Local emergency medicine, healthcare providers honored at annual EMS awards banquet

Chelan, WA –  Saving lives when seconds count is all in a day’s work for Lake Chelan Hospital’s Emergency Medical Services caregivers. The team’s hard work and dedication to the community was celebrated at the annual EMS banquet Feb. 2 at the Chelan Senior Center. “Tonight we celebrate where we have been and get excited about where we are going,” said EMS director Ray Eickmeyer.

Local EMS service started in 1972, after the spouse of Great Griffith, Chelan, was killed a tragic motor vehicle accident. Griffith and a group of volunteers started EMS classes and helped form the Lake Chelan Valley Ambulance system, which is now part of the local hospital.

In 2018, LCCHC EMS answered a record number of response calls, almost 1,500, said Eickmeyer. “We have become a better team,” he continued, “more compassionate and community focused. The proof? We have received more thank you letters and phone calls of appreciation than in the last five years combined.”

Brad Hankins, RN, Lake Chelan Clinic administrator, and Jill Thompson, RN, received the 2018 Edward J. Armbruster Award for their foresight and vision to make a healthier community, from integrated behavior / mental health to the soon-to-be-launched community paramedicine program. Only one percent of the nation has access to this type of service, explained Eickmeyer. Hankins was one of the early EMTs in the valley and has worked in local healthcare for almost 30 years.

Steve Patonai, LCCHC CEO, awarded the 2018 Administrator’s Award to Raynor Baker for constant dedication and service. Raynor has been a fulltime employee for 11 years, taking on the major role of CPR program coordinator. Raynor is a senior EMT instructor and has served with great passion and performance, said Eickmeyer.

The Director’s Award for sacrifices above and beyond the call of duty was presented to Dr. Lance Jobe. Jobe has served over 20 years, said Eickmeyer, and has unified over 23 different organizations in Chelan and Douglas counties to regionally provide the best out-of-hospital cardiac arrest rates in the country.

Rachel McCall was chosen by her EMS peers and recognized as the 2018 Personnel of the Year. McCall was described as “the hardest worker with the best attitude,” “the most encouraging co-worker I know,” “team player,” and “outstanding addition to the team.”

Eleven providers received save pins for CPR saves of patients. Five caregivers were recognized for delivering babies. Rachel McCall, Mark Schram, Greg Moser and Brandon Fogelson were recognized with first-year pins, Jared Eygabroad received his 10-year pin, and James Ashmore, Rinita Cook, Christina Eickmeyer and Ken Young earned 20-year pins. Mark Courtney of Stehekin was honored for 34 years of service as an EMT, most often as a volunteer. He is the only EMT in Stehekin.

At the conclusion of the banquet, Eickmeyer looked to the future. The ambulance organization was born out a need for rescue, and while there is still that need in 2019, he said, there is also a need for prevention and proactivity. “My vision is to show the community that they can have an EMS system that responds to them in a new, meaningful way, both as rescuers and as partners in prevention.”

Quoting Margaret Mead, he continued, “‘Never doubt that a small group of committed, thoughtful people can change the world, indeed it’s the only thing that ever has.’”

Local homeowners will pay less for hospital bonds than projected

A recent drop in interest rates means tax savings for local homeowners, who will pay approximately 33 cents per thousand for 25 years on the community’s new hospital building project. This is both a lower amount and a shorter time period than anticipated.

When the capital bond measure was passed by almost 65 percent in 2017, the hospital district projected voters would pay a rate of 38 cents per thousand for 30 years. A 4.55 percent interest rate secured by the District in December allows the hospital to pass savings on to taxpayers.

“If a home is valued at $300,000, the owner will pay just under $100 a year,” explained Jim Nelson, Bond Underwriter, from D.A. Davidson, at December’s Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC) Board meeting. Taxpayers will begin paying for the project in 2019.

“We are very pleased to have the bonds for our new hospital come in under the originally projected amount,” said Mary Signorelli, LCCHC Board Chair. “It was the Board’s priority to minimize cost to the taxpayers as much as possible on this project, and this is very good news for property owners in our Hospital District.”

In April 2017, local voters voted to approve the bond measure for $20 million to help fund construction of the new hospital facility. The remaining project costs will be funded by LCCHC, with loans from USDA, grants and the Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation.

The LCCHC Board anticipates breaking ground on the new building in fall of 2019, with occupancy in 2021. It will be built on hospital-owned property at Chelan Apple Blossom Drive, near Wal-Mart, across from Columbia Valley Community Health, and have private patient rooms, increased outpatient capacity and a larger Emergency Department. It will also have space for rehabilitative therapy, laboratory and radiology, as well as an expanded surgery department and a helicopter pad for emergency transfers.

