share some homemade strawberry shortcake. Oh!

Two of the Administrators I met with are on the Board of Directors of the Rural Health Clinic Association of Washington. In addition to discussing what was going in with their own clinics I also got to discuss some broader issues that affect virtually every RHC in the state. It’s not that I didn’t know about these problems or hadn’t discussed them before with these folks over the phone, but being present face to face adds a dimension to communication that one often misses in a phone conversation and is almost completely absent in an email.

I’m glad I made that trip. It gave me a lot to think about on my drive home. There are no quick answers to the difficulties I heard about, but I gained a deeper understanding of what RHCs are facing, what they’re doing about it, and how the Department of Health through the State Office of Rural Health program can be more involved and effective.

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WRHA Welcomes New Members

New Student Members

Alice Bremner, UofW, Mercer Island, WA

Erin DePrekel, PNWU, Yakima, WA

Ana Moreno, UofW, Ridgefield, WA

Steven Pinther, PNWU-COM, Yakima, WA

Alex Spencer, UofW, Seattle, WA

New Individual Members

Tomas Jones, MEDEX Northwest Physician Assistant Training Program, Seattle, WA

Fran Miller, Forks Community Hospital, Forks, WA

New Organizational Members

Doug Westhoff, Heathland, Seattle, WA

Rochelle Wambach, Higher Education Coordinating Board, Olympia, WA

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WRHA Board Member Spotlight

submitted by: Alex SnowMassara
[email protected]

Greetings! My name is Alex SnowMassara and I am excited to have the opportunity to serve you as a member of the board of the WRHA.

I grew up in California, Oklahoma, and Texas before moving to Washington as a teenager. Having lived here since 1997, Western Washington is now very much my home.

My professional background is in Information Technology; I’ve worked the past ten years supporting IT for a hospital, a library, an internet service provider, and most recently for a family medical clinic in Olympia, WA. My academic background is primarily in biology and public health, and I graduated from the Evergreen State College with a BA/BS in 2011. I am passionate about rural health care and I am particularly interested in improving access to care for those in rural areas. Currently, I am a first year medical student at the University of Washington in Seattle (entering class Fall of 2012). My eventual goal is to become a family physician practicing in rural WA state.

My medical interests are in rural family medicine, integrative medicine, wilderness medicine, and emergency preparedness and response.

Outside of school and work, I spend most of my free time with my family. I am married to a strong and amazing woman, Michaela, and have two children, Tivoli (son, age 4) and Azalea (daughter, age 1). I am loving fatherhood and getting to watch our two children grow and learn so quickly. I also enjoy illustration and painting, stringed instruments, and cooking for friends and family. I am an avid supporter of small-scale and sustainable living.

Thank you for letting me serve you!

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NRHA Responds to Supreme Court's Health Reform Ruling, Has Record Attendance at Webinar Following

submitted by: Vicky Brown (with permission from NRHA)
[email protected]

At 10 a.m. EST on June 28, in a 5-4 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in its entirety (with the exception that the federal government’s power to terminate states’ Medicaid funds is narrowly read). The Court could have struck down all or part of the bill as unconstitutional, but instead, upheld each of four distinct legal challenges.

NRHA members were notified of the ruling and its rural implications within minutes of the announcement last week, and NRHA staff hosted a webinar at noon that day with three times the usual number of participants.

What does the court’s decision mean to rural America?

Whether you support or oppose the health care bill, it is important to know that many provisions were included in the bill that benefit both the rural provider and patient. During the health reform debate, NRHA’s message was clear: Improve rural America’s access to health care providers by resolving the workforce shortage crisis in rural areas, and eliminate long-standing payment inequities for rural providers.

NRHA fought for and won key rural workforce and payment improvements in the bill. Each of these decisions will remain intact in light of today’s decision. However, complete funding for several of the provisions will likely continue to remain challenging. Many programs “authorized” in the ACA, must actually be funded through a separate act of Congress.

