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The Role of the Social Worker

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Social workers play an important role on care teams, because they can do psychosocial assessments for patients.  Often these assessments identify outstanding challenges that a patient is facing.  Then social workers can work collaboratively with the patient and provider to provide guidance and education to improve patient experience and outcome. For those who do not regularly work with medical social workers, here is an overview of their role.

Social Worker

What Settings Do They Work In?
Depending on the organization, social workers can be found in outpatient and inpatient settings.  One social worker may be on staff at a clinic with a vulnerable population.  Other social workers may work with a variety clinics to support patients as they move between departments.  Precise staffing of social workers depends on the needs throughout the individual health care organization.  Nursing homes also have social workers who support the facility residents and their families throughout their stay.

What Do They Do?
Usually, social workers only see the patients who have been referred to them.  During the first conversation with a patient, a social worker typically does a psychosocial assessment.  The results of this assessment help to determine what support the patient needs from the social worker.  Although patients will need different levels of support, social workers will usually assist with care coordination and behavioral health services.

Care coordination needs vary.  Some patients will seek continuing care within the same organization.  Others will return to their established provider.  Another group of patients will need to identify new providers to transition care to.  While specifics differ, social workers can help coordinate a patient’s care in each of these scenarios.  When needed, they will guide the patient through the organization’s medical records release process.  Additionally social workers may contact outside organizations to discuss a patient’s medical care or identify appropriate providers to transition care to.

After an initial assessment, a social worker may offer continuing behavioral health services to a patient depending on their needs.  As a part of an interdisciplinary medical team, social workers will work collaboratively with other providers to identify and address issues that need continuing support.

What’s Their Educational Background?
Social workers in health care settings typically have a master’s degree in social work.  To provide clinical care, they must be licensed with the state’s department of health.

 

By providing psychosocial assessments, social workers can identify challenges and support a patient as they navigate the health care system.  The insights from a medical social worker can help patients achieve better outcomes.


Healthcare Social Workers. United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 30 March 2016, https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes211022.htm. Accessed February 10, 2017.
Medical Social Work. Wikipedia, 7 December 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medical_social_work. Accessed February 11, 2017.
Social Workers. United States Department of Labor: Bureau of Labor Statistics, 17 December 2015, https://www.bls.gov/ooh/community-and-social-service/social-workers.htm. Accessed February 11, 2017.
Social Work Profession. National Association of Social Workers, https://www.socialworkers.org/pressroom/features/general/profession.asp. Accessed February 11, 2017.

Streamline Your Referral Process

Effective patient care relies on a patient’s referrals between primary and specialty care. Primary care Photo credit www.ccPix.comproviders refer patients out to specialists for their help identifying an appropriate care plan. Specialists may refer patients between disciplines for further assistance with the patient’s care. Since referrals between providers facilitate a patient moving between medical disciplines, healthcare organizations should have strong referral process. Below are some broad questions to help create a referral process that will work well for your organization.

What are the limitations around referrals?

Start with the first step of the process. Identify how your organization can receive referrals. Many organizations accept faxed or mailed referrals. Some also accept referrals within a shared electronic medical records system.

Clinically, identify which conditions your providers can see and which ones they cannot. While this is a simple step, it helps staff identify misdirected or inappropriate referrals. Also consider any exclusions to receiving care in your clinic. Does the patient need to meet any clinical standards to be seen by one of your providers? Also, consider if there are any questionnaires, tests, or imaging that a patient needs to complete before being scheduled.

What information do we need about the patient in order to process this referral?

When a referral has complete information, staff can better triage the referral and contact the patient.

Obtaining required private health information helps to ensure that the patient’s first appointment is beneficial. Recognizing these requirements early in the referral process will help clinical staff explain what information is needed prior to beginning of their care.

What about insurance?

Insurance is a tricky topic. After all, each healthcare organization negotiates their own contracts with different insurance companies. To avoid future complications, it is important that a patient’s insurance be identified during the referral process. Including this information will help staff identify if the patient’s insurance is contracted—or what additional payment options are. Staff should be aware of all potential payment options so that they can give patients correct information while scheduling.

Healthcare leaders can strengthen their organizational referral process by identifying referral limitations, information, and insurance requirements. Then leaders should share it with their front line staff. Specific answers will vary depending on organizational needs. Yet considering and sharing these answers will help staff quickly triage the referral and contact the patient.

