Memorial board agrees to move forward with Virginia Mason

Contacts: Shannon Dininny, Memorial Communications, (509) 577-5051

Memorial Family of Services board agrees to move forward with Virginia Mason
Affiliation subject to completion of definitive agreement, regulatory approval

YAKIMA – The Memorial Family of Services Board of Trustees voted unanimously July 28, 2015, to move forward with an affiliation with Virginia Mason Health System, subject to completion of a definitive agreement that must then be approved by both the Memorial and Virginia Mason boards.

The two organizations anticipate successful completion of that agreement, which will outline how they will work together, in about 60 days. The final agreement may also require state and/or federal review and approval.

Memorial and Virginia Mason share similar values and cultures, as well as a commitment to innovation, and view a potential relationship as an opportunity to create a broader network of care that better serves both organizations’ communities.

Partnerships in health care are occurring across the country as a way to improve service, lower costs and respond to health care reform. Ultimately, these collaborations benefit the patients and communities they serve.

The Memorial Board of Trustees views a strategic partnership as an opportunity for Memorial – and Yakima – to maintain access to high-quality healthcare, improve access to specialty care, advance physician recruitment and expand our financial, clinical and information systems resources. Such a partnership also ensures that state-of-the-art medicine continues in this community.

About Memorial Family of Services
Memorial Family of Services is the largest employer in Central Washington’s Yakima County, with some 2,500 employees who share the organization’s core purpose: to inspire people to thrive. Memorial Family of Services includes Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital – a 226-bed, acute-care, nonprofit community hospital – as well as primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, nationally-recognized home health and hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Visit Memorial online at or on Facebook (, Twitter ( or Pinterest (


This social media trend may have deadly consequences

1sunburn artJuly 29, 2015—A dangerous new trend has emerged on the summer social media scene: sunburn art.

This type of body art is created by exposing certain parts of the body to the sun without using proper sun protection. The result is a sunburn in the shape of a particular image, design or pattern, and people are sharing photos of them all over the Internet. While the sunburn snapshots may make for a popular Instagram post, the Skin Cancer Foundation spoke out against the trend in a recent press release.

Sunburns are both painful and dangerous, according to the foundation, and the public should avoid them because of the deadly risk they carry. Sunburns not only cause DNA damage and accelerate skin aging—they also increase the lifetime risk of skin cancer, including melanoma, the most deadly type. In fact, getting 5 or more sunburns while young increases a person’s lifetime risk for melanoma by 80 percent.

The foundation recommends adopting a complete daily sun protection regimen to avoid sunburn. This includes:

  • Seeking shade, especially between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Covering up with clothing, a broad-brimmed hat and sunglasses that block ultraviolet (UV) rays.
  • Using sunscreen every day. Choose a sunscreen with a sun protection factor (SPF) of at least 15.


The take-home message
When it comes to sunburns, prevention is the best option. And while a sunburn design may fade with time, the risk of skin cancer does not.

However, if you do get a sunburn, it’s important to know how to treat it. You may harm your skin even more if you handle your burn incorrectly.

This is how you treat a sunburn, according to the National Institutes of Health and the American Academy of Dermatology:

  • Cool down. Try a cool shower or bath. Or wet clean rags and place them on the burn.
  • Moisturize. Moisturizing cream with aloe vera or soy may soothe unblistered skin. Cortisone creams may help reduce inflammation. But avoid anything containing benzocaine or lidocaine.
  • Let pores breathe. Do not use butter, petroleum jelly (like Vaseline) or other oil-based products. These can block pores so that heat and sweat cannot escape, which can lead to infection.
  • Drink up. Sunburns dry you out, so drink more water than usual to avoid dehydration.
  • Don’t pop blisters. Blisters mean you have a 2nd-degree burn, and popping them can only cause more damage. Let them heal on their own.
  • Try pain relievers. Over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, help to relieve pain from sunburn. Do not give aspirin to kids under 18.
  • Get comfortable. Wear loose cotton clothing.

If you have a fever, call a doctor right away. Also call if you are showing signs of shock, heat exhaustion, dehydration or another serious reaction.


Buy a Dairy Queen Blizzard and change a life!

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is one of 170 Children’s Miracle Network hospitals serving ill and injured children across the U.S. and Canada and is the CMN hospital for Central Washington. Thousands of families have received care at Memorial’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, Pediatric Unit and at Children’s Village, a home away from home for children with special health care needs.

