Organization Newsletter

May 2014

In this issue...

  1. President's Message
  2. Spokane Receives a nearly $50K Donation for a Much-Needed Vehicle
  3. Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative: Change of Business Name and Contact Information
  4. Rural Health Clinic Responds to Landslide
  5. NVH Develops Community Wellness Program
  6. Health Training’s SimMan and SimJunior Give Human Responses for Realistic Emergency Training
  7. INHS Celebrates 20 Years of Collaboration and Connecting Communities
  8. Northwest MedStar to Open Base in Brewster, Washington
  9. Multi-Family Group Treatment Studied to Help Spinal Cord Injury Victims


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: Jon Smiley
[email protected]

Officers of your organization for the new year are: Jon D. Smiley, President; David Olson, President Elect; Tim O’Connell, Treasurer; and Jeff Johnson, Secretary; Kim Kelly will assist Jeff. I look forward to a year of change not only from the standpoint of the implementation of the ACA, but also in the happenings in Washington DC and our state. There are many proposals being discussed and implemented that could affect access in our rural communities, but with this comes opportunities to fashion new systems that will provide for better access in rural Washington.

You all have opportunities to serve on the committees of our associations, so I invite you to volunteer for the work to make our association even stronger. Your association has the following committees: Awards, Finance, Membership, Communications, Bylaws and Legislative. Each committee has openings and needs your participation. Click on the committee name below to fill out the corresponding Committee Interest Form. Your information will be automatically forwarded to the corresponding committee chair.

Awards Committee
Finance Committee
Membership Committee
Communications Committee
Bylaws Committee
Legislative Commitee

With the many changes proposed in delivery systems it is a time for WRHA to have a louder voice of advocacy for the many rural communities that we serve. We need to expand our member base and work with the many other organizations that provide access in rural Washington. I would like to suggest that we work on common concerns with other associations who serve like populations. In this way, we can further our impact on regulations and legislation that could impact our communities.

During this year I would like to hear from you regarding your ideas and thoughts to make WRHA’s voice even louder regarding access to rural Washington.


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Shriners Hospitals for Children - Spokane Receives a nearly $50K Donation for a Much-Needed Vehicle

submitted by: Damon Pilgrim

[email protected]

SPOKANE, WASHINGTON (March 24, 2014) - Shriners Hospitals for Children - Spokane received some extremely generous support from the Spokane Valley Shrine Club (part of the El Katif Shriners). Combined with some additional funds generated by the 20th Annual El Katif Duck Race, the nearly $50,000 allowed the Spokane Shriners Hospital to provide a company vehicle for their physician relations efforts. The 2014 GMC Envoy, purchased with the help of George Gee in Liberty Lake, is used when traveling to visit with local providers in outlying parts of the region the hospital serves, including Washington, Idaho, Montana, Alaska, Alberta and British Columbia.

One of the primary ways that the Spokane Shriners Hospital brings its message to different areas in its vast geographic region is by maintaining close relationships and educating medical care providers about the expert specialty care and the conditions that Shriners Hospital treats. These providers can then make informed decisions, knowing that the Spokane Shriners Hospital is a premier place to refer their kids with orthopedic conditions.

Duane Cook, President of both the Spokane Valley Shrine Club and of the Duck Race said, “We had this money set aside from our various fund raisers and wanted to make sure it went to a project that would have a big impact. We discovered that a reliable vehicle would immediately and meaningfully benefit this great organization and the families it serves.”

The donation of this vehicle will actually save the hospital money, allowing it to direct more resources to where they matter most: to the children. El Katif and the hospital’s other supporting temples (separate organizations from the hospital) already use fund raisers to maintain their transportation funds. These funds assist patients who otherwise couldn’t afford transportation to the hospital for treatment. Now, in similar fashion, El Katif is helping the hospital reach these kids through closer relationships with their local provider.

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Western Washington Rural Health Care Collaborative: Change of Business Name and Contact Information

submitted by: Holly Greenwood

[email protected]

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.

The Collaborative has been in existence since 2003 and currently consists of 13 Critical Access Hospitals, all separately governed serving rural areas in Washington State. The Collaborative has a demonstrated history of delivering value to its members and the rural communities they serve by forming alliances to jointly act to improve the quality and efficiencies of health care services while reducing costs. Our strength has always been our ability to come together to achieve much more as a group than the individual members could ever hope to achieve separately.

