KVH Board of Commissioners

KVH commissioners Terry Clark and Jon Ward earn Health Care Governance Certification

The certificate represents awardee’s commitment to effective health care leadership.

Ellensburg, WA – March 15, 2021 – Commissioners Terry Clark and Jon Ward of Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH) have spent the last year strengthening their understanding of hospital governance and ability to enhance board effectiveness through participation in the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) and Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts (AWPHD) Health Care Governance Education program.

Terry and Jon earned the Health Care Governance certification in 2020, in a year where outreach and educational opportunities were limited.

“KVH is proud of Terry and Jon for their dedication to equipping themselves with the best skills to meet the needs of our patients and broader community”, stated Julie Petersen, Kittitas Valley Healthcare CEO. “The KVH Board of Commissioners are committed to maintaining a high quality health care system that meets the current and future healthcare needs of our community. As a team, they seek out educational opportunities and bring their unique skills to help us continually improve our operations for our employees and our patients.”

“As a newer board member the WSHA governance program was invaluable in preparing me for the role as a commissioner,” stated Commissioner Jon Ward. “Their presentations and seminars encouraged us to embrace our governance role while thinking strategically about the future vision and direction of KVH. I’m confident that having completed the program I am better prepared to serve the members of our community as we strive to grow our healthcare offerings, protect our financial viability, and support the strong management team we are fortunate to have in place at the Kittitas Valley Healthcare organization.”

KVH Commissioner Terry Clark stated “the development of leadership skills is an unremittingly obligation of the Board of Commissioners, CEO and Senior Leadership. Developing leadership skills with long term goals will allow our healthcare leadership to be proactive as needs arise. A proactive approach is what we are seeing in the delivery of the Covid-19 response in Kittitas County. This is the fundamental reason that Kittitas County is meeting and exceeding the needs of our community members with our Covid-19 response.”

WSHA and AWPHD launched the Health Care Governance Education program in 2019 to help increase the skills and expertise of those who govern Washington state health systems. This includes hospital executive leadership, members of boards of directors and public hospital districts’ elected commissioners. Forty-five individuals representing 27 hospitals and health systems across Washington State earned their Health Care Governance certification in 2020.

“As health care leaders, we have a responsibility to educate ourselves on how to best assist our hospitals and health systems in meeting the needs of our patients and the greater community,” WSHA Hospital Governing Boards Committee Chair Buffy Alegria said. “The Health Care Governance Education program is a valuable opportunity to expand our knowledge.”

About Kittitas Valley Healthcare
Situated in the heart of Washington, Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 1 provides care to Kittitas County and surrounding areas. The public hospital district is governed by a five-member elected Board of Commissioners and is almost exclusively supported by revenue generated from patient services.

Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 1 does business as Kittitas Valley Healthcare (KVH).

KVH Hospital provides 24-hour emergency care and offers inpatient and outpatient hospital services.

KVH provides care through clinics and specialty services in both Upper and Lower Kittitas County. KVH clinics include ear, nose, throat & allergy, dermatology, family medicine, internal medicine, neurology, orthopedics, pediatrics general surgery, urgent care, vascular surgery, women’s health, work place health. Specialty services provide home health, hospice, physical therapy, speech therapy and occupational therapy and wound care services.

About the Washington State Hospital Association
The Washington State Hospital Association advocates for and provides value to members in achieving their missions and improving the health of their communities. WSHA represents more than 100 hospitals and health systems in the state, including those that are non-profit, investor-owned, and county, state and military hospitals. The Quadruple Aim guides our members and our work as we strive to reduce the cost of health care and improve the patient experience, the clinician experience and the health of our communities. Visit www.wsha.org for more information.

About the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts
Founded in 1952, the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts (AWPHD) serves the fifty-six districts created by local citizens. The PHDs are comprised of hospitals, clinics, nursing homes and emergency medical services (EMS) in thirty-two Washington counties. Each public hospital district is governed by a board of publicly elected commissioners. AWPHD are professional advocates, educators and conveners to assist out members provide the highest level of care to our communities. Learn more at www.awphd.org or @AWPHDs on social media.

KVH Board Represents the Community

Four years ago, I was elected to serve on the Board of Commissioners for Hospital District 1. As KVH’s governing body, the Board sets the organization’s strategic direction, ensures that it offers high-quality services, and maintains its financial viability. As President of the Board, part of my job is to make people aware of what we have been doing.

In 2016, the Board hired a CEO that shares our vision for KVH. Instead of cutting services to protect the bottom line, we have developed new services to meet the demand in the community and keep care local. As a result of priorities set by the Board, KVH now has an outpatient pharmacy, Workplace Health, expanded physical therapy, integrated behavioral health, dermatology, wound care, an “ouchless” ER, and digital mammography. For the first time in many years, KVH clinics are accepting new patients, and for the first time ever, we are offering pediatric services.

KVH has expanded its footprint to include the Radio Hill Annex and the Medical Arts Center (MAC). For several years, KVH planned to build a new medical office building. After the election in 2016, the new Board changed direction. Our decision to purchase the MAC gives us more space at a cheaper cost, and without disrupting the existing neighborhood south of the hospital. Renovations are incorporating design ideas that were developed during brainstorming sessions for the original building. The MAC will open in early 2020, and it will be a state-of-the-art facility in which we can deliver excellent patient care and form partnerships to offer even more services to Kittitas County. It will also help us to recruit providers so that we can better meet the needs of the community in the future.

When I was elected to the Board, one of my priorities was to open lines of communication with the community. We regularly have Coffee with a Commissioner, where people can tell Board members what’s on their minds. Community members now serve on the Quality Improvement Council, the Finance Committee, and, of course, the KVH Foundation Board. We have also recently created a Patient & Family Advisory Council, where several county residents will have input on hospital operations.

There are other notable achievements behind the scenes, including the implementation of a new electronic health records system, several successful state audits, and award-winning quality improvement. All these efforts are guided by the strategic plan, which we developed in 2017 and which defines our work in terms of four key strategies: access, community engagement, partnership & collaboration, and financial sustainability. We will be revisiting the strategic plan in 2020.

Earlier this year, I attended the American Hospital Association annual meeting, and people there were concerned about the challenges facing healthcare providers, especially in rural areas. Many independent hospitals throughout the country are either closing or being absorbed into larger systems. Despite these national trends, KVH has maintained its independence and its financial stability. Even though District 1 has the lowest levy rate of any public hospital district in the state, we are the envy of many other Washington hospitals, some of which are struggling.

Ultimately, KVH’s success is due to the dedication of its many employees: the doctors, nurses, pharmacists, technicians, dieticians, housekeepers, receptionists, and administrators who do amazing work every day. From the patient perspective, the Board is probably invisible, and it should be. Rest assured that the other Board members and I are doing our best to represent the community, to make sure that KVH is a great place to work for its employees and your first choice for high-quality healthcare.

Matt Altman is President of the KVH Board of Commissioners and a professor at Central Washington University.