Summit Pacific Employees Award $6,000 in Scholarships to Local Graduates

(ELMA, WA) –Thanks to the generous nature of several Summit Pacific Medical Center employees, six local area high school seniors have been awarded a combined $6,000 in scholarships. Summit Pacific Medical Foundation oversees the scholarship fund, which has awarded nearly $70,000 in scholarships to 87 students since it was established in 1993.

Summit Pacific Medical Foundation Executive Director, John Elsner, Chief Executive Officer, Josh Martin and Diagnostic Imaging Manager and Scholarship Committee Chair, Joy Iversen attended Elma and Montesano High School awards ceremonies to present the scholarships.

The Employee Scholarship Fund is a long-standing tradition of the hospital district that supports local students in obtaining further education in the healthcare field. This fund is strictly supported by donations from Summit Pacific employees.

“This year we had enough to give scholarships to every applicant! That’s thanks to the dedication of Summit Pacific employees and their donations,” said Joy Iversen, Diagnostic Imaging Manager and Scholarship Committee Chair.

Scholarships are awarded to graduating seniors each spring. For more information or to download the scholarship applications, visit Summit Pacific’s website at

2019 Scholarship Recipients

Adriana Rojas Vargas, Elma High School: Adriana plans to attend South Puget Sound Community College as a first step in becoming a physical therapist.

Kassedy Olson, Elma High School: Kassedy plans to study dental hygiene at Eastern Washington University.

Angelica Clark, Elma High School: Angelica plans to study nursing at Grays Harbor College, then continue her education to become a nurse practitioner.

Brooke Sutherby, Elma High School: Brooke plans to attend Spokane Community College where she will study to become an ultrasound technician.

Matthew Johnson, Montesano High School: Matthew plans to attend Grays Harbor College where he will begin prerequisite work for Central Washington University’s paramedic program.

Danika Peterson, Montesano High School: Danika plans to study nursing at Saint Martin’s University.  


Forks Community Hospital gains Certification in Infection Prevention

Forks Community Hospital has received its Certification in Infection Prevention from DNV GL Healthcare. The certification recognizes completion of a risk assessment program. To complete the program, Forks Community Hospital worked with DNV GL to identify and address vulnerable areas, restructure its system management and effectively utilize resources with the goal of providing the highest-quality of health care to its patients. Receiving the certification indicates that Forks Community Hospital’s approach to infection prevention work is above industry standard.

“This certification lets our community know we have the resources and commitment to provide the best possible care for managing infection risk,” Forks Community Hospital Director of Patient Safety & Quality RN D. Dillon said. “The CIP Certification requirements build upon three important pillars: a proactive rather than reactive approach to safety, the development of a safety culture that is transparent and accountable, and engagement of all staff towards a systems-driven approach to safety.”

Summit Pacific Receives USDA Rural Development Award of Excellence

(ELMA, WA) – Summit Pacific was recently awarded the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Rural Development Award of Excellence. Summit Pacific was awarded for providing rural Washington with access to greater healthcare and for their vision and work in driving rural development.

Left to right: Kirk Pearson of USDA, Ron Hulscher, Lauri Bolton, Josh Martin and James Hansen of SPMC, Ambrea Cormier and Peter McMillin of USDA.

Summit Pacific was recognized along with their partners at Graham Construction and Blue Room Architecture & Design for their collaborative approach to construction of the Wellness Center, which resulted in the project being delivered on-time and on-budget.

The USDA provided funding for the new facility, which includes a third-floor primary care suite, expansive outpatient therapy gym, lab and diagnostic imaging services, a retail pharmacy, several community conference and education spaces, a rock-climbing wall, outdoor plaza, community fitness trail with outdoor exercise equipment and a playground.

Source: Summit Pacific

Summit Pacific Receives Tissue Donation Standards of Excellence Award

(ELMA, WA) – At the Board of Commissioners meeting on Thursday, April 25, Heidi Schaiberger, a representative from LifeNet Health presented Summit Pacific with a Tissue Donation Standards of Excellence Award.