There will be no change in the management, tax ID numbers, or billing addresses and we will continue providing the same services to our members and partners. We look forward to working with you at the Washington Rural Health Collaborative.

New business name and contract information effective immediately:

Washington Rural Health Collaborative
Holly Greenwood, Executive Director
[email protected]
(360) 346-2351

Our corporate address remains the same.

Corporate Address:
P.O. Drawer C
521 Adams Street
Morton, WA 98356

Physical Address:
Washington Rural Health Collaborative
c/o Summit Pacific Medical Center
600 E. Main St.
Elma, WA, 98541

You can also reach Holly via her assistant Jenny Kropelnicki at (360) 346-2350 or [email protected] 

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Rural Health Clinic Responds to Landslide


submitted by: Jodi Perlmutter
[email protected]


The first responders have undertaken a monumental task of rescue and recovery responding to the landslide in Oso, Washington. The Western Washington Area Health Education Center would like to recognize the work that the Darrington Clinic and Gary Schillhammer, MD are doing to respond to the landslide in neighboring Oso, Washington.

Dr. Schillhammer has served Darrington for nearly 30 years as the community’s only doctor, where he does everything from participate in mountain rescues to giving routine physicals. In recognition of his work, Dr. Schillhammer won the WRHA Mary Selecky Friend of Rural Health Award in 1997. In addition to his practice, he encourages medical students to practice rural medicine. Over the last 20 years, he has been a preceptor in the Western Washington Area Health Education Center’s Rural/Underserved Opportunities Program that places University of Washington students between the first and second years of medical school in a rural or underserved clinical site in Western Washington.

As WRHA members understand, our rural clinics continue to respond to a community’s daily medical needs throughout disaster, in addition to the medical leadership roles they provide during the crisis and recovery. As the Darrington community begins to recover from the landslide, they will need ongoing support and advocacy.

To contribute to the Darrington community’s recovery, please follow one of the links below:

Cascade Valley Hospital Foundation Disaster Relief Fund

United Way of Snohomish County Landslide Relief Fund

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NVH Develops Community Wellness Program

submitted by: Terri Orford

[email protected]

Okanogan County is one of the poorest counties in the State of Washington, and we have higher rates of people who smoke, people with respiratory illnesses, diabetes, and heart disease.

Our hospital identified that this increased reporting of chronic health conditions in our County demonstrated an opportunity for us to step in and improve the quality of life for the communities we serve.

North Valley Hospital developed a Community Wellness Program to aid in improving health related education for our community. We offer courses once a month, which are FREE to the public, and are facilitated by medical professionals ranging from our Surgeon, ER physician, Registered Dietitian and Respiratory Therapist.

We have used the power of Social Media to promote this wellness program, and it's proved to be very effective, as our first course in April is over half full already.

As we embark on this new age of healthcare, we know that a greater burden is put on our hospital to have positive outcomes for our patients, and a greater responsibility to improve the health of our community.

For more information about our Wellness Program you can visit our Facebook page at or visit our website at

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Health Training’s SimMan and SimJunior Give Human Responses for Realistic Emergency Training

Submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

INHS Health Training recently acquired a father-son life like duo of training manikins. The Laerdal SimMan 3G, a wireless adult training manikin, and the SimJunior, an interactive pediatric simulator, arrived in March. The new manikins will be utilized by students and professionals for training at the Spokane training facility starting June, explained Emily Fleury, director of INHS Health Training and Community Wellness.

We want to provide the highest level of training possible to our students, Fleury said. We will utilize the manikins in all of our EMS certification courses, such as EMT, Advanced EMT and Paramedic classes. We will also use them in some of our advanced American Heart Association classes.

Unlike other manikins, the SimMan 3G and SimJunior present human vital signs and respond to students’ actions, so an instructor does not have to describe the patient’s changing condition. The students get very real reactions to the care they are delivering, explained Fleury.

To learn more about INHS Health Training and AHA course offerings, visit
To download a printable calendar of AHA courses, click Resources, Printable Calendar of Events.

