Memorial recognized for best in class for obstetrical care

Several of Washington State’s largest employers are recognizing Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital for its superior obstetrical care.  A program called “Grand Rounds in Washington State” monitors trends in publically reported quality and safety issues including:  overuse of the Emergency Department, readmissions, obstetrical care, and cardiac, cancer and spine care.

Human resources consultant Mercer collaborated with The Boeing Company, Microsoft, Costco, Starbucks, the Washington State Health Care Authority, the Carpenters Trust and King County to create the Grand Rounds program.  Grand Rounds is a three year project that identifies “Best in Class” programs to improve the health of all Washington residents.  Representatives from Mercer and the Carpenters Trust presented Memorial with an award on May 29th.

“Memorial has one of the best c-section rates in the country and is second in the state for vaginal births after caesarian,” said Dr. Jeff Thompson, senior consultant with Mercer.   “You are improving health, delivering better care and reducing cost which is what is needed in health care today.”

When compared to other hospitals statewide, Memorial stood out in several categories:  deliveries, low risk caesarian sections, vaginal birth after caesarian section, and 37 to 39-week early elective deliveries. The table shows the statewide number or goal compared to Memorial’s numbers:


Metric Statewide # or goal Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
Deliveries 84,000 per year 2,878 per year (3% of total deliveries statewide)
Low risk caesarian sections Less than 20% 13.3% with a decreasing trend
Vaginal birth after caesarian section Greater than 20% 38.6% with an increasing trend (2nd best in state)
37-39 week early elective delivery Less than 5% 0.5%  (best in state)


“We have a terrific team of nurses and support staff that are responsible for the great outcomes we are seeing at Memorial,” said Roger Rowles, MD, medical director for the Family Birthplace at Memorial.  “Our success can also be attributed to the fact that we have consistent staffing—a team that’s been together for several years and the great financial and emotional support from the administration at Memorial.”

The next step will be for Memorial to work with the Grand Rounds collaborative to explore ways to share best practices across the state to improve outcomes for mothers and babies.

“We are grateful to Dr. Rowles for his leadership at Memorial and statewide on issues pertaining to obstetrical care and perinatal health,” said Sandy Dahl, Vice President and Chief Clinical Officer at Memorial.  “We are fortunate to have such skilled providers in our community who work with us to provide the best possible care for our patients.”

Chasing Rainbows Part 1

Chasing Rainbows Part 1

By Branden Johnson

Listening to nature and the sound of the line whistling out as a cast is gracefully pitched above the water are a few sensations long time fishermen yearn for during their off season.  Each great fishing adventure can only begin with the angler.  Without the angler, there is no adventure.  The great fishing adventure I want to share with you begins with a hospice patient named Dennis Franks.


The first time I heard about Dennis Franks, I received a volunteer assignment that explained his diagnosis, age, phone number, address, and included one of his wishes.  Dennis had a wish to fish.  I gave one of our hospice volunteers a call who might be willing to assist on our pursuit to chase rainbows; Mr. Bob Issak.  We discussed the situation and Bob, being an outdoors enthusiast, agreed.    Needless to say, I felt an urgency to grant Dennis’s wish to go catch a fish, fly rod or not.  So, off we went to fish Tim’s Pond.


On our way to Tim’s Pond, Dennis shared stories with Bob and I about mining for opal in Australia and many other life adventures.  The stories are countless and sharing them becomes natural on a fishing trip.


We arrived at our fishing destination.  The wind burst through the truck door as we opened it to make our first steps towards catching our bounty.  The wind whipped across the top of Tim’s Pond crashing into our faces, even blowing over our lawn chairs.  The elements were against us but we pushed forward with our rods and reels, determined and steadfast.  We tried to take our minds off our wind battered faces with Bob Issak’s homemade elk jerky and ice cold refreshments.  To no avail, we gave up on our pursuit for our MONSTER rainbow and took off back down the highway.  Dennis, Bob and I had a blast even though we didn’t catch anything.  On the way home, Dennis encouraged us that we would catch something on our next fishing adventure.  We dropped Dennis off and made plans for another outing.  Our rainbow was still eluding our grasp.

By Branden Johnson