LCCHC Board writes letter to the community

The Board of the Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC) approved a Letter to the Lake Chelan Community at their regular Board meeting on December 20, 2018. See content below. Click here for a .pdf version.

Dear Lake Chelan community,

Lake Chelan Community Hospital and Clinics (LCCHC) Board of Commissioners has been working on your behalf on three major activities which will impact health care in our community for many years to come.  These are to:

1)  enhance the health and wellness of residents and visitors,

  2)  improve quality of care to the highest standards, and

  3)  lower health care costs.

We want you to know what we are focused on, and how you can help.

What is the Board doing to prepare for our healthcare future? Our LCCHC Board and key hospital and clinic leaders met for two days in August to develop a Ten Year Vision for LCCHC. This is the most far-reaching strategic plan we have ever developed. It will be updated every year as new information emerges, but we already know enough about the rapidly-changing U.S. health care system to be able to predict numerous local effects.  Many of you are already experiencing these changes. The Board’s Ten Year Vision will safeguard LCCHC’s ability to financially thrive in the years ahead and ensure high-care quality to our community.

LCCHC is now focused on six key areas of Performance Excellence in our Vision: People, Service, Quality & Safety, Growth & Innovation, Finance, and Community.  Excellence in all six of these areas are interrelated and necessary to be successful long-term.  LCCHC employees in all areas are working to achieve measurable results. Progress will be monitored to assure that you have satisfying experiences each and every time you encounter LCCHC.

When will the Board hire a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO)? For the last 7 months, the Board has worked with B.E. Smith, a national recruitment firm, to help identify highly-skilled CEO candidates who would love to work in a small but growing rural community. We have taken the necessary time to make sure that the CEO will be the best match to help LCCHC achieve our vision and become a respected leader in our community. Our standards are high, because community expectations are high. All candidates interviewed were very qualified to fill the CEO position but did not “fit” our overall needs.

The Board has offered the CEO position to our Interim CEO, Steve Patonai. During his tenure at LCCHC we have directed Steve to make the necessary improvements to move LCCHC thoughtfully and strategically towards our Vision. As the new CEO Steve will continue these improvements. During this time of significant challenges and changes, we especially appreciate LCCHC leaders and employees working cooperatively, together, in pursuit of excellence on all levels of our organization. The Board is very confident and supportive of the direction in which we are headed under the leadership of Steve Patonai.  He is the best fit for our organization to guide us to the level needed for achievement of our goals and Vision.

When will the Board break ground for the new Health Care Facility? Thanks to the community-approved local levy in 2017 and the USDA guaranteed loan in October 2018, funding is now in place. We must now refine and finalize a detailed building plan to be sure that every detail and space will support the health needs of our community (the new Ten Year Vision).  We anticipate breaking ground in the Fall of 2019 with construction being completed in early 2021. The Board’s goal is to provide a facility built within the $44.5 million budget, in the right size and design to support innovation of the highest quality experience for all, long into the future.

What does the Board need from the community in order to succeed?  LCCHC is your local health care organization for emergency and outpatient medical services, primary and wellness care, specialty care, and a long list of health and education services. We need your support as we move forward.  Your vision of community health care needs is very important to the Board.  The merging of the Community Vision with the Board’s Ten Year Vision will provide  quality health care for everyone in the community  now and in the future. Feedback about your health care experiences will help us to continuously improve care. Please let us know how the Lake Chelan Community Hospital and Clinics can best serve you.

For a healthy Chelan Valley,

Board of Commissioners: Mary Signorelli, Phyllis Gleasman, Fred Miller, Jordana LaPorte, Mary Murphy

 

Hospital Board chooses interim Steve Patonai as permanent CEO

The Board of Directors at Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC) voted unanimously to approve a resolution naming interim CEO Steve Patonai as the organization’s permanent CEO at their regular Board meeting Dec. 20.

According to an official statement written by the Board, “For the last 7 months, the Board has worked with B.E. Smith, a national recruitment firm, to help identify highly-skilled CEO candidates who would love to work in a small but growing rural community. We have taken the necessary time to make sure that the CEO will be the best match to help LCCHC achieve our vision and become a respected leader in our community. Our standards are high, because community expectations are high. All candidates interviewed were very qualified to fill the CEO position but did not “fit” our overall needs.

“The Board has offered the CEO position to our Interim CEO, Steve Patonai. During his tenure at LCCHC we have directed Steve to make the necessary improvements to move LCCHC thoughtfully and strategically towards our Vision. As the new CEO Steve will continue these improvements. During this time of significant challenges and changes, we especially appreciate LCCHC leaders and employees working cooperatively, together, in pursuit of excellence on all levels of our organization. The Board is very confident and supportive of the direction in which we are headed under the leadership of Steve Patonai. He is the best fit for our organization to guide us to the level needed for achievement of our goals and Vision.”