Children’s Miracle Network has numerous business partners whose employees and customers raise money for CMN hospitals. These are people pitching in at the local level to support local services.

One of those partners in our community is Dairy Queen. Tom Tierney promotes Miracle Treat Day, which is July 30, 2015.

Dairy Queen supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

$1 or more of every Blizzard Treat sold July 30 to go to children’s health care

Buy a Dairy Queen Blizzard Treat and change a life!

July 30 is Miracle Treat Day, and Dairy Queen will be donating $1 or more from every Blizzard Treat purchase to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

This is the 10th annual Miracle Treat Day. DQ stores in Yakima, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Union Gap, Wapato, Toppenish and Grandview are participating, as well as stores in Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and Walla Walla. In Oregon, DQ stores in Hermiston, Pendleton and Milton-Freewater are taking part.

The money raised helps to support Children’s Village, which serves children with special health care needs. It also helps to support the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Unit at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, your Children’s Miracle Network hospital for Central Washington.

For more information, visit or The Memorial Foundation’s website at

Remember, this money stays in our local community to treat and care for local kids.



Get ready for fall sports with these tips!

You and your kids may have spent lazy days by the pool or lounging on the couch in cool, air-conditioned homes this summer.  Sounds great, right? Until it’s time for those student-athletes of yours to hit the field again in top sports shape.

Student athletes need to be prepared to hit the ground running when they return to fall practices, and coaches have limited time to educate and condition them. However, there are steps runners and players can take – and parents can oversee – to ensure they are ready for the rigor of practices and games and avoid injuries.

Joel Buffum of Memorial’s Sports Medicine Advantage offers some tips to be sports-ready this fall.


What kind of exercise should they start with to gear up for practices and games?

Start with some easy aerobic exercises and work up to interval work or independent drills that condition the body to sweat early and cool the body. Adjust activities to prepare for the sport; sitting during the summer can be as restrictive as sitting during the school day. Muscles that are not prepped to elongate for running or sprinting activities are at higher risk for musculoskeletal injury. This means that stretching can help prevent the first strain or sprain of the school year.

It’s still hot outside. What steps should they be taking to protect themselves from the heat?

Drink water throughout the day! Chugging water before practice isn’t comfortable, effective or safe. Drink water throughout the day and don’t supplement water intake with sugary drinks.

Also, while it’s unlikely that heat exhaustion will be a problem, it’s important to recognize the signs so that it doesn’t become a medical issue:

  • excessive sweating
  • extreme thirst
  • weakness
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • headaches
  • muscle cramps
  • light headedness.

It’s important to cool these individuals as quickly as possible. Get them into an air conditioned place or the shade, provide plenty of cool liquids, and apply cool towels to try to lower their body temperature.

If athletes ease into a sports routine before the season even starts, they’re less likely to have issues later. A good hydration guide and other tips and recommendations for staying healthy in the heat can be found online at


Yakima Urology Associates partners with Memorial Family of Services

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Monday, July 27, 2015
Contacts: Shannon Dininny, Memorial Communications, (509) 577-5051

Yakima Urology Associates partners with Memorial Family of Services

YAKIMA – Yakima Urology Associates, which provides adult and pediatric urology care, is aligning with Memorial Family of Services through a service agreement aimed at streamlining patient care and supporting the long-term availability of urology services in the Yakima Valley.

Under the new partnership, physicians from Yakima Urology Associates (YUA) will oversee and direct urology programs at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. YUA also will become part of the SignalHealth network, a clinically integrated network of care that includes independent care givers and physicians and is supported by Memorial. Memorial will operate the ambulatory surgical center located at Yakima Urology Associates, which will allow for some non-urology outpatient surgeries to be handled there.

Partnerships in health care are becoming more commonplace as providers work to maintain high-quality services, improve access to specialty care, advance physician recruitment and expand financial, clinical and information systems resources. Ultimately, these collaborations benefit patients and communities that they serve. The partnership between YUA and Memorial is the culmination of more than a year of discussions.

“Across the country, physicians are joining health systems to better position themselves to respond to health care reform and to ensure the best possible care for patients,” says Dr. Raymond Merrell, President of Yakima Urology Associates, PLLC. “We are excited about the possibilities a partnership affords to ensure the continuity of quality urological care in the Yakima Valley.”