LifeNet Health’s Tissue Donation Standards of Excellence Award is given to hospitals that achieve and sustain donation goals, based on fewest missed referrals, nurse approaches and late referrals. This award serves as a symbol to recognize Summit Pacific Medical Center for being champions of donation.

Left to right: Dr. Tammy Moore, chief clinical officer, Cecelia Tapp, director of quality and risk, Heidi Schaiberger of LifeNet Health, Nicole Simons, ED manager and Tracy Smith, acute care manager gather after being presented with the award.

“One tissue donor has the potential to save or enhance the lives of more than 150 people,” says Schaiberger. “The gifts of donation not only help patients in need but also gives hope to donor families in the hours, months and years following the loss of their loved one.”

In 2018, Summit Pacific had a Timely Referral Rate of 100 percent, which means no donation opportunities were missed due to notifying LifeNet Health too late. There were also two tissue donors, SPMC’s first donors since April 2015. “The efforts of SPMC to educate the staff and meet goals greatly
supported making tissue donation possible and helps ensure that patient’s wishes to donate are honored,” said Schaiberger.

During the award ceremony, special recognition was given to Summit Pacific Emergency Department Manager, Nicole Simons and Director of Quality and Risk, Cecelia Tapp, for their incredible leadership
and support of donation.

Schaiberger continued, “our combined efforts are critical to supporting tissue donation in the Northwest community and allowing LifeNet Health to serve thousands of patients on an annual basis. The gift of tissue donation allows members of our community to lead a healthy, productive and joyful life and our partner’s role in this process is invaluable. LifeNet Health extends our greatest thanks to Summit Pacific Medical Center for all your efforts and support of our mission to Save Lives, Restore Health and Give Hope.”


Article: Stronger Together

Rural Hospitals Uniting for Success

Source: The Physician Report. Spring 2019

Anyone traveling outside Washington State’s major population centers knows that the region is as geographically diverse as they come.

From the lavender-scented San Juan islands in the west to the forested peaks and valleys flanking the Pend Oreille River on the east, the state’s rural towns are as unique as their picturesque surroundings.

The small independent hospitals in these communities, staffed by caring local providers with a deep knowledge of the local culture, reflect the values of the regions they serve. It makes sense, then, that these rural hospitals would want to maintain their independence, even as the changing healthcare environment brings new challenges for independent hospitals and clinics.

Fifteen years ago, eight of Washington’s independent rural hospitals came together to address that challenge, asking: As rural providers become fewer and farther between, how can independent hospitals continue to serve their communities while also controlling risk, retaining staff, and improving outcomes?

The result was the Washington Rural Health Collaborative (WRHC), now comprised of 15 federally designated rural Critical Access Hospitals. Each member of the collaborative is a separately governed entity serving rural areas in Washington State, from Jefferson Healthcare in Port Townsend to Goldendale’s Klickitat Valley Health.

“Interdependence and independence are not contradictory,” states WRHC Executive Director Holly Greenwood. “Interdependence helps our member hospitals remain independent while addressing some of the key challenges faced by rural hospitals.”


Chief among these challenges is contracting, something Greenwood says has become increasingly complex in the past five years. “Payer contracting is more complex in today’s environment,” she says. “The move from volume- and encounter-based reimbursement to valuebased reimbursement with an emphasis on quality and reducing costs has accelerated the complexity.”

Additionally, she notes, today’s focus on whole-person health means that providers and payers must contract with more trained staff who have increasingly diverse credentials, further ramping up contract complexity. “The focus on wellness in healthcare often requires hospitals to have additional trained staff like care coordinators, which is something you would not have seen five years ago,” she says.

Recruiting and retaining these skilled providers is yet another challenge for rural hospitals. “There’s been pressure for the rural hospital systems to fill nontraditional gaps like dental, behavioral health, and care coordination in rural communities,” says Greenwood. “But with newer payment models, not only is it difficult to recruit skilled part-time staff, but there is often no payment mechanism to support these new roles.”