The Supreme Court reviewed four separate legal issues based upon the four previous federal appellate court challenges. The four issues on which the court granted review and subsequently upheld today are:

  • Whether the Anti-Injunction Act prevents challenges to the Affordable Care Act at this time (that is, is there legal “standing” to challenge a tax that hasn’t gone into effect yet);
  • The constitutionality of the individual mandate, requiring most Americans to purchase health insurance by 2014;
  • Whether the individual mandate is severable if it is found to be unconstitutional, or whether the entire Act would have
  • to fail; and
  • Whether the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of the Medicaid program is constitutional.

The issues of the constitutionality and severability of the individual mandate attracted the most attention in the federal courts and among the public. Though three of the four federal appellate decisions upheld the mandate, many legal scholars are still surprised at today’s decision.

Implementation of health reform is already underway, especially through the regulatory process. Last week’s decision will mean that rural providers must continue to be vigilant as preparations continue for the major provisions to go into effect in 2014. Expect continued push-back from Congress to repeal all or part of the bill, as well as efforts to de-fund key provisions.

Go to for our documents providing analysis of the law and what it means for rural Americans.

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Rural Health Fellows applications now available; Due Aug. 31

submitted by: Vicky Brown (with permission from NRHA)
[email protected]

The goal of the Rural Health Fellows program is to educate, develop and inspire a networked community of rural health leaders who will step forward to serve key positions in the National Rural Health Association, affiliated rural health advocacy groups and local and state legislative bodies.

The Rural Health Fellows meet in person three times throughout the year to undergo intensive leadership and advocacy training. Fellows also take part in monthly conference calls to supplement their training, receive updates on legislative and regulatory concerns that impact rural health, and participate in a mentorship program with current members of the NRHA Board of Trustees. Fellows should be committed to advocating on behalf of rural health and should be dedicated to NRHA’s mission.

Applications are available at . The deadline for submission is Aug. 31. Only electronic submissions will be accepted. For more information, contact Gaby Boscan, at 202-639-0550 or by email at [email protected].

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Physician Assistants, Rural Washington and State Loan Repayment

submitted by: Rochelle Wambach, Washington Student Achievement Council
[email protected]

At the Lake Spokane Community Health Center, Physician Assistant Marty Malone provides primary healthcare services to Nine Mile Falls residents, as well as to residents of the surrounding communities of Suncrest and Tum Tum.

Working at Lake Spokane CHC is everything he hoped it would be, Marty said. “I enjoy the patients and staff that I work with, and the community is very supportive,” he said.

In addition to being his dream job, Marty’s position at the health center has helped him reduce his educational debt. The Lake Spokane CHC is an eligible site for the Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment Program. According to Marty, working at the CHC and participating in the state’s loan repayment program “has simply allowed me to pay for my student loan debt in a fraction of the time it would have taken otherwise.”

Marty, who was was born and raised in a small town, said he realized early on that there was a need for healthcare providers in rural areas. He said the most rewarding thing about the work is getting to “become an integral part of the community, getting to know my patients and being part of their lives.”

After graduating from A.T. Still University in 2006, Marty might have had to work at a higher paying position in a more urbanized area to make his monthly student loan payments, which would have taken at least 10 years to pay off. Thanks to the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, Marty’s student loans have been paid off for more than a year.

Marty said he has no plans to leave his current position at the Lake Spokane CHC.

The Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment Program offers educational loan repayment assistance to licensed primary care health professionals who commit to providing healthcare services in areas of Washington State that have healthcare provider shortages. The program provides up to $35,000 per year in return for a two-year ($70,000) service obligation, and up to $35,000 for each additional year of service.

For more information about the Washington State Health Professional Loan Repayment Program, please visit our website at or email the Health Professional Loan Repayment Program at [email protected]

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History made at Yakima Medical School

submitted by: Janice Richards, PNWU
[email protected]

On May 12, the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences graduated its inaugural class of physicians from their College of Osteopathic Medicine. The members of the Class of 2012 began their journey when they arrived at the Northwest’s newest accredited medical school in 2008, and have now graduated as doctors of osteopathic medicine. All 69 graduates have begun their residency trainings throughout the country, a final step before practice in their chosen medical specialties.