As Memorial moves from a fee-for-service model of health care to values-based reimbursement, services must remain available locally to meet community need, Memorial CEO Russ Myers says.

“This partnership reinforces our common goal to provide critical urology services in Yakima,” Myers says. “As health care evolves, partnerships like this will be essential to improving the overall health of our population, while reducing health care costs.”
Yakima Urology Associates has been providing pediatric and adult urological services at its 31,000-square-foot clinic and surgery center, located at 2500 Racquet Lane, since June 2009. The clinic employs eight medical providers, as well as administrative, nursing and surgical staff.

Patients at Yakima Urology Associates will see no change to the process for making appointments and receiving care. The same staff will be providing care in the same location.

Yakima Urology Associates encourages anyone with questions to contact the office at (509) 249-3900.

Yakima Memorial Hospice selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model


Model aims to increase choice and quality by enabling individuals to receive palliative and curative care concurrently

Yakima, WA – Yakima Memorial Hospice has been selected to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model, announced by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. The model provides Medicare beneficiaries who qualify for coverage under the Medicare Hospice Benefit and dually eligible beneficiaries who qualify for the Medicaid Hospice Benefit the option to elect to receive supportive care services typically provided by hospice and continue to receive curative services at the same time. The announcement is part of a larger effort at HHS to transform our health care system to deliver better care, spend our dollars in a smarter way, and put patients in the center of their care.

All eligible hospices across the country were invited to apply to participate in the model. Due to robust interest, CMS expanded the model from an originally anticipated 30 Medicare-certified hospices to over 140 Medicare-certified hospices and extended the duration of the model from 3 to 5 years. This is expected to enable as many as 150,000 eligible Medicare beneficiaries with advanced cancers, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, congestive heart failure, and human immunodeficiency virus/ acquired immunodeficiency syndrome who receive services from participating hospices to experience this new option and flexibility.

Participating hospices will provide services under the model that are currently available under the Medicare hospice benefit for routine home care and respite levels of care, but cannot be separately billed under Medicare Parts A, B, and D.  Services will be available around the clock, 365 calendar days per year. Memorial will begin delivering these services will begin starting January 1, 2016.

HHS announced the project participants Monday.

More information about today’s announcement is available at

For additional information on the model or list of participating hospices, visit and

We’re hiring! Senior Director of Home Care Services

0413 MemorialFOS tab fp-k rgb

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is looking for a dynamic, visionary leader to serve as our Senior Director for Home Care Services.

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is more than just a not-for-profit, 226-bed hospital; it is a Family of Services—including Home Health, Hospice, Palliative Care, and Bereavement. A 2014 Circle of Life Award winner, Memorial’s program has a reputation for quality, innovation, active community engagement, volunteerism and support. It is this community-based approach that made our own inpatient hospice facility (Cottage in the Meadow) possible. Cottage in the Meadow provides a home-away-from-home for terminally ill patients and their loved ones when it matters most.

Memorial is committed to serving those who need care and to providing comprehensive support to terminally ill patients and their families. Simply stated…Memorial’s vision is “To create healthy communities one person at a time.”

Role Summary: The Senior Director of Home Care Services has authority over and is accountable for the overall delivery of Memorial’s home infusion, home health, hospice, palliative care and bereavement programs, including Cottage in the Meadow, our home-away-from-home for terminally ill patients. The Director has overall management responsibility for operating the service line, including program planning, revenue generation, operational analysis, financial analysis, problem resolution, personnel management and performance improvement.

Education: Bachelor’s degree in health related field, including, but not limited to, social work, nursing, therapies, administration, etc. required; Master’s Degree required.

Experience: Five years leadership experience in health care required; home care-specific experience preferred.

Licenses/Certificates/Registration: Currently licensed or certified in State of WA in appropriate field, or in process of obtaining WA license.

Location: In the Yakima Valley community you’ll discover abundant opportunities to enjoy a lifestyle that’s comparable to few other places. It’s all here, in a climate with four beautiful seasons, 300 days of sunshine and blue skies. Seattle, Portland, and Spokane are only three hours away by car, close enough to enjoy – without the challenge of a traffic-ridden daily commute.