These transitions can increase risks for providers unless key infrastructure investments are made—a burden that may weigh disproportionately on independent rural hospitals. It’s no surprise that individual rural health systems struggle to recruit the talent, support, and infrastructure they need to thrive.

In this highly complex, constantly changing industry, Greenwood says, WRHC has supported physicians and hospitals in their transformation through collective action, leveraging of resources, sharing, and learning from one another. One way WRHC has helped member hospitals is through collective “upside only” payer contracts that mitigate risk and control costs, with potential for shared savings. Helping hospitals negotiate value-based payer contracts through Medicaid/Medicare and training providers to maximize reimbursement helps support recruitment, retention, and provider satisfaction. Shared staffing models and telemedicine programs help address the need for part-time providers and local care.


Along with front-line providers, hospital administrators are strained, and WRHC helps address managerial challenges like the ever-expanding need for more specialized technical skills. As electronic medical records gobble up data storage and create demand for analytics and coding expertise, WRHC is working to develop a centralized data warehouse and analytics team. Member hospitals also benefit from specialized grant-writing expertise; the WRHC pursues collective grants through the Department of Health and Health Resources and Services Administration to help rural communities serve specific local needs and fill healthcare gaps.

Hospital leaders meet regularly to share best practices and report financial outcomes and quality measures. Sharing information with other small hospitals, sometimes across hundreds of miles, translates into healthier bottom lines for all. Last year, WRHC member hospital’s direct savings increased by more than $200,000, with an average ROI of $8.21 for each dollar spent. Since tracking direct member savings began in 2014, WRHC has saved its members an estimated $6.4 million.

Stronger and more financially sound, WRHC hospitals are better able to serve the needs of their communities, and are positioned to continue improving outcomes for years to come. “It’s been a difficult journey for independent rural health systems, and physicians both employed and independent, to maximize value and to make the value base care transformation independently,” notes Greenwood. But bridging the gap between independence and interdependence allows WRHC members to thrive, individually and collectively.

“Over the last five years, we have proven that we are better together,” she says. “Our vision to support rural health systems in achieving service excellence through collaboration and innovation is at the heart of everything we do. If the sentence starts with ‘all WRHC hospitals have a need,’ then there is an opportunity to leverage WRHC’s power.

Holly Greenwood,
Executive Director,
Washington Rural Health Collaborative

Jefferson Healthcare Whittington Nominated for PSBJ 40 under 40

Port Townsend, WA – Jefferson Healthcare is proud to announce Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Financial Officer Hilary Whittington, CPA, MBA has been recognized by the Puget Sound Business Journal as a “40 Under 40” award winner.  This prestigious designation recognizes the 40 most “up and coming” leaders in our region.  Whittington oversees the finance, ancillary and support service related departments at Jefferson Healthcare.

Whittington joined Jefferson Healthcare in 2011 as Chief Financial Officer and was promoted to Chief Administrative Officer in 2018.  She led Jefferson Healthcare’s financial and operational turnaround and is key member of the leadership team of one of the more dynamic rural healthcare organizations in the country.

“Hilary has been instrumental in both our growth and improvement as an organization.  She understands the critical role Jefferson Healthcare plays in our community and is a passionate advocate for the continued sustainability of rural healthcare.  In addition to all of this, Hilary is a delight to work with and we could not be more proud of her “40 under 40 recognition” said Mike Glenn, CEO at Jefferson Healthcare.

For the past 20 years the Puget Sound Business Journal has introduced 40 of Washington’s brightest and most innovative leaders of the business community.  This year’s class will be recognized at an awards ceremony September 28, 2018.

News Release PDF

Intalere Best Practices Compendium: Financial and Operational Improvement

The Washington Rural Health Collaborative is proud to again be recognized by Intalare for our ongoing commitment to excellence.

Below the text related to the award:



Washington Rural Health Collaborative (WRHC) members and staff were challenged with efficiently maximizing joint contracting to focus on high-spend contracts that encouraged vendor alignment and maximized a GPO partnership.


