Organization Newsletter

March 2014


In this issue...

  1. State Office of Rural Health: Comparing Health in Washington's Counties: New Data for 2014
  2. St. Luke's Chosen as Top 10 Hospital of Choice
  3. WSU to Offer Pharmacy Degree Program at PNWU in Yakima
  4. Membership Saved NW MedStar Patient Thousands of Dollars
  5. St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute 2014 Clinical Education Series
  6. WRHA Awards
  7. WRHA Welcomes New Board Members


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.


State Office of Rural Health: Comparing Health in Washington's Counties: New Data for 2014

submitted by: Bonnie Burlingham

[email protected]

A lot of data are available for us to try to understand how to live healthier lives, and how to protect the health and well-being of our communities. One of the best data sources, complete with ideas of how to use the data for positive change, is from the Wisconsin Population Health Institute, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It’s just released its 2014 county health rankings, where each county can compare itself to others in the state and the nation on health outcomes and health factors. Health outcome measures include premature death, low birthweight, and physical and mental health. Health factor measures include smoking status, diet and exercise, alcohol use, access to health care, poverty levels, and many other aspects of life that determine how healthy we are.

How would you use this information? While it helps to know where each county stands, it’s also very helpful to have some ideas about how different communities use this information. Some counties use it to apply for funding, while others use it to help determine health policy and program goals.

To take it a step further, the website has a database you can search to find examples of successful programs and policies that have improved health in different communities. I typed in the word “rural” and found four organizations I didn’t know existed for supporting rural health initiatives, and links to 42 different examples of evidence supporting programs in rural communities. To try another example, I also typed in “teen pregnancy,” and it provided a link to a webinar with examples of reducing teen pregnancy. It also gave links to 17 different ways to reduce teen pregnancy, depending on different risks for each community.

Having a snapshot of each county’s health is one more way for all of us to consider the work we do in relation to others around us. It’s one more data point to help us reach out to our neighboring communities on how we might jointly look at how our policies and programs affect each other, and how to move together to improve rural health in Washington.

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St. Luke's Chosen as Top 10 Hospital of Choice


submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]


The American Alliance of Healthcare Providers (AAHCP) recently announced the 2013 national Hospital of Choice Award recipients, naming St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute as a Top 10 Hospital for Excellence in Service and Community Outreach award winner.

Each quarter, almost 500 hospitals throughout the country compete to be a Top 100 finalist for the year through a series of performance tests like a review of public documents, hospital websites, "secret shoppers" and customer phone surveys. These tests demonstrate the hospital’s focus on quality outcomes, excellent service, community outreach and other key components. From there, the hospitals undergo further, more in-depth, reviews to become a Top 10 award winner.

“We are honored to be selected as a Top 10 recipient of the Hospital of Choice Awards,” said Ulrike Berzau, St. Luke’s hospital administrator. “This award is a testament to St. Luke’s dedicated team members who strive to provide excellence and exceptional services for our inpatients and outpatients at all locations. It exemplifies how well St. Luke’s meets the needs of the community. We understand that patients across the region have a choice when it comes to rehabilitation treatment, and we want their choice to be St. Luke’s.”

To find out more about St. Luke’s 20 years of high-quality patient outcomes, please visit

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WSU to Offer Pharmacy Degree Program at PNWU in Yakima


submitted by: Emily DuPleiss
[email protected]

A Doctor of Pharmacy degree program will be offered in Yakima through a unique and exciting collaboration between the College of Pharmacy at Washington State University and the Pacific Northwest University of Health Sciences in Yakima.

The collaboration will allow student pharmacists and medical students at PNWU to learn to care for patients together as part of a health care team, which is the future model of health care delivery, said Linda Garrelts MacLean, an associate dean and pharmacy professor at WSU in Spokane.

“This advanced model of education prepares future physicians and pharmacists as part of the complete health care team to support the nation’s health care reform goals of better health and better health care that is delivered with lower costs,” MacLean said.

"The pharmacy degree in Yakima is expected to particularly appeal to students interested in serving rural and underserved areas, and many of those students are likely to practice pharmacy in rural areas after graduation", said MacLean.

"The Yakima community also will benefit from the new degree program because of the number of outreach activities student pharmacists will conduct in the community as part of their education", she said.

