Chelan, WA, January 25, 2022–-Lake Chelan Health (LCH) Board of Commissioners voted to hire Aaron Edwards as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO), during the Tuesday January 25th, 2022, Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

Over the past three months, the Board conducted a comprehensive nationwide recruitment effort with the assistance of the LCH Transition Committee that included two community members, two LCH employees and two Board members.  From over 50 interested CEO position applicants, the Board selected several candidates for virtual interviews. From the interview group, Aaron Edwards was selected for an onsite visit to meet with hospital employees, medical staff, and the Board.  He also received a tour of the Lake Chelan Valley and visited the new hospital project site at Apple Blossom Drive in Chelan.

Aaron Edwards is anticipated to join Lake Chelan Health on April 18th, 2022.  He comes to LCH from Ferry County Hospital where he has been servings as CEO for the past five years. Ferry County Hospital has emergency, medical and long-term care services, assisted living facility, independent pharmacy, and a rural health clinic.  Mr. Edward’s experience includes oversight of a Critical Access Hospital similar to LCH, as well as developing patient service lines, revenues and local, and state and federal legislators’ support. He has a Bachelor of Arts in Communications, a Master’s Degree in Health Policy and Administration, and holds a National Rural Health Association Rural CEO Certification.

“We are excited to welcome Aaron and his family to our hospital district and community,” said Board Chair Mary Murphy. “He brings great experience and passion for rural hospitals and community health.”

Mr. Edwards will work with Lake Chelan Health’s current Interim CEO, Emmett Schuster, to ensure a smooth transition for his arrival in April. Priority focus continues to be the new hospital construction project, which is on time and in budget, revenue growth, and quality of care.

LAKE CHELAN HEALTH BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS APPROVE CONTRACT WITH NETWORXHEALTH LLC TO HIRE INTERIM CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER

Chelan, WA, December 2, 2021–During the Tuesday November 30,2021 Board of Commissioners regularly scheduled monthly meeting, Lake Chelan Health Board of Commissioners approved a contract with NetworxHealth LLC to hire Interim Chief Executive Officer, Emmett Schuster if a permanent CEO is not appointed by January 19, 2022. Mr. Schuster has a master’s in healthcare services administration (MHSA) and is a member of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE).  Emmett Schuster brings over 25 years’ experience as CEO of rural health care facilities and Critical Access Hospitals, including hospitals in Washington State.  Mr. Schuster is not a candidate for the permanent CEO position.

The Board is currently conducting the search for a new CEO following the resignation of George Rohrich on October 23, 2021. The recruitment process for a new CEO can often take over three to six months. Transition Committee Chair and Board member Jeremy Jaech shared that “the Board and Transition Committee are making excellent progress evaluating the qualifications of CEO applicants.”

In October, the Board appointed Cheryl Cornwell, Chief Financial Officer to serve as temporary part-time Interim CEO.  Board Chair Mary Murphy shared that “Ms. Cornwell, in addition to her full-time CFO responsibilities, is managing key CEO duties very well since October 23, 2021. The Board is pleased with the work she has been able to accomplish. The Board recognizes that a full-time Interim CEO will provide the additional support necessary to keep momentum on many important projects underway now and in 2022, such as the new hospital construction, 2022 Strategic Plan, quality initiatives, and recruiting health practitioners. The full-time Interim CEO will also allow Ms. Cornwell to meet the increasing demands of her CFO duties and continuing to strengthen the finances of Lake Chelan Health.”