WRHC invested in and implemented spend analytic software to automate individual facility accounts payable spend. This solution allowed the collaborative to identify areas of alignment among all member facilities, focus on alignment of purchased services and lower operational costs among membership. Using data to drive joint contracting efforts provided the deepest savings and helped to ensure members achieve aggregate buying power. A secondary strategy was to achieve GPO alignment among WRHC facilities to support maximization of GPO use, lower
costs and improve purchasing efficiencies. Partnering with Intalere and their regional affiliate Health Resource Services (HRS) was key to showing the value of GPO alignment and ensuring member facilities were recognized as a group when accessing applicable GPO contracts.


More than $180 million in purchased services spend was identified and categorized into actionable scopes of service. In addition, 600 vendor consolidation opportunities were highlighted. To drive the success of this work, WRHC is strategically partnering with Intalere and HRS to assist in achieving vendor alignment and cost reduction initiatives based on the data and needs of WRHC member facilities.

Click here for the Link to the INTALERE Award

Click here for the full report



Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics Welcomes New OB/GYN – Carey Martens, D.O.

SHELTON, Wash. –  Mountain View Women’s Health and Mason General Hospital are pleased to welcome board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist Carey Martens, D.O., who joined their medical and surgical staff on May 1, 2018.  Prior to this Dr. Martens had a private practice in Aberdeen, WA that focused on bringing state-of-the-art, minimally-invasive gynecologic procedures and the evidence-based practice of obstetrics and gynecology to a rural area.

Dr. Martens was the 9th surgeon in the United States, and 22nd in the world, to use the revolutionary Olympus Contained Tissue Extraction System. He also developed a brand of ‘compassionate, close to home care’ that allowed area residents to get the best care possible, locally.  For co-management of patients, Dr. Martens maintains close relationships with the University of Washington and the Franciscan Health system.  His special clinical interests include minimally-invasive gynecological procedures to treat incontinence, heavy cycles, and pelvic pain. He also has an interest and experience in teaching medical students, residents and nurse midwives.

Dr. Martens and his wife, Natasha have two daughters who attend school in the area.  During his free time he enjoys performance racing with his wife and traveling with his family.

MGH&FC is approved by the Joint Commission and is a licensed and accredited acute care hospital with a level four emergency trauma designation.  MGH&FC now offers Virtual Care ‒ 24/7.  For more information on Virtual Care or to find a health care provider, go to

CT Earns National Accreditation for Quality, Patient Safety

Prosser Memorial Hospital – a part of Prosser Memorial Health – has been awarded a three-year term of accreditation in computed tomography (CT) from the American College of Radiology (ACR). This reaccreditation was awarded following a peer-review evaluation by board-certified physicians, who assessed Prosser Memorial’s image quality, personnel qualifications, facility equipment, quality control procedures and quality assurance programs.

CT scanning is a noninvasive medical test that specifically provides clear pictures of bones and particularly soft tissues, which an ordinary X-ray doesn’t show. CT scans assist providers in diagnosing health problems such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, infectious disease and trauma and musculoskeletal disorders. The accreditation was specifically for head, neck, chest and abdomen testing in adult patients.

“This [American College of Radiology] accreditation for CT reflects our organization’s dedication to providing our patients with top-quality imaging services in a safe environment,” Prosser Memorial CT Technologist Mandy Hibbs, ARRT RT (R) (CT) (BD), said.

The ACR, founded in 1924, is a professional medical society dedicated to serving patients and society by empowering radiology professionals to advance the practice, science and professions of radiological care.


New rehab center at PeaceHealth Southwest will include car for mobility practice

On March 28, a Kia Soul was placed on the third-floor patio of the Benjamin H. McGough, MD, Inpatient Physical Rehabilitation Unit at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver. The Kia, donated by Vancouver’s Dick Hannah Dealerships, will aid PeaceHealth rehabilitation therapists in training patients dealing with newly acquired functional impairments to safely exit and enter a vehicle.

“This is an important component for our patient’s safety, independence and lifestyle after returning home into the community,” said Conny Miller, manager of rehabilitation services at PeaceHealth Southwest. “We are excited to have this tool on our floor for patients to practice with.”