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Community Highlight: Sunnyside


Tucked in Yakima County, Sunnyside is a city with 6.63 square miles and a unique history.  The name “Sunnyside” was borrowed from a nearby canal project.  When they named the town, residents also believed that the Sunnyside Canal would help irrigate the surrounding area.  Unfortunately, the project was pulled after the 1893 economic crash.

Around the same time period, the German Baptist Progressive Brethren chose Sunnyside as the new location for their Christian colony.  After buying the town’s development company, they put morality clauses into the deed of every piece of land that they sold.  The city was officially incorporated into Washington state in September 1902.

Proximity
Located in central Washington, Sunnyside is 177 miles southeast of Seattle and 225 miles southwest of Spokane.  Sunnyside is also 181 miles northeast of Portland.

Population
The 2010 U.S. Census listed 15,858 residents living in Sunnyside. 2015 population estimates indicate that the population is closer to 16,325.
Climate
Sunnyside has a unique cold desert climate. During the summer, Sunnyside is warm and dry. Average summer temperatures range from the mid-40s to the low 90s.  Winter temperatures are dry and cold.  Average winter temperatures range from the low 20s to the low 40s.  Regardless of the season, the city averages 1 inch of precipitation per month (or 12 inches per year.)

Education
The Sunnyside School District has 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, 1 high school.  Nearby colleges include the Yakima Valley Community College and Central Washington University.

Activities
Outdoor enthusiasts love Sunnyside’s proximity to Mount Rainier National Park.  (The middle of the park is only 100 miles northwest of the city.)   The Hanford Reach National Monument also offers hunting, fishing, and boating opportunities.   For those who prefer different options, there’s the Sunnyside Historical Museum and the Steppe Cellars Winery.  Each December, Sunnyside hosts annual Lighted Farm Implement Parade, which features decorated pieces of farm equipment. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience that many wait all year for.
In the late 19th century, the German Brethren chose Sunnyside as a beautiful respite for their Christian colony.  Since then, the city has changed, a lot.  Yet it still offers unique benefits to residents and visitors alike.  It offers warm summers and cold winters; many people find these seasonal signals comforting. Annually it only averages 12 inches of precipitation.  Additionally, with 16,000+ residents the city is perpetually growing and changing.   Take time to see what today’s Sunnyside looks like, and help imagine what the city will look like in the future.

 


Becker, Paula. “Sunnyside Incorporates on September 16, 1902.” February 27, 2003. (http://www.historylink.org/File/5316) retrieved September 25, 2016.

City-Data.com. “Sunnyside, Washington.” (http://www.city-data.com/city/Sunnyside-Washington.html) retrieved September 25, 2016.

Spring Harvest Fiber Mill. “Events.” 2013. (http://www.springharvestmill.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=8&Itemid=119) retrieved September 25, 2016.

Steppe Cellars.  “About Us.” 2014. (http://www.steppecellars.com/about-steppe-cellars-winery) retrieved September 25, 2016.

Sunnyside School District. “Sunnyside School District: Learning Today for a Better Tomorrow.” (http://www.sunnysideschools.org/) retrieved September 25, 2016.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. “Hanford Reach National Monument.”  May 3, 2013. (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Hanford_Reach/Visit/Plan_Your_Visit.html) retrieved September 29, 2016.

Wikipedia. “Sunnyside, Washington.” August 31, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnyside,_Washington) retrieved September 25, 2016.

Introduction to the Olympic Medical Center

Centered in Clallam County, Washington, Olympic Medical Center provides primary and specialty care to more than 70,000 residents.  Since its 1951 founding, the organization continues to meet the health needs its local community.

Mission and Values
Olympic Medical Center’s mission is working together to provide excellence in healthcare. The organization focuses on improving individual patient experience, improving the community’s health, and financial stewardship.  Additional organizational values include quality, safety, teamwork, compassion, respect, integrity, and stewardship.

History
Olympic Medical Center has advocated for the health of local residents since it was founded in November 1951.  As the community’s needs grew and changed, so did Olympic Medical Center.  After joining the Washington Trauma Designated Hospital System in 1995, Olympic Medical Center became a Level 3 trauma center.  It is one of two Level 3 trauma centers on the Olympic Peninsula
In 2007, Olympic Medical Center advocated for the health of its community when it took over ownership of a Virginia Mason primary care clinic.  This move ensured that thousands of residents maintained access to primary care services.  Clallam County residents passed a 2008 tax levy to reinvest money into Olympic Medical Center.  Funds helped support the emergency, maternity, and other hospital services.   It also helped the organization continue to serve the uninsured and recruit and retain physicians.