Co-President Pam James, on behalf of the Lake Chelan Health Guild B, presented a check in the amount of $5,000 to Jaime Minnock, Chief Nursing Officer, and the hospital at the November 30th Board of Commissioners meeting. The meeting was held virtually via zoom and the check was presented virtually in the hospital Board room. The $5,000 donation will be used to fund a Hoyer Journey Sit to Stand Lift that is needed to assist patients early on in their care recovery for mobility issues. It will greatly assist staff in the hospital to get patients mobilized for more varied daily activities aside from just lifting from bed to chair. The Rehabilitation department and  medical unit staff will be able to use this piece of equipment. Pam was accompanied by her Guild’s Co-President, Melissa Robins, Secretary Victoria Wheatley, Treasurer Nancy Parker (not pictured) and Past President Mary Ann Warren and long-time Guild B member Catherine Kent. Pam shared that Guild B wished they were able to raise more this year to donate, but with the COVID-19 challenges as they were, Guild B was glad to be able to present this $5000.00 check.

Lake Chelan Health is very grateful for the work that Guild B did to raise the funds for this equipment. Guild B for many years has also raised money for the hospital through their annual Home Tour event, which they have postponed the last two years due to the COVID pandemic.

The Washington State Department of Health of presented Lake Chelan Health EMS with an award plaque for their work related to reducing falls in the community.  Lake Chelan Health EMS is one of two hospitals in Washington to receive this  recognition award.

Falls in Washington state are the number one cause for injury.  Approximately 55% of 911 calls are related to falls. In the Lake Chelan Valley, the number one cause of injury is falls.  Approximately 200 calls ran by Lake Chelan Health EMS are related to injuries sustained from falls, which is why Ray Eickmeyer, Director of EMS and his team decided to drill down the reasons for the high volume of falls.

Some fall facts:

  • According to CDC, 1 in 4 elderly adults will fall this year
  • Among people aged 65 or up, falls account for 17% of 911 calls
  • Of these, 1 in 5 did not result in a transport
  • About 23% of patients not transported had a provider impression of “traumatic injury”
  • Up to 30% of falls cause moderate to severe injuries
  • Almost half of non-transported patients subsequently required health care within 2 weeks
  • 1 in 3 non-transported patients were seen in ED or hospitalized within 28 days of their initial fall
  • People who fall once are 2 to 3 times more likely to fall again within 1 year
  • A pilot study showed that linking older adults to community-based fall prevention program reduced fall rates by 55%

The EMS team focused on four areas to prevent falls from occurring and recurring.

  1. Reduce avoidable hospital-ED visits by 20% within 15 months
  2. Reduce hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge by 20% within 15 months
  3. Increase access/use of primary care by reducing individuals without a PCP by 20% within 15 months
  4. Prevention/intervention-reduce high risk patients from having worsening issues by reducing chronic disease patient admission rates in the hospital by 20% within 15 months

The EMS team adopted five major tactics to reach their goals, which also involved partnering with other organizations in the Lake Chelan Valley to meet the needs of residents that could not be provided by Lake Chelan Health EMS.

  • Fall Risk Screening (CDC STEDI)
  • Home Safety Assessment (remove hazards) & install ramps/handrails
  • Medication Review
  • SAIL program (and transportation to these classes)
  • LifeAlert Button installations

Community Partnerships:

  • With Chelan Rotary to provide free Ramps and install handrails in home and bathrooms
  • With the Chelan Senior Center and Lake Chelan Health Rehabilitation department who provides free Stay Active and Independent for Life (SAIL) classes at the center
  • A partnership was developed with Link Transit and Okanogan Public Health to provide free transport to SAIL classes
  • Partnering with Life Alert to allow EMS to help clients sign-up and install a Life Alert system
  • With primary care providers
  • With hospital staff

The results: There was

  • 68% reduction of avoidable ED visits
  • 95% decreased 30-day hospital re-admission rate
  • 15% increase of PCP follow-up
  • 78% Decrease in high frequency 911 callers
  • 86% improved customer experience
  • 25% decreased patient falls

Because of the high level of caring in the Lake Chelan Valley, Lake Chelan EMS has been able to make a major impact in reducing injuries sustained from preventable falls.  If you know of someone that could benefit from the Lake Chelan Health EMS Paramedicine program, please call 509-682-3300 or Call 509-682-8523 to inquire about SAIL classes.

