CLE ELUM, WASH., Oct. 23, 2009 – Life Support and Seattle-based Swedish Medical Center have formalized an innovative relationship that will address the need for additional health delivery services along the I-90 corridor and Greater Cle Elum area. The two non-profit organizations will soon begin working together and collaborating with the area's district hospitals – along with other community stakeholders – to develop health services reflective of the community's fast growing needs in Upper Kittitas County.
Life Support and Swedish will jointly explore the development of primary care, preventive and wellness programs, emergent care, and cardiac/stroke intervention (e.g., via telemedicine-based services such as TeleStroke and eICU®) in conjunction with the Hospital Districts. In addition, the organizations will build a long-term health delivery plan for the area and will advocate for public policy that addresses the health-care needs of rural communities.
"Our hope is that this collective effort will serve as a model for other rural communities around Washington state," said Life Support Founder and President Cheri Marusa. "Having already begun meeting with key stakeholders, the next step is to work with Swedish over the next 90 days to develop a draft program for approval by the Boards of Trustees of our respective organizations."
Swedish CEO Dr. Rod Hochman is confident this new relationship will allow all parties the chance to participate in developing innovations in rural care. "Our work with Life Support and the region's stakeholders will allow Swedish an opportunity to serve a rural community using an innovative delivery model," said Hochman. "We intend to bring the same level of high-quality care and patient safety to this area that we provide at our urban medical centers and community clinics. We are very excited to team up with Life Support to make this happen."
"This new relationship is a remarkable example of how a rural community can leverage care provided by the Hospital Districts and the resources of a large, urban-based health-care system like Swedish. We believe Cle Elum and other communities along the I-90 corridor will greatly benefit from this innovative relationship," said Life Support Board Chair Dr. Kris Nielson. "This exciting relationship with Swedish furthers our nearly decade-long effort to enhance emergency medical services and health care for Upper Kittitas County. Life Support recognizes the importance of our volunteers and the support this community has provided in these efforts. The relationship with Swedish will provide a framework for advancing Life Support's commitment to our growing community."
About Life Support
Life Support is a non-profit organization dedicated to enhancing emergency medical services and health care throughout Washington state's Upper Kittitas County. Since its inception in August 1999, the volunteer-based organization has worked to raise funds to improve the emergency medical services and health care in the 800-square-mile area and surrounding communities. Life Support, which began with five community members, has grown to more than 30 dedicated volunteers and is guided by an experienced Board of Directors. For the foreseeable future, this small, rural area will struggle to support the accelerating emergency medical services and health-care demands of the millions of travelers, recreationalists and residents who expect and need a reliable and modern medical support system. To meet the challenges of today and the demands of the future, Life Support's fund-raising and advocacy efforts are aimed at helping enable responsive emergency medical services and health care for the benefit and safety of the community, visitors, and travelers along the I-90 corridor. For more information, visit www.lifesupporti90.org.
Swedish is the largest, most comprehensive nonprofit health provider in the Greater Seattle area. It is comprised of three hospital campuses – First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard – a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center in Issaquah (near the entrance to Lake Sammamish State Park), Swedish Visiting Nurse Services, and the Swedish Physician Division – a network of more than 40 primary-care and specialty clinics, including five in east King County (Issaquah, Pine Lake, Factoria, Redmond, Crossroads, and Snoqualmie – opening in January 2010). It has also started building a new medical campus in the Issaquah Highlands just off I-90 at Exit 18. Plans call for a comprehensive ambulatory care center, five-story medical office building targeted to open in summer 2011, and an acute-care community hospital – the first phase of which is slated to open at the end of first quarter 2012. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiovascular care, cancer care, neuroscience, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research. For more information, visit www.swedish.org.