Liahna Armstrong and Terry Clark are seeking the Kittitas County Hospital District 1, Position 1 seat.

Name: Liahna Armstrong

Home town: Ellensburg

Example of personal/professional experience pertinent to position sought:

I am the incumbent, having served on the Board of Commissioners for a number of years, have been elected and re-elected three times, have been President and held every office of the Board, and am Chair of the Finance Committee, which has helped to keep KVH fiscally healthy. I also have substantial administrative and leadership experience in my academic life, including Dean of the College of Arts and Humanities and other managerial roles at CWU.

Why are you running for the KVH Board of Commissioners?

I am deeply committed to assuring that the residents of Kittitas County have access to excellent, affordable health care, and to fostering the professional well-being of KVH providers and employees. I have a long history of advancing those objectives and believe that my record as Commissioner, my extensive knowledge of issues in health care, my financial expertise, and my strong leadership on the Board during challenging times warrant my re-election. I am focused on the future of the organization and have made the stability and vitality of KVH my priority.

What is one example of a health care service that you believe KVH provides well and what is one where more resources maybe be required?

KVH service lines are extensive and increasing. During my tenure on the Board, we have added Dermatology and Wound Care clinics, a swing bed program for patients who need continued care in the hospital, a 24 hour in-house pharmacy, digital mammography, and expanded pediatrics. All of these services are essential. In particular, Wound Care usage has more than doubled what was anticipated, thus more staffing, larger and better work space, and special laboratory services are called for to insure patient access. Importantly, KVH’s Emergency Department is one service that is truly exceptional, with outstanding personnel and state of the art tools. It is speedily responsive to patients, and offers superior diagnostic and remedial care.

Over the past several years, KVH has increased its role in employing health care providers in the community. Are there facility changes needed to accommodate the level of service being provided?

Recently, KVH has acquired two large buildings, expanding its working space significantly: the Medical Arts Center (MAC) which has extensive capacity for providers and already houses several that have relocated from inadequate facilities; and the Radio Hill Annex to hold a number of administrative services, freeing up space in the hospital for increased patient care. Also, the areas vacated by providers moving to the MAC have opened up further space for providers. Nonetheless, as we grow, our space needs will grow, requiring more and newer areas for health care units.

Name: Terry Clark

Home town: Ellensburg

Example of a personal/professional experience pertinent to position sought:

My interest is supporting my community by bringing my experience as an accomplished Board Certified Pharmacist with a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. I have practiced Pharmacy in Kittitas County since 1979. I bring a life time of experience in the health care field including; Bi-Mart Pharmacy manager for 10 years, Director of Pharmacy at Kittitas Valley Healthcare for twenty-two years, interim management at several hospitals throughout our state.

Why are you running for the KVH Board of Commissioners?

I am running for the Hospital Commissioner position because healthcare matters. The foundation of healthcare in a community is its hospital. Several members of our community including nurses, physicians, and other support personnel encouraged me to run. Currently our board lacks a commissioner with hands on experience in a hospital.

What is one example of a health care service you feel KVH provides well and what is one where more resources may be required?

KVH recently received the Washington State Hospital Association Rural Quality award for its work on a disconnect in patient care when patients were transitioned from hospital-based care to outpatient care. A Rural Grand Rounds educational program which is an opportunity for all members of the healthcare team and community partners to review cases. This allow all members of the healthcare team to identify areas for improvement of processes and systems to increase the quality of care for our patients. This has also allowed KVH to respond to changes in some clinic practices and connecting new patients with physicians.

Retention of all staff members need more resources. There has been significant turnover of staff. This has been seen with providers as well as medical assistants. There are currently 21 positions posted which includes 5 physicians.

The value experienced by our community in the relationship with their local provider must be strengthened with meaningful retention efforts. I have personally experienced the frustration and barriers to obtaining healthcare when retention efforts fail. Provider and staff retention is a better investment than spending money recruiting and replacing providers and far less disruptive to the community. Recruiting and retention of providers will be a personal focus for me as a Commissioner. The connection between KVH and our providers must be strong and when it appears to weaken it is imperative it is addressed.

Over the past several years, KVH has increased its role in employing health care providers in the community. Are there facility changes needed to accommodate the level of service being provided?

Providers in the outpatient primary care clinics have discussed with me they do not have enough exam rooms, nurses and medical assistants to be as efficient as possible. The laboratory and imaging department are another core service of the hospital and they also need more resources to support the increase role KVH has taken in employing health care providers in the community.

Facility changes needed to accommodate the increase level of service is one the greatest challenges for KVH. The current economic environment in healthcare will continue to be a challenge for KVH. Keeping patients healthy and out of the hospital is the most efficient use of our healthcare resources. Our hospital must stay solvent while dealing with the constant changes in the cost of doing business. KVH is a public hospital district which has the duty to the taxpayers to make sure every dollar is spent as effectively as possible.

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