Leadership Role Guides Hospitals’ Work
Julie Petersen, CEO of PMH Medical Center in Prosser, has been elected Chair of the Washington State Hospital Association. As Chair, Petersen will preside over the Board of Trustees and lead the hospital association’s work for the coming year.
“We are excited to have Julie’s leadership on the board,” said Scott Bond, President and CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association. “She has already shown herself to be a leader on so many issues, and has impressed many of her peers with her steadfast commitment to ensuring access for Washington state residents. As CEO of a rural hospital, and as its former CFO, she has a deep understanding of the challenges hospitals are facing right now. But she is also unflinching in her perspective that all hospitals can, and should, provide high-quality care—regardless of size. This is a deeply challenging time for our members, and we are glad to have such a strong leader in Julie.”
The Washington State Hospital Association is the membership association of all 99 hospitals in Washington state. The association takes a major leadership role in issues that affect delivery, quality, accessibility, affordability and continuity of health care. It works to improve the health status of the residents of Washington State. It also engages in public policy advocacy with legislators and regulators on behalf of the Washington state hospitals.
In her speech at WSHA’s Annual Meeting as she assumed the chairmanship, Petersen talked specifically about the need to look beyond the hospital walls, change our way of doing things, and engage patients on population health challenges like obesity:
“If we are collectively lacking experience and will in this redefined world of health care, it seems to me it is in the area of population health,” Petersen said to WSHA’s assembled membership. “Populations are made up of communities, and community means friends, neighbors and relatives. If we are going lead real disruptive change in the area of population health then we have to be honest with our communities. We have to be willing to talk to individuals about being accountable for their own health choices and we need to be willing adapt our institutions to support them on that journey.”
She also stressed that hospitals must continue to advocate on behalf of our patients’ access to health care, but also that we must work just as hard to engage and empower patients in their own health.
“The strength of the Association is our ability to come together to advocate for our patients— regardless of how we are competing in our markets, regardless of our size or corporate structure, we come together passionately to act on behalf of our patients,” she said. “I would like to look back on 2015 and say that we had worked just as hard and been just as effective at helping our patients act on behalf of their own health.”
Petersen has been an active officer and member of both WSHA and the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts (AWPHD). For WSHA, she has served on many committees, including: Compensation, Public Policy, Nominating, Rural Hospital, Finance, Audit and Compliance, and the Executive Committee. She is also a board member and past president of AWPHD.