Hospital administration and local law enforcement efficiently manage email threat to ensure safety for patients and caregivers

No credible threat, Chelan hospital one of dozens of businesses across nation to receive email bomb threats Thursday

Chelan, WA –  Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC) was one of many businesses and institutions across the United States and Canada that received email bomb threats Thursday, Dec. 13. According to an article on CNN, the FBI is aware of the threats and is working with law enforcement to provide assistance.

At LCCHC, workers who received emails responded by notifying the LCCHC IT Security Officer, who quickly identified the email’s source and level of threat and notified the Chelan County Sheriff’s Office. The Chelan County Sheriff Officer, LCCHC safety officer and clinic administrator did a visual inspection of both hospital buildings and the Lake Chelan Clinic. No credible threat was found.

See article from Wenatchee World here: https://www.wenatcheeworld.com/news/2018/dec/13/chelan-hospital-one-many-receive-spam-bomb-threat-email/

Hospital receives USDA funding to complete financing package for new hospital building

Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics receives USDA funding to complete financing package for new hospital building

 

Chelan, WA –  Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC) received USDA loan approval Tuesday, Oct. 23 for a total of $22,026,000 for the new hospital building project.

“This is the approval we have been waiting to receive,” said LCCHC Board Chair Mary Signorelli. “It represents the diligent work of many, led by our very capable Chief Financial Officer Vickie Bodle, and we are grateful to all involved and to the community for continued support throughout this process.

“With this approval we are able to move forward on our building process with much gratitude and excitement!”

The new hospital building project is about strategically planning for healthcare services to meet the needs of the Lake Chelan valley in the future, said Steve Patonai, LCCHC interim CEO. “Our goal is to build a facility to help patients receive the medical care they need, right here, in our community.”

Hospital district residents voted to approve a bond to help fund construction of a new hospital facility in Chelan in April 2017. The cost of the construction project is $44.5 million, and voters voted to pay $20 million. The USDA loan, which is a low-interest Department of Agriculture loan, will fund the remainder of the project, as well as grants, hospital funds and donations from the Lake Chelan Health & Wellness Foundation.

The new building, which will be located on hospital-owned property at Apple Blossom Drive, near Wal-Mart and across from the new Columbia Valley Community Health Clinic building, will have private patient rooms, larger birthing rooms, increased outpatient capacity and a larger Emergency Department. It will also have space for Rehabilitative Therapy, Laboratory and Radiology, as well as an expanded Surgery Department and a helicopter pad for emergency transfers. The fully ADA accessible hospital will be designed for cost effectiveness, said Patonai.

Architects from CollinsWoerman have made two site visits to meet with caregivers about space and design of the new facility. With recent loan approval, the architects and general contractor Bouten Construction Company will resume the design process.

“We have concept drawings that will be very helpful,” said Barry Leahy, project manager. “Our next step is to finalize those and begin the permitting process through USDA, the city of Chelan and the Department of Health. If all comes together as hoped, we hope to break ground in 2019 and complete the building in 2021.”

Bouten Construction Company, based in Spokane, has been a regional leader in healthcare construction for more than 70 years, building some of the largest and most complex facilities from eastern Washington to western Montana, as well as critical access hospitals like LCCHC.

Thanks from our Chelan School partners

Chelan Athletics would like to thank PA (Physician Assistant) Trent Lyman and the Lake Chelan Community Hospital for all their support with our student-athletes. There are many programs they provide for us.

Most recently, with all the concerns around concussions, Lyman and his staff have provided a concussion baseline test that our student-athletes take, which in return, becomes an added resource for them to use when an injury may occur. Impact testing is a program that Lyman and his staff use to assist when making a diagnosis on a concussion.

The test is $40 a student-athlete. The LCCH provides this test to all our CHS student-athletes that play contact sports free of charge.

Here you see our 2018 girls soccer team taking the baseline test. All football and girls soccer student-athletes have taken this concussion test. In the future, wrestling, girls and boys basketball, boys soccer, baseball and softball student-athletes will take the concussion baseline test before their seasons begin.

We are fortunate to have so much support in Chelan in keeping our student-athletes safer and more informed. We thank all of you for your service and GO GOATS!

Chelan hospital Board votes to approve affiliation agreement with University of Washington family medicine residency program, in partnership with Columbia Valley Community Health

Lake Chelan Community Hospital (LCCH) will become the state’s sixth host hospital and training site for a Family Medicine Residency Rural Program, the hospital Board voted at a special meeting Thursday, June 7. Beginning in August 2020, physician residents from the University of Washington’s (UW) residency program will practice at LCCH in partnership with Columbia Valley Community Health (CVCH). There will be two physicians in Chelan the first year, followed by another two in 2021, for a total of four in the valley.