“Student pharmacists participate in many outreach activities that offer various health screenings and health education, and we believe their presence in Yakima will provide additional health care services for this community,” MacLean said.

Pharmacy continues to be a healthy career choice. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics recently projected 14.5 percent employment growth for pharmacists by 2022, adding 41,400 new jobs. Median salary for pharmacists is $116,670 per year.

The new four-year degree program will be located on the PNWU campus with classes beginning in August 2015. Applications will be accepted beginning July 1, 2014, with space for 25 to 50 students.

“PNWU embraces an interdisciplinary learning model,” said Dr. Keith Watson, PNWU university president. “With WSU College of Pharmacy on our campus, future physicians will share learning space and work in teams with future pharmacists.”

The WSU College of Pharmacy has had faculty and students in Yakima since the 1990s. WSU pharmacy faculty work as pharmacists at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and also supervise student pharmacists who obtain practice experience there. The Yakima faculties also travel to the College of Pharmacy - located in Spokane - to teach classes.

The College also has a large alumni base of practicing pharmacists in Yakima who are trained and certified as preceptors to supervise student pharmacists during pharmacy practice experiences at different practice sites.
More information is available on the College’s web site at:


Linda Garrelts MacLean, WSU Pharmacy Associate Dean, 509-358-7732, [email protected]

Emily DuPleiss, Marketing and Communications Director at PNWU, 509-249-7771, [email protected]

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Membership Saved NW MedStar Patient Thousands of Dollars


submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

(Alberto Reyes with NW MedStar's Kayla Morgan, RRT/EMT, who cared for him on his flight)

“I got a Northwest MedStar membership two years ago to protect my family. Never in a million years did I ever think that it would be me; that at 36 years old I would have a massive heart attack.”

Just home from work, Alberto Reyes, a father of four from Odessa, Wash., says he sat down and thought he was getting a case of heartburn, “it was like a match was burning inside my chest.” After sitting down, hoping it would go away, he says he realized he was finding it more difficult to breathe. When his oldest daughter seemed concerned, asking if he was feeling ok, Alberto began to think that this case of heartburn may be something different.

Alberto took something for the heartburn and went to bed feeling much better. “2:30 in the morning rolls around and I woke up having a hard time breathing,” he says. Alberto got up, drank water and sat down in a chair, “it was then that I reached up with my hand and felt my jaw. It was at that point I knew it was something a little different. When I felt my jaw, I felt pain.”

Alberto says because he works with emergency medical services (EMS) at Odessa Memorial Hospital, all of the symptoms he was showing triggered him to go get checked out at the hospital. Driving himself, “still in denial and thinking it was just heartburn,” Alberto says he was immediately hooked up to an Electrocardiogram (EKG).

When the doctor told him he would need to go to Spokane, he thought he would be able to drive himself there, or have his wife drive him. He says the doctor told him, “No, you’re going to go by Northwest MedStar and the helicopter is on its way.”

Still not in a lot of pain, Alberto could not understand why he would need such urgent care…until the Odessa hospital staff showed him his EKG results, indicating that he was having a massive heart attack. “MedStar came, picked me up and brought me to Spokane. When we got there, it was like TV where they’re running with me and doors were slamming. The doctor came and said they had run out of time, and they’d see me when I woke up. That’s all I remember until I woke up.”

“People take life for granted,” Alberto says. “It’s amazing the things you look back on when you come out of it. While I laid in that hospital bed with the TV, I wasn’t watching TV. I was thinking about my kids. It could have been that I wasn’t going to be there.”

“After looking back at all they found in me,” Alberto says, “had I waited another half hour maybe not even that, I wouldn’t be here today.”

“The [Northwest MedStar] crew was amazing. They put me at ease and got me where I needed to be.” 

“You just don’t think that something like that would happen to you,” Alberto says. “MedStar definitely saved my life, and the membership has saved me thousands of dollars. I’d like to give them a big thanks. It’s definitely something everybody needs to have.”

To learn more about membership and the health care provider discount, visit

To view a video featuring Alberto Reyes visit:

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St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute 2014 Clinical Education Series


submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Each year, thousands of people choose St. Luke's for therapy services and care. During the clinical education events, St. Luke's experienced clinicians share best practices and knowledge with other care providers throughout the region.