The keynote speaker at the graduation ceremony was Karen Nichols, dean of Midwestern University/Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine, the outgoing president of the American Osteopathic Association and mentor to PNWU’s dean, Dr. Robyn Phillips-Madson. The dean describes Nichols as “a really good role model for 21st century physicians. We want to help our students collaborate and become partners with their patients.”

Dean Phillips-Madson feels pride in the accomplishments of the PNWU class of 2012.“These students took a chance on coming here. They were recruited before the building was even finished. They are special students. They are pioneers. They wanted to be a part of our meaningful mission.”

An eloquent commencement address was delivered by graduate Robert Lichfield, who acknowledged the community for their “amazing” support and enthusiasm, stating, “thank you for giving us all a chance to be part of something big, something that would have a profound impact on the future of our communities, and on ourselves. We’ve heard your ovation throughout these four years.”

To his fellow and future students, Robert told them “I count my place in the inaugural class of this university as one of the sentinel distinctions and privileges of my life. Embrace this time and this school, and let it do for you what it has done for me.”

Also on hand at the May ceremony was incoming president, Keith Watson, DO. Following a nationwide search, PNWU’s board of trustees named Dr. Watson the new president, who began his official duties on July 1.

Dr. Watson was the senior associate dean for academic affairs at the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine and the chief academic officer for the Centers for Osteopathic Research and Education – an entity overseeing 90 Graduate Medical Education programs in 26 training institutions. Most recently, he was awarded the American Osteopathic Foundation’s “Educator of the Year Award” for 2008 and fellowship in the American Osteopathic Directors and Medical Educators Collegium.

“I am deeply honored being selected for this leadership role,” he says.” PNWU is uniquely positioned to train medical professionals of many disciplines for inter-professional care. The mission and vision are focused on values and goals that support emerging medical practice and education models. I look forward to being part of this journey.”

The university’s journey started as a conversation around a table in 2004 to address critical health care shortages in the five-state region of Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska, soon became Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences, through the efforts of founders, physicians and community members. Today, the accredited university is a four-year postgraduate institution, and its college of osteopathic medicine is one of only 29 schools of osteopathic medicine in the nation. Three-hundred medical students train in Butler-Haney Hall, under the careful instruction of highly-qualified faculty.

PNWU plans to substantially increase the number of new practicing physicians each year, and prepare a new generation of doctors to serve the five million at-risk people in the area’s underserved communities. Since opening its doors, PNWU has experienced tremendous growth. The Cadwell Student Center has been constructed, a major addition to Butler-Haney Hall is underway, and three additional classes of medical students have started their education. In addition to the Yakima campus, PNWU has established 18 core rotation sites in communities around the Pacific Northwest. Hospitals and clinics around the region have welcomed PNWU students, training them in the clinical settings where they will eventually practice.

Photo caption: Dean Robyn Phillips-Madson, DO, keynote speaker Karen Nichols, DO and community supporter, John Cadwell.

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Rural Health Class Field Trip to Othello

submitted by: Toby Keys and Peter House - University of Washington
[email protected]

As part of an interdisciplinary rural health course sponsored by the University of Washington’s Department of Family Medicine, a group of 27 health science graduate students took a field trip to Othello, Washington on May 5, 2012.

Rural Health Course Instructor, Peter House, noted the purpose of the trip was three fold: 1. Expose students to dynamic rural health systems and practitioners as a means to promote careers in rural communities. 2. Impart information concerning issues and trends in rural communities. 3. Encourage students from the UW schools of Medicine, Public Health, Nursing, Pharmacy, Dentistry and Social Work to learn about disciplines other than their own and consider opportunities to integrate learning backgrounds to explore rural health issues.

