The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) presented Confluence Health CEO Dr. Peter Rutherford with the 2021 Joe Hopkins Memorial Award during the association’s Annual Meeting eSeries event Oct. 28. The honor is bestowed annually as a lifetime achievement award for a health care leader who has made outstanding contributions to health care in the state, especially to rural health care.
Dr. Rutherford joined Wenatchee Valley Medical Center as a physician in 1990. In 2013, he led the affiliation of two competing Central Washington hospitals – Central Washington Hospital and Wenatchee Valley Medical Center – and brought them together as Confluence Health, serving as CEO of the new organization. Dr. Rutherford served as chair to the WSHA Board of Directors from 2019-2020 was recognized in 2018 as an Outstanding Leader in Health Care by the Puget Sound Business Journal.
“Dr. Rutherford is an exemplary executive who has touched the lives of so many of his neighbors in Central Washington and across the state,” WSHA President & CEO Cassie Sauer said. “This award is the association’s highest honor, and we are presenting it to him to commemorate his years of service. He takes the phrase ‘patient-centered care’ to heart and has a steadfast determination to helping patients live their healthiest lives.”
“I can think of no one more dedicated to rural healthcare, no one more passionate about patients and no one more deserving of this award,” Confluence Health Chief Nursing Officer Tracey Kasnic said. “The last 17 months have best illustrated his ability to lead an organization. Confluence Health’s journey with COVID-19 happened quickly and over a matter of few days. Dr. Rutherford was proactive and prepared his team for what was ahead. Since that time, he’s has been at the table, attended meetings, and worked to mitigate impact to providers, staff and patients. He has spent countless hours rounding with staff and providers, calling health districts and WSHA and determining guidance to set the course going forward. This has been invaluable. Most importantly, staff knows he cares, and this helps to keep them going. I know that I am better because I’ve worked with Peter Rutherford.”
Under Dr. Rutherford’s leadership, Confluence Health has grown its workforce by 60 percent, opened three new clinic locations — including an on-site partnership with a local employer — and new services and technologies. In addition to internal medicine, his clinical interest is predominantly geriatric medicine. He is dedicated to developing a health system that is financially sustainable, improves the value of patient care and ensures local access to a range of safe, high-quality services, while maintaining local leadership in health care. Outside of work, Dr. Rutherford along with his wife Karen enjoy the abundant four seasons of natural resources in the Pacific Northwest such as skiing, mountain biking, and hiking.
The Joe Hopkins Memorial Award was created in 1987 to acknowledge an individual who displays the spirit of Joe Hopkins’ vision and dedication to Washington’s hospitals, with a special focus on his interest in rural health. Each year, the award is presented at the Washington State Hospital Association Annual Member Meeting. Read more about the Joe Hopkins Memorial Award at wsha.org/awards.
About Confluence Health
Confluence Health is an integrated healthcare delivery system in North Central Washington that includes two hospitals, more than 40 medical specialties and primary care, and provides comprehensive medical care throughout North Central Washington. Confluence Health serves as the major medical provider between Seattle and Spokane. The organization is focused on delivering high-quality, safe, compassionate, and cost-effective care close to home.