 

Lake Chelan Health EMS has received the American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline® EMS Gold Plus Achievement Award for implementing specific quality improvement measures to treat patients who suffer severe heart attacks.

Each year, more than 250,000 people experience an ST elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI), the deadliest type of heart attack, caused by a blockage of blood flow to the heart that requires timely treatment. To prevent death, it is critical to restore blood flow as quickly as possible, either by mechanically opening the blocked vessel or by providing clot-busting medication.

The American Heart Association’s Mission: Lifeline program helps reduce barriers to prompt treatment for heart attacks – starting from when 9-1-1 is called, to EMS transport and continuing through hospital treatment and discharge. Optimal care for heart attack patients takes coordination between the individual hospital, EMS and healthcare system.

“EMTs and paramedics play a vital part in the system of care for those who have heart attacks,” said Tim Henry, M.D., Chair of the Mission: Lifeline Acute Coronary Syndrome Subcommittee. “Since they often are the first medical point of contact, they can save precious minutes of treatment time by activating the emergency response system that alerts hospitals to an incoming heart attack patient.”

Program participants apply for the award recognition by demonstrating how their organization has committed to improving quality care for STEMI patients.

“Lake Chelan Health EMS is honored to be recognized by the American Heart Association for our dedication to providing optimal care for heart attack patients,” said Ray Eickmeyer, Director of EMS. “The Mission: Lifeline program puts proven knowledge and guidelines to work on a daily basis, so patients have the best possible chance of survival.”

Cognition and Swallowing Among the Common Challenges Persisting for Many Americans After COVID-19

With an estimated 10 to 30% of COVID-19 survivors experiencing “long-haul” symptoms including brain fog and swallowing difficulties, Chelan speech-language pathologist Emily Leavens is encouraging the public to seek care from qualified experts who can help them regain their functioning and quality of life. Leavens is sharing this message in recognition of May being national Better Hearing & Speech Month (BHSM).

“The pandemic has posed so many challenges to us all as a society, but one of the persisting and most vexing ones right now is the daunting set of difficulties many people are having for months after contracting COVID-19,” said Leavens. “From brain fog, to difficulty eating and drinking, to speech and language problems, these can affect return to work, the ability to take care of one’s family, and overall recovery. Many people don’t know about the services of speech-language pathologists—professionals trained in these areas who can make a huge difference for these people. This is an important time for us to spread the word: Help is available.”

How They Help

Speech-language pathologists (SLPs) can help people with, or recovering from, COVID-19 who are having short- and longer-term difficulties in the following areas:

  • Cognition

Many COVID-19 “long-haulers” are reporting persistent brain fog as a debilitating symptom after their bout with the virus. This can prevent a return to work and impact their ability to tend to family responsibilities. SLPs can work with individuals to improve their memory, attention, organization and planning, problem solving, learning, and social communication—such as re-learning conversational rules or understanding the intent behind a message or behind nonverbal cues. The focus is on the person’s specific challenges as well as regaining the skills that are most important to their daily life and priorities.

  • Swallowing

People diagnosed with COVID-19 may experience swallowing problems that can put them at risk for choking or aspirating, which is when food goes into the lungs instead of the stomach. This may be the result of time spent on a ventilator, or it may be another side effect of the virus. SLPs use different types of tests to determine what happens when a person swallows and how the related muscles are working—helping a patient’s medical team, including the SLP, decide on the best course of action with the patient and their family. SLPs may recommend modified textures of food and drink for patients; therapy exercises to strengthen the tongue, lips, and muscles in the mouth and throat; and strategies to make eating and drinking safer, such as modifying the pace of chewing/eating, size of food, and more.