Thanks to the generous assistance from Gregg Brandenburg, CEO, and Michael Adams, Director of Operations of Columbia Basin Health Association (CBHA), and Harry Geller Othello Community Hospital’s Administrator, about 30 students enjoyed tours of CBHA’s Wahluke Family Clinic in Mattawa, 14th Avenue Medical Clinic, Othello Family Medicine Clinic, and the Othello Community Hospital. The tours were followed by a panel discussion of community physicians, public health workers, social workers, and clinic and hospital administrators. Students then enjoyed an all-you-can-eat Mexican buffet where they had a chance to socialize with the panelists and other local health professionals. All in all, over thirty people from Adams County took time on a Saturday to meet with the students.

A first year UW medical student Jesse Maupin, described his experience in Othello:

All the practitioners I spoke with had been practicing in Othello for over ten years. I was impressed with the rich relationships they have developed with both their patients and within their community. This is something I haven’t seen in the urban medical settings.

The University of Washington School of Medicine is committed to meeting the primary care work force needs of the WWAMI region. As such, the rural health course intends to continue to rely on community partnerships to demonstrate the diversity of opportunities that exist for students interested in rural health careers.

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A Heroic CRNA and Why CRNAs are the Lifeblood of Rural Hospitals

submitted by: JoAnn Kaiser

[email protected]

On Wednesday, May 2, 2012, at 1:30 am, Kimmerle Miller-Leonard, CRNA, was on call for Toppenish Community Hospital, a rural Critical Access hospital in Southeastern Washington. She got a call for an “urgent” C-section, and jumped in her car to head in. She was on the two-lane rural highway when she saw a car pulled off to the right of the roadway, its emergency lights flashing. Thinking to herself that she needed to call 911 to assist them, she turned her eyes back to the road, only to see two horses – one standing in the left-hand lane, one dead in the lane in front of her. Obviously, the car was off the road because it had killed the one horse. Not having time to react, she hit the dead horse, causing her car to flip and roll down the highway and finally off the road into a field.

After what seemed to her an eternity of rolling and crashing, her car came to a stop. Her cell phone had been crushed in the crash, so she crawled out of the car and walked back to the road, where the Spanish-only speaking occupants of the other car pushed a cell phone into her face, hoping she could do a better job of describing the scene to the 911 dispatcher than they could.

Kimmerle explained to the dispatcher what had happened, told them where to find the scene, and that there were injured people in the van, thankfully not bad but the driver was hysterical. Kim pleaded for them to hurry, stressing that it was an accident waiting to happen again since the horses were still on the dark highway. Kim also explained she was needed at the hospital ASAP, and then was able to flag down a car that had just arrived at the scene. She asked the driver to take her to the Toppenish hospital, because she had an anesthetic to perform. The driver took her to the hospital, where she arrived in time to perform a spinal anesthetic for the C-section. Mother and baby both were fine. After the anesthetic was over and the patient safely in recovery, Kim turned herself in to the hospital staff, who diagnosed multiple abrasions, contusions, and a broken ankle. But her job was done. Questioned as to why she insisted on doing the anesthetic despite a broken ankle, Kimmerle replied, “If I didn’t do it, who would?”

Her partner, Terry Leaf, CRNA, upon hearing of her predicament, placed himself on call to cover her next week, meaning he would now be on 24-hour call for three weeks instead of one week on and one week off.

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Telehealth Certification Give GCI Connect MD's Senior Program Manager a Boost on Customer Support

submitted by: Sandy Kukla
[email protected]

GCI ConnectMD Telehealth Senior Program Manager Sandy Kukla recently earned the title of Certified Telehealth Coordinator, allowing her to provide additional support and guidance to its customers. The University of Alaska program consists of two 10-week sessions focused on understanding and coordinating various telehealth applications, including specialty uses, rural impact, case management, business aspects and more. Students developed policies and procedures for telehealth and created telemedicine programs from the ground up, including identifying the need and determining reimbursement, sustainability, return on investment and process flow. Kukla was in class with 14 other students and received the certification in May.

