Award honors Petersen’s achievements throughout her career
The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) presented Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) CEO Julie Petersen with the 2022 Joe Hopkins Memorial Award during the association’s Annual Meeting Oct. 17. 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.
Petersen began her career in health care almost 40 years ago as a staff accountant for Group Health Cooperative in Seattle. When marriage and family moved her to eastern Washington, she landed in Richland, where she spent 15 years as the controller at Kadlec Medical Center.
“Julie has been a strong leader for rural hospitals and all hospitals in Washington for decades,” WSHA President and CEO Cassie Sauer said. “She is particularly dedicated to ensuring rural residents have access to high-quality care in every community in Washington.”
From Kadlec, Julie moved up the Yakima Valley to Prosser, where she raised her twins and learned firsthand the unique rewards and challenges of leading a rural health care delivery system, first as chief financial officer and then as chief executive officer.
It was while living in Prosser that Julie began her association with the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts (AWPHD) and WSHA.
Petersen has been a member and chair of the WSHA Rural Committee and is the Past President of AWPHD and Past Chair of WSHA. The American Hospital Association (AHA) invited Julie to be a member of its Task Force on Ensuring Healthcare for Vulnerable Communities and to represent small and rural hospitals on the AHA Regional Policy Board for region nine. Throughout her career, Petersen has been an unapologetic advocate for community hospitals and their patients.
Since 2016, Petersen has served as the CEO of Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 1 and Superintendent of Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 2.
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 Meeting. Read more about the Joe Hopkins Memorial Award at wsha.org/awards.
About Kittitas Valley Healthcare
Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 1 (dba Kittitas Valley Healthcare) is an independent public hospital district providing care to Kittitas County and surrounding areas. KVH is the only Hospital and Emergency Room serving rural Kittitas County.
In addition to traditional medical care, KVH provides and participates in multiple outreach activities throughout Kittitas County. Some in-system examples include complimentary programs such as Lactation Consultation and a 4th Trimester Resource Center provided through the KVH Birthing Place. Some out-of-system examples include cross-sector case management and significant partnerships with the Kittitas County Health Network to address social determinants of health.