Locations and Scope of Services
Today’s Olympic Medical Center offers comprehensive medical care throughout Clallam County and west Jefferson County.  The hospital offers labor and delivery services, a surgical center, acute care, and a Level 3 trauma emergency room.  There are also 12 clinics in Port Angeles and Sequim that provide outpatient care including: primary care, cardiac, imaging, cancer care, rehabilitation therapy, laboratory services, and nutrition education.  Throughout its 66 year history, Olympic Medical Center has grown to meet the needs of the local community.  Regionally, the organization is a top medical provider and one of the largest employers with over one thousand employees.

Clallam County is one of the Washington state’s more scenic areas.  Throughout the area there is easy access to many of the state’s natural wonders including the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic National Forest, the Dungeness Spit, and many more.  For the past 6 decades, Olympic Medical Center has played an important role of meeting community health needs by providing medical care to over 70,000 residents.  Physicians and staff at the medical center get the opportunity to work in a large organization with a local community focus.


Clallam County, Washington. Wikipedia, 20 December 2016, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clallam_County,_Washington. Accessed January 8, 2017.
History. Olympic Medical Center, 2017, http://www.olympicmedical.org/default.aspx?ID=12. Accessed January 8, 2017.
Mission| Vision| Values. Olympic Medical Center, 2017, http://www.olympicmedical.org/default.aspx?ID=111. Accessed January 8, 2017.
Olympic Medical Center. Olympic Medical Center, 2017, http://www.olympicmedical.org. Accessed January 8, 2017.
OMP Clinics in Port Angeles and Sequim. Olympic Medical Center, 2017, http://www.olympicmedical.org/default.aspx?ID=69. Accessed January 8, 2017.

Two Organizations Helping Washington Communities with Health Care

More than 122,000 people moved to Washington state in 2016, which is the largest population increase since 2007.  Within the state, metropolitan counties saw higher increases than rural counties.  Yet these numbers prove that the population of Washington state continues to change.  Demographic changes often also indicate changing medical needs; after all, more health care in needed to serve more people. In western Washington, Neighborcare and Sea Mar Community Health Centers are continuing in their decades-long path to serve their local communities.Community Health Doctor

Neighborcare
History:

For over 40 years, the non-profit Neighborcare has been providing health care to low income and uninsured individuals and families, immigrants, seniors, and the homeless. Neighborcare has 4 core values: social justice, cultural sensitivity, community, and excellence. The organization’s ultimate goal is 100% access and zero health disparities.
Locations:

Neighborcare clinics are concentrated in Seattle neighborhoods with the highest health disparities.  Currently, the organization has 28 medical, dental, and school-based clinics throughout Seattle and Vashon Island.
Services:

With its wide variety of services, Neighborcare strives to provide a health care home for their patients. The organization offers primary medical and dental care, pediatrics, geriatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, behavioral health services, and more.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers
History:

Sea Mar began with a conversation between local Latino leaders about different ways to provide health care services to Spanish speaking residents. The first Sea Mar clinic opened in Seattle’s South Park neighborhood in 1978. Sea Mar has been a non-profit organization since its beginning in 1976.  Since its inception, the organization has continued to grow and change with the surrounding communities.  Unlike Neighborcare, Sea Mar Community Health Centers operates clinics outside of the greater Seattle region.
Locations:

Sea Mar operates 33 medical clinics and 19 dental clinics in 11 Washington counties.
Services:

Sea Mar offers medical, dental, and behavioral health care.  Additionally, many locations also offer laboratory, radiology, pharmacy, health education, long term care, maternity care, classes, and more.

For decades, Sea Mar Community Health Centers and Neighborcare have been providing vital health services to local populations that need support.  While both organizations began in Seattle, Sea Mar has expanded to operate many clinics throughout western Washington.  Neighborcare still is concentrated in Seattle, and its twelve school based clinics provide needed medical support for vulnerable children and teenagers.  Both organizations are models for how to take care of patients and provide needed services, regardless of ability to pay.

 


Neighborcare. “About Us.” 2016. (http://www.neighborcare.org/about-us) retrieved November 6, 2016.

Neighborcare. “Clinics & Staff.” 2016. (http://www.neighborcare.org/clinics) retrieved November 6, 2016.

