Employer based wellness clinics

Employer based wellness clinics are gaining in popularity in Yakima. They’re convenient for employees and helping curb health care costs. Learn more from Tanny Davenport, MD with the Healthy You clinic at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital and Matt Kollman from Memorial Physicians.

What is an employer based health clinic?

  • It’s just what the name implies.  It’s a clinic that’s located at the work site where employees can receive wellness and medical services.    The focus and scope of services vary from employer to employer.
  • Employer based clinics are not new.  In years past, they have focused on occupational health – treating workplace injuries.
  • The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act includes provisions that may encourage more employers to offer wellness programs.
  • These clinics are intended to enhance an employees’ primary care clinic.
  • They are convenient for employees, boost productivity, contain rising medical costs for employers and enhance a company’s reputation as an employer of choice.


How many exist in Yakima?

  • Some of the largest private and public employers in Yakima offer these clinics to their employees.  Memorial Physicians contracts with a company to provide physicians and nurse practitioners at Shields Bag and Printing and the City of Yakima.
  • Memorial opened its wellness clinic late last year. It’s called Healthy You.  It’s located across the street from the hospital in the West Pavilion One medical building.
  • It’s an added benefit for Memorial employees. Employees can make same day appointments. There are no co-pays, deductibles or fees for our employees.


Where do cost savings come in?

  • There are short and long term benefits.
  • Short term – employers have greater control over direct medical costs such as reducing trips to the emergency department and avoiding hospitalizations.
  • In the long run – wellness clinics can help employees manage chronic health conditions; improve their access to and the quality of health care they receive.


Energy drinks: Is the jolt worth the risk?

Energy drinks and energy shots: They’re enjoying a bull market. They make up the fastest growing segment of the beverage industry, thanks largely to teens and young adults.

But even as they’ve won over the young, these drinks are raising red flags in the medical community. Here’s what you need to know before you—or your kids—reach for one of these drinks.

What’s in them?

Energy drinks (and energy shots) are nonalcoholic beverages that contain stimulants, most notably caffeine. Other ingredients that often make the list: vitamins, herbal supplements and sweeteners. When cocoa, guarana, kola nut and yerba mate are added, they contribute something manufacturers don’t have to list: more caffeine. This means there might be more caffeine in the drinks or shots than the label states.

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, the stimulants in energy drinks don’t belong in the diets of children and adolescents. Specific health concerns for both kids and adults include:

1. Consuming too much caffeine has been linked to serious health consequences, including stroke and sudden death. It’s also associated with these adverse effects:

• In kids—potential harm to growing hearts and brains.

• In adolescents—raised blood pressure and problems sleeping.

• In pregnant women—risk for late-stage miscarriages, stillbirths and infants with small birth weights.

2. Mixing caffeine with alcohol—common among young adults, who may wrongly think caffeine cancels out alcohol’s effects—has been linked to:

• Drinking more alcohol than usual at one time.

• Underestimating how badly one is impaired by the alcohol—which could contribute to higher rates of sexual assault and driving while drunk.

Adults (other than pregnant women) can probably safely consume up to 400 milligrams of caffeine a day. A 6-ounce cup of coffee, for example, has 77 to 150 milligrams. But one 8-ounce energy drink could have anywhere from 50 to more than 500 milligrams of caffeine.

Those are some jolting figures worth noting.

Additional sources: National Institutes of Health; The Journal of the American Medical Association, Vol. 305, No.6; U.S. Food and Drug Administration

What does a Therapy Dog do?

Why do you think you are so special as a therapy dog? Well I don’t mean to toot my own horn, my name is “Tootie” after all, but I am the official National Treasure of Japan. I try not to act pretentious but sometimes my human mom says I am acting pretty pleased with myself. Because I am small, only about 18lbs, I am not intimidating to people. It’s easy for my mom to pick up me up and set me next to the patients. Mom keeps me on a strict diet so I don’t overindulge myself.


What does a Therapy Dog do? A therapy dog bridges the gap between humans. Sometimes when people are sick, or worse, they cannot articulate their feelings. When I visit people, they are able to open up and talk. They smile! Who couldn’t smile at me? They often tell me stories of the dogs in their lives. I’ve heard about Pickle the yellow lab, Sammy the big Samoyed, Rascal the naughty Scottish Terrier and Peanut the Chihuahua, just to name a few. Sometimes patients have no words at all. They just grab a hold of me and cry. I always stand very still and very strong so they can hold on as long as they need to. I try to give them my strength.


