WSHA presents Columbia County Health System, Ocean Beach Hospital & Medical Clinics with award for rural quality

July 6, 2023

On June 28, the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) presented Columbia County Health System and Ocean Beach Hospital & Medical Clinics with its annual Rural Quality Everyday Extraordinary Award. The award recognizes hospital projects that display excellence across five dimensions: significance, data-driven approach, culture of safety, results and scalability. The two award recipients tied in receiving top marks for their impactful projects. The association recognized the hospitals at its Rural Hospital Leadership Conference at Campbell’s Resort in Chelan.

Columbia County Health System in Dayton, Wash., demonstrated an innovative approach to improving patient care through its Palliative Care program. Its Palliative Care team sought to improve the quality of life for their patients living with serious illness. Program leaders set goals to reduce emergency department utilization, support end-of-life planning decisions and address spiritual care needs. The resulting program facilitated patient autonomy, access to information and choice. Program data showed a reduction in emergency department utilization for patients in the program and facilitated documentation of care goals and wishes. Patients and their families gave high praise to the program.

Ocean Beach Hospital in Ilwaco, Wash., used population data to identify diabetes as a significant and under-treated condition in its community. In late 2022, the hospital launched a quality improvement project designed to increase patient engagement in diabetes-related services. The resulting program included improved clinic process flows to ensure that patients were referred to diabetes self-management education. Data showed that more patients enrolled in the diabetes education program in the first quarter of 2023 than in all of 2022.

“Both award recipients demonstrated a proactive approach to meet the needs of their patients,” said Darcy Jaffe, WSHA senior vice president for safety and quality. “They recognized challenges in their communities and created programs that reached outside the walls of the hospital to improve the health of their patients.”

The two award-winning projects are among seven from across the state nominated for this honor. The other nominees included EvergreenHealth Monroe for its substance use recovery center and infection prevention program, MultiCare Yakima Memorial Hospital for increasing patient language access and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw for its improved lactation services


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