Clinical Education classes are provided at St. Luke's Main Campus (Downtown) in Conference Room #200 and available over the Northwest TeleHealth Network. If you are participant in the region and want to connect over TeleHealth, please contact your local site coordinator to register for this event. Sites with video conferencing through NW TeleHealth, can register on the Resource Scheduler.

To view the 2014 calendar of upcoming educational events, visit

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WRHA Awards

Every year during the Regional Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference, we gather to celebrate exceptional individuals and their contributions to rural communities and to rural health. Awards from the Washington Rural Health Association were presented by Martin Mueller, Washington Assistant Secretary of Health. Five awards were presented this year: The Mary Selecky Friend of Rural Health Award, Nancy Webster; The Dr. John Anderson Memorial Award for Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner, Dr. Andrew Castrodale; Outstanding Contributions to Rural Health, Bruce Buckles; Leah Layne Memorial Health Leadership Award, Paul Nurick; and the Future of Rural Health Award, Maggie Douglas.

The Mary Selecky Friend of Rural Health Award

Nancy was nominated by Ulrike Berzau, St. Luke Rehabilitation Institute’s administrator, her nomination read:

Nancy is the Director of Rehabilitation and Center of Health and Education Services at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute. She has been an outstanding healthcare leader in the Inland Northwest for more than 20 years. 

She has been able to effectively use her background in recreational therapy and her Masters of Business Administration to optimize care and services.

“Nancy has spearheaded the expansion of rehabilitation therapy services at rural hospitals such as East Adams Rural Hospital, Whitman Hospital & Medical Center, and Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center by collaborating with hospital administrators and supplying therapy service coverage as needed by the communities. She has also done the same for the Providence Visiting Nurse Association home health service to ensure that high quality rehabilitation service is available to home-bound patients in remote areas throughout Spokane County.

Nancy’s commitment to rural communities also extends beyond her role as a Rehabilitation Services Director. She has served as a member of the East Region EMS and Trauma Council for the past 16 years, including serving as the Rehab Committee Chair for that duration, and serving as a vice-president and then president of the Executive Committee from 2009-2012. As the Rehabilitation Committee Chair, Nancy initiated rehabilitation case study presentations given annually at the Governor’s Steering Committee highlighting the healthcare services and providers of the many rural areas of the East Washington Region.

She is a model of excellence. With these significant contributions to Washington State’s rural communities, Nancy Webster is an exceptional candidate.

The Dr. John Anderson Memorial Award for Outstanding Rural Health Practitioner

Dr. Castrodale was nominated by Dr. Chaffee and Dr. McCarthy. Together they said:

“Andy Castrodale is a rural family doctor in every sense of the word. He was raised in the desolate place of wind, water and rock they call Grand Coulee. Coming home from college and then medical school, he recognized the need for stable healthcare.

“For the past 15 years Dr. Castrodale has been a stabilizing, visionary leader in healthcare. He founded and built an obstetrical program as the lone physician practicing obstetrics in his isolated part of the state.”

Dr.Chaffee also shared this story:

“In my first year here I had the pleasure of taking care of a four-year-old who Dr. Castrodale had delivered at 25 weeks by emergency c-section in the middle of a snowstorm. No pediatrician, no NICU, no ICU, no other physician in-house.

“So…patient is 25 weeks, ruptured, footling breach, with ‘non-reassuring fetal heart rate tracing.’ Dr. Castrodale scrubs-in with a nurse across the table from him assisting, delivers the baby, has nursing staff bag the infant until mom’s bleeding is controlled, assists with intubating the baby, gets umbilical lines in the baby, makes sure he is “stable,” finishes closing up mom, and assists in bagging the child for the three hours it takes a crew to drive through a snowstorm to transport the baby to the NICU.”

Dr. McCarthy adds:

“As John Anderson knew, and most practicing physicians know, the amount of familial support that is necessary to make this happen is amazing. Andy’s wife Sheryl, and his three children, should absolutely share this award with him as they have supported him while he provides this care.

“Andy works hard to balance all of the demands on his time, and he works hard to support his community while also supporting his family. His family allows him the community time because they have built a system which allows sharing of his skills and talents.

“The Coulee community has been gifted with Andy in the same way that Cle Elum was gifted with John Anderson. He has provided so much to the community that he deserves to be recognized for his contributions.