Tootie you are so soft! How do you keep your coat so nice? I do not have hair. I have fur. I carry around this thick double coat that makes me extra soft for petting. I blow my coat usually twice a year. It takes about 3 weeks to blow my undercoat and mom complains about the fuzz everywhere. The undercoat is thick, soft fur, feels like cashmere. The outer layer is a bit longer and makes me naturally waterproof. I’d love to show you outside with the ducks how waterproof I am! Here’s a picture of me looking outside at the pretty flowers at NSL. Ok…maybe I’m looking for the ducks too!


What was special about Friday’s visit? As I made my way around the Infusion area, I noticed a crowd gathering near the exit area, watching me. My fan club, perhaps? I visited all of the patients and when I got closer to the Fan Club, I saw a familiar patient. He called me by name! He was already done with his treatment but had waited for me to finish with the others so he could have a special visit with me. I was overjoyed that my new friend would wait just to say hi to me and give me some scratches. I must really be making an impression around here! I can hardly wait to see him again.



Meet Martin Bäcker, MD

As an internist at Memorial Cornerstone Medicine and a pediatrician at Pacific Crest Family Medicine, Martin Bäcker is passionate about taking care of patients. He believes as a doctor, his job is not just to treat disease, but to help people live healthier lives. After living in New York for several years, Martin now enjoys the outdoor activities such as skiing, hiking and biking that Yakima has to offer.

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Meet Vicky Jones, MD

Vicky Jones, MD

Vicky Jones is a medical oncologist and a medical director at North Star Lodge. When she began working with people who have been diagnosed with cancer, Vicky chose to approach her relationship with each patient directly, believing that it’s best to always be honest with people. She walks the path with her patients, in good times and bad. During her free time, Vicky enjoys skiing with her family and judging competitive swim meets.

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Cancer – It touches everyone. Can one motorcyclist make a difference?

About six months ago, we received an inquisitive call from a gentleman by the name of Dean Shirey.  He explained that he is a retired police officer; living on the west side of the mountains but his brother, who lived in Yakima, was diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in 2010. He went on to tell us that his brother had contacted the Cancer Care Alliance and they referred him to North Star Lodge in Yakima.  At North Star, he entered into a new chemotherapy regimen which had just been certified by the FDA and was extremely expensive and with very high insurance copays.  Without Terry’s knowledge his family met and agreed that they would sacrifice everything; sell homes, vehicles, and do anything else to help him battle his cancer.

It was no longer just Terry’s battle but one the entire family was joining as well.  A counselor met with Terry and provided him with copay assistance and basic living expenses..  This assistance was made possible by the Cancer Care Fund at North Star Lodge which is supported by private contributions to The Memorial Foundation in Yakima.

Terry lost his battle on September 11, 2012.    It was then that Dean realized that he couldn’t think of anyone who hadn’t been touched by cancer, so he planned a motorcycle ride in Terry’s honor.  His next call was to North Star Lodge to see if he could raise funds on his ride and donate them to the Cancer Care Fund.  We gladly accepted his generous offer and soon began working on his online donation page.

His ride will begin on May 28 at 10:30 AM in the east parking lot at North Star Lodge.  He will be riding the perimeter of America counter clockwise over 3 months.  He estimates that it will be 16,000 miles.  He is asking for donations to the Cancer Care Fund at The Memorial Foundation in honor of those who have been touched by cancer.  There is an online donation page located on his home page.  Anyone who wishes to follow his ride, read his blog, or see videos that he will be posting daily can do so here:  WWW.CancerRideAmerica.ORG.

Dean has been collecting pictures of loved ones whom he calls the “angels on his shoulder.” He will be taking pictures on his ride and posting them to his website.  He is also carrying a very special package, the ashes of an uncle of one of the oncology nurses at North Star Lodge, Rhonda Ruhland.  Her uncle was an avid rider who lost his battle with cancer last year.  It was because of him she rides as well.

Join Dean on this spectacular journey around the United States.

Dean  Harley