Neighborcare. “Medical Clinics.” 2016. (http://www.neighborcare.org/clinics/medical) retrieved November 6, 2016.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers. “History.” (http://www.seamarchc.org/static_pages/history.php) retrieved November 6, 2016.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers. “Services/Locations.” 2015. (http://www.seamar.org/service_location.php) retrieved November 5, 2016.

Sea Mar Community Health Centers. “Welcome to Sea Mar Community Health Centers.” 2015. (http://www.seamarchc.org/) retrieved November 5, 2016.

State of Washington. “2016 Population Trends.” September 2016. (http://www.ofm.wa.gov/pop/april1/poptrends.pdf) retrieved November 6, 2016.Community Health Doctor

How to Understand 3 Types of Health Insurance Changes

Open enrollment, contract negotiations, and documentation changes impact a patient’s health insurance.  Sometimes the changes are big; sometimes they’re small.  Since healthcare organizations see hundreds or thousands of patients, it’s important that to understand and prepare for each type of change on a large scale.

Open Enrollment:  During open enrollment, patients can change their insurance plans or coverage levels through an employer sponsored plan or through a health insurance exchange.  Employers may also announce that they’ve changed the company that provides benefits to their employees.  In this scenario, the patient is aware of the voluntary or involuntary change.

Contract Negotiations: Annually, many healthcare organizations may renegotiate contracts with insurance companies for the following year. These discussions frequently relate to changes in reimbursement rates and patient coverage levels. Proactive patients will often be aware of the upcoming changes, but other insurance plan members may not be aware of the changes.  When organizations and insurance companies terminate their contracts, it’s important to identify all affected patients as soon as possible.  Although this is rare, it may mean that the patient needs to transfer their care elsewhere in order for the insurance company to pay for it.

Minor Documentation Changes: Although the biggest changes happen early in the year, insurance companies regularly make changes.  These minor changes often impact a slim percentage of patients in a particular situation.  With these month-to-month changes, the insurance companies are typically requesting more or different documentation from healthcare offices before the company will authorize a particular aspect of the patient’s care.

Responding to these Insurance Changes

Front line staff can capture most insurance updates by asking the patient about their insurance information.  Anyone who schedules or checks in patients should routinely confirm the patient’s insurance coverage with every visit.  If possible, staff should also copy the insurance card to store in the electronic medical record or in the patient’s file. Generally, staff should copy a patient’s insurance card at least once per year or more frequently if it changes.  A few organizations copy the insurance card at every visit.  Since patients won’t be aware of contractual or documentation changes, offices should have a resource to track monthly and annual insurance changes. This system should be easy for front line staff to use in real time. Also, it should be detailed enough for billing or pre-authorization staff to use as a resource. Larger organizations may choose to go with a searchable web resource while smaller offices may choose to create a simple list.  Organizations will tailor the resource to fit their institutional needs.

Community Highlight: Enumclaw

Enumclaw, WA

Located in Western Washington, Enumclaw is 25 miles north Mount Rainier National Park and 41 miles northwest of Crystal Mountain. Given this location, hiking, camping, and more are easily accessible for Enumclaw residents.  Enumclaw 40 miles southeast of Seattle and 309 miles southwest of Spokane. It’s also 171 miles north of Portland.

History

Although the first settlers in the region arrived in the 1850s, Enumclaw was founded in 1879 by Frank and Mary Stevenson.  Early residents called it Stevensonville, until the couple declined the name. The city was officially incorporated in January 1913.

Population
In 2010, the U.S. Census listed the population of Enumclaw as 10,669.  2015 population estimates list  the current population as 11,609.

Education
The Enumclaw Public School District has 5 elementary schools, 2 middle schools, and 1 high school. Green River Community College also has a campus in Enumclaw.

Economy
In the 1880s and 1890s, the city relied on hops production for a sizable chunk of the economy.  When the crop failed in the 1890s, residents moved toward dairy farming which continues to make up a significant part the economy.  The most common industries in Enumclaw’s current economy include construction, healthcare, education, and manufacturing.

Climate
Enumclaw has a mild climate.  Average summer temperatures range from the mid-40s to the high 70s.  Average winter temperatures range from the low 30s to the mid-40s.  Monthly precipitation peaks around November with an average of 8 inches.  On the other hand, mid-July only averages about 1.5 inches of precipitation.