  • Communication

People diagnosed with COVID-19 are also experiencing speech and language difficulties. Some, such as those who spent a significant amount of time on a ventilator or experienced low oxygen to the brain, may have muscle weakness or reduced coordination in the muscles of the face, lips, tongue, and throat—making it difficult to talk. Others, particularly those who experienced a COVID-related stroke, may experience a language disorder called aphasia—which makes it hard for someone to understand, speak, read, or write. SLPs work with patients through targeted therapy to improve their communication and understanding.

People who have severe speech and/or language difficulties may need to find other ways to answer questions or tell people what they want, such as through gesturing with their hands, pointing to letters or pictures on a paper or board, or using a computer. These are all forms of augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). SLPs help find the appropriate AAC method to meet an individual’s needs.

Where to Find Care

SLPs work in settings that include hospitals, long- and short-term care facilities, private practices, and patients’ homes. Many SLPs are also providing their services via telehealth at this time. If you or a loved one are experiencing communication challenges, Leavens recommends letting your doctor know.

For more information, Chelan/Manson residents can contact Lake Chelan Health Rehabilitation at 509-682-8523; https://lakechelanhealth.org/speech-therapy-copy/ or visit www.asha.org/public.

 

 

Lake Chelan Health will celebrate breaking ground for the replacement hospital April 23rd at 1:30pm at our new hospital site 110 S. Apple Blossom Drive, Chelan.  The community is invited and encouraged to join us for this tremendous celebration of moving health care forward in the Lake Chelan Valley.

Chelan, WA, April 7, 2021– Lake Chelan Health Board of Commissioners appointed Jeremy Jaech to fill the vacant seat of Commissioner #5 at a Special Meeting of the Board held on April 5, 2020.

Jaech is a resident of Manson, WA and has relevant experience serving on the University of Washington Board of Regents, including serving as Chair of the regent’s advisory board on UW Medicine. Jaech focused his efforts on improving the governance of UW Medicine. “Healthcare is clearly an important issue to me and now the Chelan hospital and associated activities in the health district are of even greater interest,” said Jeremy. He will serve as Commissioner for the remainder of 2021.

The position for Commissioner #5 will be up during filing week in May for a 2-year unexpired term. Positions #2 and #3 are also up during filing week this May for the November 2021 ballot.

Founded in 1948, Lake Chelan Health hospital is a DNV accredited Critical Access Hospital with supporting Express Care and Specialty Care clinics in Chelan, Washington. The health system provides a 24-hour emergency room, surgical center, inpatient, labor and delivery services, as well as physical, speech and occupational rehabilitative therapy.

Chelan, WA, March 5, 2021– Lake Chelan Health Commissioner Phyllis Gleasman has resigned from her position.  The Commissioners and Lake Chelan Health are deeply appreciative of her years of service, dedication, and leadership.   Phyllis was a tireless champion for the replacement hospital.

Lake Chelan Health Board of Commissioners are accepting letters of interest from candidates who would like to fill the board seat vacated by Phyllis Gleasman.

Chelan County Public Hospital District No. 2 Board of Commissioners directly oversee hospital policy and governance and will appoint the new commissioner to fulfill the remaining 2021 term. The appointed member will serve until the next election.

Letters of interest should include candidate’s credentials and experience, as well as reasons why they want to serve as a Lake Chelan Health board member.

The Board of Commissioners are looking for an individual who is dedicated to moving healthcare forward in the Lake Chelan Valley and has displayed a commitment to advancing medical services offered by Lake Chelan Health.  Candidates must also have time to study, attend meetings, and serve as an advocate for projects supporting Lake Chelan Health.

Candidates must submit letters to Kylie, at PO Box 908, Chelan, WA 98816 or fax to 509-682-2452.   Letters of Interest will be accepted until position is filled. A job description is available upon request.

Founded in 1948, Lake Chelan Health hospital is a fully-accredited 25-bed Critical Access Hospital with supporting Express Care and Specialty Care clinics in Chelan, Washington.  The health system provides a 24-hour emergency room, surgical center, and inpatient services, as well as physical, speech and occupational rehabilitative therapy.