The residency doctors will spend two years in Chelan and practice primarily at CVCH, spending about a third of their time at LCCH. Each resident will have a panel of patients at CVCH and work in the hospital’s emergency room, medical / surgical unit and Sanctuary addiction recovery unit. They will also deliver babies and spend a small portion of time at Confluence Health in Wenatchee finishing neurology, nephrology, cardiology and dermatology rotations.

“This program is a natural outgrowth of our two agencies’ deep commitment to Chelan and to people who choose not to live in big cities,” said Dr. Malcolm Butler, CVCH Chief Medical Officer. “It is a testimony to cooperation between CVCH and LCCHC that our medical community can win such a coveted training program.”

“What an opportunity for Lake Chelan Hospital,” said Steve Patonai, LCCHC interim CEO. “The community will benefit from this affiliation in many ways. Physician residents will bring new ideas, and it will raise the bar for all caregivers in the hospital, as well as improve patient access. It will also be a valuable recruiting tool.”

Seventy percent of residents stay within 30 miles of where they trained, explained Dr. Keri Bergeson, who will serve as the program’s rural site director. Bergeson, a family physician at CVCH, developed and championed Chelan’s affiliation with UW’s residency rural program. She has practiced in the valley for four years and worked tirelessly on the residency project since 2015

“Our biggest goal is to increase the number of physicians we have working the valley,” said Bergeson.  “We are facing a critical shortage of family care providers and hope this becomes a solution to that problem.”

Chelan’s program will provide residents, new doctors who have graduated from medical school, with the necessary clinical skills and community engagement training to make a difference in the health of their local community, said Bergeson. When they finish their residency, two more will join the program, keeping a continual flow of new physicians in the valley. Other Family Medicine Residency Rural Programs in Washington state include Cle Elum, Chehalis, Colville, Ellensburg and Port Angeles.

“We are thrilled with the hospital Board’s decision to partner with us,” said Bergeson, who explained that a residency program in Chelan is a great fit because of the many diverse services offered here. While developing the program, CVCH engaged three nationally recognized consultants, all of whom agreed Chelan is the perfect spot for such a program.

“Practicing in a town like Chelan is night and day different than practicing in Seattle or Spokane, and the best way to train doctors for this lifestyle and practice style is to train them right here,” said Butler. “Dr. Bergeson is wonderful. She brought a university to town!”

Mary Signorelli, LCCHC Board Chair expressed enthusiasm about the project. “With our Board moving forward with the UW and CVCH on this agreement, a brand-new day is dawning. All of us in the Chelan valley will, for many years, see an added dynamic to the future of medicine right here at home. This is truly a historic time for us.”

In other business, the LCCHC Board also voted to approve the CEO executive position overview presented by B.E. Smith

Jordana LaPorte sworn in as new hospital Commissioner, Board discusses update regarding CEO recruitment process

Jordana LaPorte was sworn in as the new Commissioner for the Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics (LCCHC) Board at a special meeting Thursday, May 31. “Jordana has a skill set that will be invaluable to the Board, “said Mary Signorelli, LCCHC Board Chair. “She will be an excellent addition.”

In other business, Chris Corwin from B.E. Smith, a healthcare recruiting firm consistently ranked as one of the industry’s top firms, discussed the current CEO search process with the Board. Corwin, who spent time before the meeting consulting individually with board members and LCCHC caregivers, said, “We will be looking for qualified applicants who are committed and passionate about both your organization and the community.”

The Board will review, make any changes or additions, and approve criteria suggested by B.E. Smith at its next special meeting June 7. The recruiting firm will perform external vetting and initial screening interviews to narrow down choices.

After this process, the Board will conduct video interviews of the recommended candidates, followed by onsite interviews of the top two or three individuals. The finalists will meet the LCCHC administrative team, caregivers and members of the public at this time.

Criteria for the CEO search include leadership, community involvement and experience with building projects, said Corwin, as well as the detailed list ultimately approved by the Board.

“We will take the time needed to ensure we find the right person for the job,” said Signorelli.

Hospital EMS Bike Rodeo this Saturday

Don’t miss this annual event put on by Lake Chelan Community Hospital & Clinics Emergency Medical Service (EMS). To be held from 11 AM – 2 PM at Chelan Walmart. Free event.

Free bike helmets (first come, first serve). Bike skills stations and obstacle course. Bring your own bike or use one of ours. Free drinks and snacks. Free water bottle for completing all four stations. Free basic bike check-ups. Two new bikes to be raffled.