Activities
Enumclaw is nestled between Crystal Mountain, Mount Rainier National Park, Mud Mountain Dam, and Nolte State Park.  With all of these outdoor locations, Enumclaw residents have easy access to a variety of outdoor activities.  Hiking, biking, and more are offered at the dam and the parks.  During the winter, Crystal Mountain offers skiing, snowboarding, sledding, and snowshoeing.

Enumclaw hosts two annual events in July.  The King County Fair has a variety of attractions including competitions, rides, and booths.  The Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games  includes music, games, arts, and a dog show.

Enumclaw’s proximity to parks–and its mild climate–mean that residents have unending opportunities for outdoor adventure.  Those who are looking for a unique experience can test out the Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland games, which draws many visitors to the area.   Since it’s only a few hours from Seattle, Spokane, and Portland, Enumclaw offers the chance to live outside of the city without being too far away.  Make the time to explore and see what captures your imagination first.


Resources

City-data.com. “Enumclaw, Washington.” (http://www.city-data.com/city/Enumclaw-Washington.html) retrieved October 12, 2016.

City of Enumclaw. “King County Fair 2016.” (http://cityofenumclaw.net/447/King-County-Fair) retrieved October 13, 2016.

City of Enumclaw. “Visitor Information.” (http://www.ci.enumclaw.wa.us/263/Visitor-Information) retrieved October 12, 2016.

Enumclaw School District. “Headlines.” (http://www.enumclaw.wednet.edu/) retrieved October 12, 2016.

Seattle Scottish Highland Games Association. “70th Annual Pacific Northwest Scottish Highland Games and Clan Gathering.” (http://www.sshga.org/home.htm) retrieved October 13, 2016.

U.S. Army Corp of Engineers. “Mud Mountain Dam.” (http://www.nws.usace.army.mil/Missions/Civil-Works/Locks-and-Dams/Mud-Mountain-Dam/) retrieved October 13, 2016.

Washington State Parks. “Nolte State Park.” (http://parks.state.wa.us/552/Nolte) retrieved October 13, 2016.
Wikipedia. “Enumclaw, Washington.” September 26, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enumclaw,_Washington) retrieved October 12, 2016.

A Quick Guide to Group Health

See all Group Health Openings here!

For the over 60 years, Group Health Cooperative has played an important role in providing healthcare to northwest residents.  Founded in 1945 with the radical idea that healthcare should keep people healthy, the organization has led the way in the ever-changing world of healthcare and insurance.  Although skeptics initially questioned the organization’s unique mission, today’s Group Health continues to accomplish its original goal of providing high-quality, affordable healthcare.

Locations
Based in Seattle, Group Health provides care in 20 counties in Washington state and 2 counties in Idaho. Throughout these 22 counties, there are Group Health contracted medical centers, pharmacies, hospitals, and urgent care centers.

Members
There are approximately 630,000 active Group Health members.

Components of Group Health
There are 5 distinct organizations under the Group Health umbrella.
As the original piece of the organization, Group Health Cooperative has provided high-quality affordable healthcare to northwest residents since 1945.  Two-thirds of members seek care at Group-Health owned offices and clinics. Although care is available (with a referral) outside of the Group Health system, most providers refer patients to Group Health specialists.
In 1990, Group Health Options began providing a variety of health insurance options to local employers who wanted more flexibility.  Although each insurance plan varies, members usually have more choices in where to seek care.
Based in Seattle, Washington, Group Health Research Institute runs the organization’s research. Work from the Institute has helped Group Health become a national leader in treatment of certain medical conditions.
Group Health Foundation coordinates larger efforts to improve member and community health.  For example, Group Health collaborated with local public health departments to coordinate a childhood immunization initiative. supports members to develop and test innovative ideas.
Group Health Physicians is a medical professional organization that includes medical providers who work within the Group Health system.

Historical Highlights
1945: Social activists are inspired to found Group Health after hearing from Dr. Michael Shadid who founded the country’s first health cooperative in Oklahoma.
1946: The first formal membership meeting was held.
1947: Group Health opens their first hospital after buying out the Medical Security Clinic of Seattle.
1955: Group Health begins offering free Pap screenings to members.
1984: The New England Journal of Medicine recognizes Group Health for providing equal care for less money.
1991: Group Health opens Teen Pregnancy and Parenting Clinic.
1995: Group Health and Virginia Mason Medical Center partner together to improve care offered to Group Health members.
2016: Group Health members approve Kaiser Permanente’s bid to buy Group Health.  The Office of the Insurance Commissioner is reviewing this request; transition plans remain unclear.