Outstanding Contributions to Rural Health

Bruce Buckles is the Executive Director of Aging & Adult Care of Central Washington, serving rural seniors in Adams, Chelan, Douglas, Grant, Lincoln and Okanogan Counties. These counties combined have a senior population significantly greater than the state average.

Bruce has worked tirelessly as an advocate for some of rural Washington's most vulnerable citizens. In addition to his current role, which he has held for over ten years, Bruce has been a rural hospital administrator as well as advocate for rural communities to policymakers in Olympia and Seattle. Bruce, and those under his leadership, have made a positive impact on the lives of literally thousands of rural seniors.

Bruce is considered one of the most ethical, compassionate and dedicated rural health leaders in our state.

Leah Layne Memorial Health Leadership Award

Paul was nominated by Vicky Brown, her nomination in part stated:

Paul is an outstanding advocate for rural health across our state. He is very focused on doing what is right for the patient; making sure that front-line staff have the tools to do the work that improves the health and healthcare experience of our patients and their families. At the same time, supporting innovative ways to take waste out of our processes, control expenses where we can and assuring a positive financial margin. In healthcare, we all know the mantra "no margin, no mission". As a result of Paul's leadership (& he will tell you...the entire KVH healthcare team), KVH has been recognized as a Top 20 Critical Access Hopsital in the nation. No small feat in today's healthcare environment. Paul is also very actively involved in rural health advocacy through the WSHA and strives to help others succeed in delivering a gold standard of healthcare in a rural setting.

Future of Rural Health Award

Maggie is an honors graduate from Wilbur High School in Lincoln County. She has shown exceptional leadership in supporting rural health issues. Maggie identified the need to combat bullying and raised community awareness and funding to sponsor Rachel's Challenge in Wilbur, Creston and Keller Schools in 2011 to develop a culture of kindness which is still exhibited today through "Friends of Rachel's" clubs serving the schools.

During her senior year at Wilbur School in 2012-13, Maggie served her senior project at Lincoln Hospital under the guidance of Administrator Tom Martin, to impact rural health issues. This included the development of a stroke prevention education program presented throughout Lincoln County.

She is currently working with fellow Wilbur student Liz Richardson to develop "Lincoln In Action.” This is a youth health policy forum supported by the Lincoln County Health Department, and is made up of high school students from Lincoln County with the goal of providing a youth voice in health policy issues at the county, city and school district level.

Maggie presented the “Lincoln in Action” model to the Health Department, and to the Lincoln Hospital Administrator and Board of County Commissioners, to gain support for this initiative. The board accepted the proposal, and asked the department to support the development of “Lincoln in Action.” Maggie and Liz developed by-laws, a mission statement and application packets and have met with each school district in the county to promote “Lincoln in Action's” mission and to recruit students.

Maggie is a freshman at Gonzaga University, pursuing a degree in political science with an interest in rural health. She is also serving as an intern for Representative Cathy McMorris-Rogers in her Spokane office.

Congratulations to all of this year’s winners!

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WRHA Welcomes New Board Members


The Washington Rural Health Association elected new Board members at the annual membership meeting on March 19, 2014.  Newly selected for three-year terms were Renee Jensen, Summit Pacific Medical Center; Kim Kelley, Washington State Department of Health; David Olson, Confluence Health; Tim O'Connell, Lincoln County Hospital; and Aurelia Wilson, Bogachiel Clinic.

The complete list of Board members and officers follows:

Elected Officers

Jon Smiley, President - Retired, Grandview

Konrad Capeller, Treasurer - CPA, Spokane


Board Members

Nancy Alleman - Washington Dental, Steilacoom

Cass Bilodeau - Kadlec Medical Center, Richland

Renee Jensen - Summit Pacific Medical Center, Elma

Jeff Johnson - Wipfli CPA & Consultants, Spokane

Kim Kelley - Office of Community Health Systems, DOH, Olympia

Melissa Lovell - Office of Community Health Systems, DOH, Olympia

David Olson - Confluence Health, Wenatchee

Tim O'Connell - Lincoln County Hospital, Davenport

Aurelia Wilson - Bogachiel Clinic, Forks

Alex SnowMassara - UW School of Medicine, Bainbridge Island

Thank you to all those board members whose terms have come to a close. You have truly helped the WRHA move into the future and continue to help our rural communities.

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