Benefits: Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital offers competitive benefits and compensation, comprehensive ongoing training and management’s commitment to provide team members with the tools necessary to excel in their work. Among the benefits Memorial employees enjoy are medical, dental, vision, and life insurance, a generous 401K plan, a free employee wellness clinic, child care (as space is available), and leadership development and education.

Visit our website at for more information and to apply for this position. If you are excited about the opportunities the future of health care presents, we would like to talk to you.

Buy a Dairy Queen Blizzard Treat and change a life!


Dairy Queen supports Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

$1 or more of every Blizzard Treat sold July 30 to go to children’s health care

Buy a Dairy Queen Blizzard Treat and change a life!

July 30 is Miracle Treat Day, and Dairy Queen will be donating $1 or more from every Blizzard Treat purchase to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals.

This is the 10th annual Miracle Treat Day. DQ stores in Yakima, Cle Elum, Ellensburg, Union Gap, Wapato, Toppenish and Grandview are participating, as well as stores in Richland, Kennewick, Pasco and Walla Walla. In Oregon, DQ stores in Hermiston, Pendleton and Milton-Freewater are taking part.

The money raised helps to support Children’s Village, which serves children with special health care needs. It also helps to support the Neo-Natal Intensive Care Unit and Pediatric Unit at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, your Children’s Miracle Network hospital for Central Washington.

For more information, visit or The Memorial Foundation’s website at


My weight loss success story

My weight loss success story
By Julia Newman

FullSizeRenderIn February 2014, Julia Newman and her husband Kevin made the decision to do something about their weight problems. Julia thought that if she just ate better and exercised more, the weight would come off easily. But, it didn’t. After unsuccessfully trying to lose weight for a few months, she began hearing about the Memorial’s Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) through friends. “My husband was really worried about my weight and wanted to find a program or something that we could do together,” Julia said. Kevin then took the initiative and signed up both of them for the class.

Both Julia and her husband were pre-diabetic, and diabetes runs in Kevin’s family. They knew they had to do something to combat and hopefully reverse their risk for diabetes. They attended the DPP every week for sixteen weeks and then monthly for the remaining seven months of the program. For Julia and Kevin, learning how to change their health and eating habits was difficult at first. They had to learn to count all of the fat grams in their meals and write down everything they eat – and to top it off, they had to commit to 150 minutes of exercise each week. They soon learned that the DPP is not about “dieting” but about making a lifestyle change. Inspired, they came together as a team to address their weight problems, which brought them closer together.

Another motivator for joining the class was the membership discount at the Yakima Family YMCA. Julia said that the discounted membership was one thing that enticed her to sign up for the DPP. Class participants receive a discounted membership at the YMCA – $25/month for an individual and $35/month for a couple. The class also gave them tools to keep them on their weight loss journey even when there was a setback. “We learned ways to persevere even when we felt like we couldn’t, which was new for us. Usually, we’d get derailed and it would stay that way” said Julia.

Since completing the class, Julia has lost a total of 100 pounds and is continuing to take off the weight. Her husband has lost 50 pounds and they both have seen changes in their health: their cholesterol levels have dropped significantly, as well as their blood pressure and blood sugar. Julia is also amazed at how well she can tolerate the heat now; she never thought she’d complete her first 5k run but has completed three races to date.

She wants people to know that it is possible to change your lifestyle and accomplish things that you never thought possible. “It does take some determination but it’s well worth it.” She is singing the praises of the DPP throughout her department at Memorial and has even started weight loss challenges within the CRM and Patient Access departments.

On a typical day, Julia has protein smoothies for breakfast and a hard-boiled egg, almonds for a mid-day snack and eats plenty of veggies and lean proteins like chicken or salmon for dinner. One of Julia’s favorite dinner recipes is the Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca and you can find the recipe here. She finally added that “If I can do it, anyone can do it! And what’s great, it’s FREE!”

Interested? Learn more about the Diabetes Prevention Program at Memorial >>

Julia Newman is an Authorization Referral Specialist in Patient Access at Memorial.