Over 60 years ago, Group Health began challenging conventional ideas about how healthcare is supposed to work. The organization’s five components have helped Group Health become a strong force in healthcare regionally and nationally.  The organization’s longtime focus on preventative care led the way as the rest of the country’s healthcare world struggled to catch up.  It will be interesting to see where the organization goes next.

 


Crowley, Walt and HistoryLink.org Staff. “Group Health Cooperative: Part Two-Open for Business.” November 28, 2005. (http://www.historylink.org/File/7546) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Crowley, Walt and HistoryLink.org Staff. “Group Health Cooperative: Part Three-Growing Up and Out, 1952-1965.” March 25, 2006. (http://www.historylink.org/File/7659) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Crowley, Walt and HistoryLink.org Staff. “Group Health Cooperative: Part Five- Reform and Renewal, 1981-1990.” August 9, 2007. (http://www.historylink.org/File/8256) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Crowley, Walt and HistoryLink.org Staff. “Group Health Cooperative: Part Six- Marriages and Divorces, 1991-2000.” August 9, 2007. (http://www.historylink.org/File/8257) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Crowley, Walt and HistoryLink.org Staff. “Group Health Cooperative: Part Seven-New Beginnings, Old Challenges, 2001-” August 9, 2007. (http://www.historylink.org/File/8258)  retrieved November 13, 2016.
Group Health. “A Short History of Group Health.” 2016. (https://www.ghc.org/html/public/about/history.html) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Group Health. “Group Health Foundation | Childhood Immunization Initiative.” 2016. (https://www.ghc.org/html/public/foundation/immunizations) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Group Health. “Group Health Foundation.” 2016. (https://www.ghc.org/html/public/foundation) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Group Health. “Meet the Birnbaums, Two Group Health Pioneers.” 2016. (https://www.ghc.org/html/public/about/birnbaums) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Group Health. “Overview.” 2016. (https://www.ghc.org/html/public/about/overview) retrieved November 13, 2016.
Wikipedia. “Group Health Cooperative.” September 3, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Group_Health_Cooperative) retrieved November 13, 2016.

Shelton, WA Community Highlight

Mason County Court House, Shelton, WA

Located on the shores of Hammersley Inlet, Shelton is the county seat of Mason County. It’s 83 miles southwest of Seattle, and 381 miles southwest of Spokane. The city is also 133 miles north of Portland.

History
The Squaxin Island Tribe lived in Shelton long before any settlers arrived in the 1850s. David Shelton and his family were among the first settlers to arrive in the area. Originally known as Sheltonville, the area grew slowly over the next decades. In 1888, it became the county seat of Mason County. In 1890, the city was incorporated. Shelton’s logging industry began around the same time as the city was incorporated.

The twentieth century brought more change to Shelton. A fire destroyed much of downtown Shelton in 1914. Shelton General Hospital was built in 1920. In 1926, the new Northern Pacific Railroad line connected Shelton with surrounding areas, allowing local businesses to ship their products farther than before. During the 1950s and the 1960s, Shelton exported several million Christmas trees. Throughout the country, Shelton was known as Christmastown, USA. Today’s Shelton is no longer the leading exporter of Christmas trees.

Government
Shelton is the only city in the state that has a mayor/commission form of government. Instead of having a mayor and board of city commissioners, Shelton elects three city commissioners who have equal power. One of the three commissioners holds the honorary mayor title.

Population
The 2010 United States Census listed 9,834 residents living in Shelton, Washington.

Climate
Although summers are typically dry, Shelton averages 65 inches of precipitation annually. Average summer temperatures range from the high 40s to the high 70s. Average winter temperatures range from the mid-30s to the low 50s. Due to a variety of factors, the city is prone to extreme summer highs and extreme winter lows.

Economy
Shelton’s economy historically relied on farming, ranching, and logging. Dairy and oysters also played important roles. Today, Shelton’s most common industries now are retail trade, manufacturing, and agriculture.

Education
The Shelton Public School District has 3 elementary schools, 1 middle school, and 3 high schools. The nearest colleges include, the Evergreen State College and South Puget Sound Community College.