Kukla is an RN and an IT financial and application analyst with more than 30 years of experience in various healthcare disciplines, including hospital and emergency room nursing, practice administration, business services, application implementation and training, medical financial consulting and clinical analytics. She has been with GCI ConnectMD since 2006. As Telehealth Senior Program Manager, Kukla helps healthcare organizations throughout Washington and Oregon find the right telehealth solution to meet their needs. She is a board member of the Telehealth Alliance of Oregon, a member of the Washington Technology Exchange Advisory Board, the American Telemedicine Association, the Medical Group Management Association and the Healthcare Financial Management Association and is a certified EMT. Kukla is very active in chronic care collaboratives, patient safety initiatives and the advancement of telemedicine applications.

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2012 Clinical Education Series

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected] 

St. Luke’s now offers clinical education for providers. Each year, thousands of people choose St. Luke’s for therapy services and care. Our experienced clinicians are committed to returning patients to their most independent lifestyle possible. It’s that experience that allows St. Luke’s to share best practices and knowledge with other care providers throughout the region.

Available over the Northwest TeleHealth network Clinical Education Series classes are presented from noon – 1 p.m. Participants, please contact your local site coordinator to register for this event. Sites with video conferencing through NW TeleHealth, can register online. Other sites contact Pam Currier, NW TeleHealth (509) 789-4960 to register at least one week prior to the event.

Visit and click on ‘For Providers’ for additional information about any of the classes.

  • Pelvic Floor and More
  • July 25, 2012
  • CardioPulmonary Treatments and Interventions
  • August 22, 2012
  • Diabetic Management for People with Physical Disabilities
  • September 26, 2012
  • Safety in the Home – Prevention of Falls
  • October 24, 2012
  • Community Re-Entry for People with Spinal Cord Injuries
  • November 28, 2012

Clinical Education Series classes are presented at St. Luke’s Main Campus in Spokane WA.

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Med-Surg Review and Update CE Course: Breaking Records and Improving Practice

image: MultiCare Good Samaritan Hospital Nurses share a smile on their last day

submitted by: Shannon Summers
[email protected]

A record 478 nurses participated in the 2012 Medical-Surgical Nursing Review course which ended April 12. The course was established in 2004 and each year has been highly rated and surpasses projected enrollment goals. In 2012, nurses working at 27 hospitals in Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, Washington and for the first time, South Dakota, met at their agencies for three hours each week for 14 consecutive weeks (January-April).

Med-Surg lectures given by experts on evidence-based, medical-surgical nursing practice were transmitted from SON’s T661 to nurses in urban and rural areas. Nurse educators and med-surg nurse leaders facilitated the course at each site. Approximately 98 percent of course participants completed the course and earned 42.5 contact hours.

One participant said, “I have been inspired by this course to complete my BSN, after 25 years in practice. I’ve applied to UW Bothell. I am really proud to be a nurse. All of you who taught this course set such a good example. Thank you!”

Another participant wrote, “I feel so lucky to have taken this class. The speakers were impressive and I felt that way about each class. Between the handouts and the lectures, the information presented was never over the top. The topics and the information were very well planned and will be useful to our Med-Surg environment. Thank you.”

Participants and course coordinators alike gained benefits from this course. A course coordinator from Montana said,”Seeing staff engaged in learning, seeing them grow in knowledge and confidence, and seeing that reflected in their clinical examples [is a benefit]. Reading their clinical examples always makes me cry.”

A 10-week online format of the course will be held this year from June 11-Aug 19 and September 10-November 19. This unique continuing education program is a partnership between SON Continuing Nursing Education and UW Medical Center, with the invaluable support from SON TIER.

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Shriners Motion Analysis Lab Receives National Accreditation

submitted by: Sally Mildren
[email protected]

Shriners Hospital Motion Analysis Lab First in Pacific Northwest to Receive National Accreditation.