Spaghetti Squash Puttanesca

Recipe courtesy of Good Housekeeping

Total Time: 30 minutes

Makes 4 main-dish servings

245 calories per serving

1 large spaghetti squash

1 pint grape or cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters

½ cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly slice, plus additional leaves for garnish

10 oz. (2 cans) white or light tuna in water, drained and flaked

¼ pitted Kalamata olives, chopped

1 Tbsp. drained capers, coarsely chopped

1 Tbsp. olive oil

2 tsp. red wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Grated Parmesan cheese

  1. Place squash in 9-inch glass pie plate; pierce 6 times with sharp knife. Microwave on High 5 to 6 minutes per pound, about 20 minutes, or until squash is tender when pierced with knife. Cool 10 minutes for easier handling.
  2. Meanwhile, in bowl, mix tomatoes, basil leaves, tuna, olives, capers, oil, vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt, and ¼ tsp. pepper until combined.
  3. Cut squash lengthwise in half; remove and discard seeds. With fork, scrape flesh to separate into strands and place in large bowl; discard shell. Drain squash if necessary. Add ¼ tsp. salt and ¼ tsp. pepper; toss.
  4. Divide squash among 4 bowls. Top with tomato mixture; garnish with basil and Parmesan.

Each serving:

17 g protein

28 g carbohydrate

8 g total fat (2 g saturated)

5 g fiber

24 mg cholesterol

705 mg sodium

Skin Cancer: Tips for preventing it and lowering your risk

It’s definitely summer.  We’re already seeing high temperatures, and people who work and play outside need to take precautions to stay safe in the sun and to protect themselves against skin cancer. Dr. Thomas Boyd of North Star Lodge offers tips for preventing skin cancers, including melanoma.

How many people get skin cancer?

Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers. About 3.5 million cases of basal and squamous cell skin cancer are diagnosed in this country each year. The American Cancer Society estimates that melanoma, a more dangerous type of skin cancer, will account for more than 73,000 cases of skin cancer in 2015.

What is melanoma?

  • Melanoma is a cancer that begins in the melanocytes – the cells that produce the skin coloring or pigment known as melanin. Melanin helps protect the deeper layers of the skin from the harmful effects of the sun.
  • Melanoma is almost always curable when it is found in its very early stages.  The five-year survival rate for people whose melanoma is detected and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes is 98 percent.

What are the risk factors for skin cancer?

The risk for getting skin cancer is real.  The American Academy of Dermatology estimates one in five Americans will develop skin cancer.  Risk factors include:

  • Unprotected and/or excessive exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun or tanning beds
  • Pale complexion (difficulty tanning, easily sunburned, natural red or blond hair color)
  • Occupational exposures to coal tar, pitch, creosote, arsenic compounds, or radium
  • You or other members of your family have had skin cancers
  • Multiple or unusual moles
  • Severe sunburns in the past

What are the signs and symptoms of skin cancer?

  • Any change on your skin, especially in the size or color of a mole, growth, or spot, or a new growth (even if it has no color)
  • Scaliness, oozing, bleeding, or change in the appearance of a bump or nodule
  • The spread of pigmentation (color) beyond its border, such as dark coloring that spreads past the edge of a mole or mark
  • A change in sensation, such as itchiness, tenderness, or pain

Can skin cancer be prevented?

You can still exercise and enjoy the outdoors while using sun safety at the same time.

  • Avoid the sun between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
  • Look for shade, especially in the middle of the day when the sun’s rays are strongest. Practice the shadow rule and teach it to children. If your shadow is shorter than you, the sun’s rays are at their strongest.
  • Wear protective clothing when you are out in the sun. Choose comfortable clothes made of tightly woven fabrics that you cannot see through when held up to a light.
  • Use sunscreen and lip balm with a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15 or higher. Apply a generous amount of sunscreen and reapply every 2 hours and after swimming, toweling dry, or sweating. Use sunscreen even on hazy or overcast days.
  • Cover your head with a wide-brimmed hat, shading your face, ears, and neck.
  • Wear sunglasses with 99% to 100% UV absorption to provide optimal protection for the eyes and the surrounding skin.
  • Avoid other sources of UV light. Tanning beds and sun lamps are dangerous. They also damage your skin in other ways.
  • Check your skin every month for odd marks, moles, or sores that will not heal. Pay extra attention to areas that get a lot of sun, such as your hands, arms, and back. Ask your doctor to check your skin during regular physical exams or at least once a year.

How is skin cancer treated?

Treatment depends on the size, depth and location of the cancer.

  • Surgery – cancerous mole removed
  • Radiation, if surgery isn’t an option
  • Biological therapy to stimulate the immune system to kill cancer cells