Activities
With its waterfront location, Shelton offers a variety of activities. Visit Jarrell Cove State Park for different options for outdoor adventures, including camping, hiking, and boating. The park also operates satellite parks that are accessible through Jarrell Cove’s grounds. Located in nearby Union, Washington, Hunter Farms offers seasonal events and crops for visitors to explore. Located in an old Pontiac dealership, Grove Street Brewhouse serves house-made beers and sodas. All ages are welcome at Grove Street, so it’s a great option for the whole family.


Becker, Paula. “Shelton–Thumbnail History.” September 27, 2010. (http://www.historylink.org/File/9591) retrieved October 8, 2016.

City-Data.com. “Shelton, Washington.” (http://www.city-data.com/city/Shelton-Washington.html) retrieved October 4, 2016.

Grove Street Brewhouse. “About Us.” (https://grovestreetbrewhouse.wordpress.com/about-us/) retrieved October 8, 2016

Hunter Farms. “Hunter Farms.” (http://www.hunter-farms.com/) retrieved October 8, 2016.

Mason County Forest Festival. “Mason County Forest Festival.” (http://masoncountyforestfestival.org/) retrived October 8, 2016.

SheltonGuide.com. “Things to Do.” (http://sheltonguide.com/things-to-do) retrieved October 4, 2016

Shelton School District. “Shelton School District.” (https://www.sheltonschools.org/SitePages/homepage.aspx) retrieved October 4, 2016.

Washington State Parks. “Jarrell Cove State Park.” (http://parks.state.wa.us/523/Jarrell-Cove) retrieved October 8, 2016.

Wikipedia. “Shelton, Washington.” September 23, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shelton,_Washington) retrieved October 4, 2016.

 

Introduction to the Kadlec Clinic and the Tri-Cities

The 26 locations of the Kadlec Clinic provide important primary and specialty medical care throughout 7 southeastern Washington and northeastern Oregon communities.  Centered in the Tri-Cities area, the organization operates clinics in Richland, Kennewick, Pasco, Pendleton, Hermiston, Prosser, and West Richland. Over the past 70 years, the Kadlec Clinic has grown and adapted to the community’s changing needs.

Mission
The Kadlec Clinic has a mission to provide quality healthcare by practicing its core tenets of integrity, cooperation, and respect.

Medical Specialties
Kadlec Clinic offers clinical care in 20 different specialties including pediatrics, gastroenterology, primary care, genetic counseling, and more.

History
In the 1940s, the Kadlec Clinic was created as a government-run medical facility.  Originally operated by the Atomic Energy Commission, the clinic offered medical care to the government workers of the nearby Hanford Nuclear Reactor project. Within one year of opening, the organization renamed itself after Lieutenant Colonel Henry R. Kadlec, a lead engineer in the Hanford Project, who was also the first person to die in the hospital.

In 1956, the government gave local citizens control over the facility’s future.  After a community vote the Kadlec Clinic became a self-run organization.  For the first time in its history, the Kadlec Clinic could care for everyone–not just government workers.  Throughout its history, the Kadlec Clinic has adapted to meet the changing needs of the growing Tri-Cities community.

Tri-Cities Highlights
Located in southeastern Washington, the cities of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco combine to create the Tri-Cities.  In 2010 the population of the Tri-Cities was 253,340 people. In 2016 the state government estimated that the population was 279,170.  The work completed at the Hanford Nuclear Reactor played a significant role in population growth during World War II.

Hanford Reach National Monument offers a hiking, sightseeing, wildlife, and more. Winters typically range between the low 20s to the high 40s. Summer temperatures range from the low 50s to the high 80s.  The region averages 5-7 inches of precipitation each year.

Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco each operate their own public school districts.  Columbia Basin College and Washington State University offer post-secondary education.

Having begun as a government medical facility, the history of the Kadlec Clinic is closely linked to the history of the surrounding area. Each time the Tri-Cities changed, the clinic adapted as well.  It will be interesting to watch how the healthcare organization and its surrounding area continue to evolve over time.


City-data.com. “Richland, Washington.” (http://www.city-data.com/city/Richland-Washington.html) retrieved December 9, 2016.

Kadlec Clinic. (http://www.kadlec.org) retrieved December 7, 2016.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife. “About Hanford Reach.” May 21, 2013. (https://www.fws.gov/refuge/Hanford_Reach/About.html) retrieved December 9, 2016.

Wikipedia. “Tri-Cities, Washington.” November 24, 2016. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tri-Cities,_Washington) retrieved December 8, 2016.