Shriners Hospitals for Children® ¯ Spokane’s Motion Analysis Lab (MAL) has been awarded ‘Full Accreditation’ status from the Commission for Motion Laboratory Accreditation, Inc. (CMLA). The Walter E. and Agnes M. Griffin Motion Analysis Lab is the first in Washington State & the Pacific Northwest to achieve this distinction and is one of only nine fully accredited labs in the United States.

The Motion Analysis Lab study, utilizing therapy, engineering and technology from design of computer games and movies, captures patient movement to measure and understand concerns or problems with walking for children ages 2 – 21.

“The technology helps us understand how the body is aligning, what the muscles are doing, how the foot lands when it strikes the ground and many other factors that are involved in walking,” says Mark McMulkin, Director of the MAL at Shriners Hospital. “The data, together with the goals a patient has established for themselves, is used by the physicians to determine the best course of treatment for a child.”

To achieve accreditation, a set of standard criteria is applied to each Hospital and features in administration, equipment, data management and reporting must be met at 90% in order to achieve ‘Full Accreditation” status. This level of distinction exemplifies Shriners Hospital’s commitment to excellence and quality in caring for children with orthopaedic conditions.

Photos, a tour or video clips are available upon request. Please contact Sally Mildren, Director of Public Relations at (509) 623-0424 or by email at [email protected]

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Brian Hoots Receives NRTRC Director's Innovation Award

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Brian Hoots, senior telehealth analyst for Northwest TeleHealth was awarded the Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC) Director’s Innovation Award for his collaboration and efforts on network interoperability within the region. Brian was presented the award at the NRTRC Telemedicine Conference in Billings, Montana.

“I value the collaborative spirit of the NRTRC and appreciate the recognition,” says Brian. “Improving technology and the support systems used for telemedicine is important for patients in our communities. Sharing information with my peers to encourage future advancements is critical to our improvement and growth.”

The NRTRC represents 36 networks across an eight state region. The Director’s Innovation Award is presented to an individual who shows exemplary actions and services that portray the vision and missions of the NRTRC, which is to develop collaborations and tools to integrate the use of telemedicine in the region by all types of organizations and entities. Brian’s work with the NRTRC Technical Committee provides solutions to barriers and challenges in adoption of services and technologies that provide access to and/or streamline the delivery of healthcare and its associated costs.

Northwest TeleHealth connects rural and urban hospitals, physician offices, mental health clinics and correctional facilities with more than 100 telemedicine locations across the northwest region. For more information, visit Northwest TeleHealth is a service of Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS). INHS is a non-profit corporation in Spokane, Washington providing collaboration in health care services on behalf of the community and its member organizations Providence Health Care and Empire Health Foundation.

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St. Luke's Pain Program: Help for Patients in Pain

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

St. Luke’s Structured Intensive Interdisciplinary Pain program is a 20-day comprehensive, approach to treating patient’s pain with an entire team. Our team consists of a physician, clinical psychologists, behavioral, physical and occupational therapists as well as a vocational counselor. As the only Labor and Industries and CARF accredited pain program in the Inland Northwest, we work together to help people recover from an injury and get back to work.

Our St. Luke’s occupational and physical therapists work with the patients to improve body mechanics, increase flexibility and enhance posture. These techniques assist with the effective management of chronic pain and are essential to help the patient return to work.

To view a video about St. Luke’s pain program, visit, click on About Us and Video.

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Northwest MedStar Expands, Adds Base

submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Northwest MedStar, the region’s critical care transport service since 1994, now has a base in the Pullman/Moscow area, providing additional coverage for patients in the region. This is another great opportunity for Northwest MedStar to work with local hospitals and EMS personnel to meet the needs of communities.

“Northwest MedStar continually reviews the needs of its coverage area,” said Nancy Vorhees, COO over Northwest MedStar. “In collaboration with our hospital and EMS partners across the region, Northwest MedStar determined a need in the area that is best served by a helicopter base. The population of the region continues to grow, as does the number of medical incidences and injuries that require emergent critical care air transport.”