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INHS Celebrates 20 Years of Collaboration and Connecting Communities



Submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Twenty years ago, Inland Northwest Health Services (INHS) was formed to provide eastern Washington’s air ambulance transport and rehabilitation services. From there eight distinct lines of business were formed and succeeded thanks to the years of incredible support and partnerships with rural hospitals and providers throughout the region.

We would like to thank the many partners, employees, customers, volunteers, patients, board members and communities who have and who will continue to shape the INHS story and continue to improve access to care for rural communities.

To learn more about INHS’s remarkable history, please view the 20-year report at

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Northwest MedStar to Open Base in Brewster, Washington

Submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Northwest MedStar is establishing an air medical base at Anderson Field Airport in Brewster, Washington to provide critical care transport services for Okanogan, Douglas and Chelan counties and beyond. The full-time base will open towards the end of May, 2014.

This is another opportunity for Northwest MedStar to collaborate with the local health care community throughout north central Washington, said Eveline Bisson, program director for Northwest MedStar. We look forward to providing more immediate critical care transport services to meet the needs of our shared patients.

Northwest MedStar will position an EC-135 air medical helicopter and critical care flight crew at Anderson Field Airport. This will be Northwest MedStar’s sixth base.

We’re very pleased to see Northwest MedStar come to our community, stated Three Rivers Hospital CEO Bud Hufnagel. This commitment will provide increased critical care access to the entire district and enhance our mutual objective of providing essential care to the communities we serve.

Collaboration with local emergency medical agencies continues. We have worked closely with Northwest MedStar since their inception and value our partnership in patient care, said Cindy Button, EMT-P, director of service for Aero Methow Rescue Service. We are honored to work with MedStar’s professional, competent and reliable staff and welcome them to our county.

The announcement also received praise from Mid-Valley Hospital Administrator Mike Billing. Northwest MedStar placing a base for helicopter critical care transport services at the Brewster airport will greatly enhance life-saving efforts for all residents living in the greater Okanogan region.

Similar to the analysis done for the Moses Lake and Palouse base, Northwest MedStar continually reviews the needs of its coverage area and in collaboration with our hospital and EMS partners across the north central Washington region, determined a need in the area that is best served by a helicopter base.

We look forward to the opening of Northwest MedStar’s new base in north central Washington, said Kevin Abel, Lake Chelan Community Hospital CEO. Our patients have often benefited from Northwest MedStar’s critical care transport team. It’s been a privilege to work with their team for the past two decades, and we welcome the opportunity to continue and expand our partnership as we care for our patients.

Having this new base closer in our region is crucial in improving the process of safely and quickly transporting our critical patients, stated Linda Michel, administrator at North Valley Hospital in Tonasket. Our community greatly appreciates Northwest MedStar’s dedication to health and wellness of the people we serve.

With this announcement, Northwest MedStar operates six bases: Brewster, Spokane, Moses Lake, the Tri-Cities and Palouse regions in Washington and the Missoula, Montana base that went operational on April 2, 2014.

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Multi-Family Group Treatment Studied to Help Spinal Cord Injury Victims

Submitted by: Jerrie Heyamoto
[email protected]

Every year, severe trauma caused by motor vehicle accidents, falls, violence and sports results in more than 12,000 spinal cord injuries in the United States, mostly in young men. Those dealing with this life-changing condition may soon have a better way to cope, thanks to a new collaborative research project by Washington State University Spokane and St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

Spinal cord injury impacts so many aspects of a person’s health and daily life, and we’ve recognized that more could be done to support this population, said WSU Professor of Psychology Dennis Dyck, who leads the project with Douglas Weeks, senior research investigator at St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute.

The researchers will conduct a clinical trial to establish whether multi-family group treatment, a psychoeducational intervention originally developed for schizophrenia, can help improve the quality of life of persons with spinal cord injury and their caregivers. The two-year project is funded through a $289,495 psychosocial research grant from the Craig H. Neilsen Foundation, a private grant making foundation that focuses on spinal cord injury research and rehabilitation.

We want to see if an intervention that provides more focus on psychological support is going to have a positive impact on the lives of patients and their caregivers, said Weeks, adding that spinal cord injury puts particular stress on family members who are suddenly thrust into the role of caregiver.

For information on the study, visit:
For a list of other St. Luke studies visit

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