The base is currently a 12-hour base and will transition to full-time later this summer.

“As a long-standing partner in our health care community, we welcome Northwest MedStar’s new base in our region,” said Scott Adams, CEO of Pullman Regional Hospital. “Our community has benefited for many years from the expertise provided by Northwest MedStar’s critical care transport teams who work closely with our clinicians to advance the care our patients receive. This local base will benefit patients throughout the greater Palouse region.”

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Friends, EMS & Hospital Teams Make all the Difference

submitted by: Erick Borland
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It was a day filled with the promise of some of the best things in life. Jessica Drake, a lively 21-year old, and her fiancé met up with a group of close friends on a sunny Sunday eager to ride ATVs near Naselle, Washington. Jessica and her friends were upbeat as the group rode out toward nearby Crusher Creek. They reached their first destination and stopped riding to talk, snack and drink some water before heading up a steep slope nearby. Jessica got on the back of her fiancé’s ATV and they headed up and around a corner on a slatted hillside. Suddenly the ground started to give out under them. They found themselves careening on two wheels and then starting to tip over in what seemed like a blink of the eye. Jessica tried to jump off to the side as her fiancé went over the top of the vehicle.

The next thing Jessica remembers is being caught in a tree. She could tell her helmet and pack were still on, but her glasses were missing. She couldn’t hear anything at first and for a moment thought she must be okay. All of a sudden she started to wobble and found herself upside down in the tree before sliding down a 30-foot embankment. Disjointed and confused, Jessica started feeling deep pains in her stomach and coughing blood. Her friends responded to her aid and tried to support her feet, back and head as the 911 call went out.

Jessica was in and out of consciousness as the EMS crew from Pacific County Fire District #1 and the all-volunteer Naselle Fire Department arrived on the scene. PCFD Paramedic David Allsup assessed the situation and noted her high level of pain, her right leg rotated out, a firm and distended abdomen, and a head injury. The call was made for Life Flight Network (LFN) to transport the patient to a trauma center. The EMS crew placed Jessica into the ambulance for transport to the landing zone at Naselle High School. The helicopter from LFN’s base in Longview, Washington arrived at the landing zone after a 23-minute flight. The LFN clinical team of Rita Riley, RN and Heather Doty, EMT-P, conducted an assessment and received a status report from David Allsup while he continued BVM ventilation in advance of patient intubation by the LFN critical care team.

The flight to PeaceHealth Southwest Trauma Center took 32 minutes. Jessica required constant monitoring during the flight, along with pain and sedation medications and large amounts of fluids due to her low blood pressure. Upon arrival, the trauma team led by Dr. Dennis Febinger, Trauma Surgeon and Dr. Kevin Kahn, Orthopedic Traumatologist, took over her care and later confirmed her injuries included facial fractures, pelvic bone fractures, a hemo-pnuemothorax, and liver/spleen lacerations. “Our team’s goal was to maximize Jessica’s mobility so she could maintain her active lifestyle. The prompt and efficient treatment she received by pre-hospital providers helped speed her recovery,” stated Denise Haun-Taylor, RN, Director Trauma Services.

Jessica wasn’t able to speak during her first day at the hospital due to the tube in her throat and she remembers pantomiming writing in the air to get a tablet for communication. She was in the hospital for eight days; her fiancé and a number of friends were consistently by her side the entire time. She was discharged home with a pelvic external-fixation and is slowly recovering. When asked how she is doing, she replied, “I’m really doing great and I get around well with my chair. There are still a few problems with pain, but not nearly as bad as before. I’m doing what is important for me, focusing on exercise and rest.” Jessica knows her life was at great risk that sunny day in May and is thankful for the care and teamwork shown by the EMS crews from Naselle fire Department and Pacific County FD #1, the Life Flight Network critical care team, and the nurses and physicians at Southwest Washington Medical Center.

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