Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) has enjoyed a collaborative relationship since 2008, when CMH, Dr. Sonny Park and the City of Astoria reached out to OHSU.
Since then the relationship has grown to touch cancer care, cardiology care, emergency care, general surgery and telemedicine. What began as a toe in the water has resulted in a beneficial intersection of academic and rural medicine for patients in the Lower Columbia Region.
Since 2008, oncology services at Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) in Astoria, Ore., have grown from a room in the Same Day Surgery Department, where two patients would sit receiving chemotherapy, to a full medical oncology clinic with an infusion center.
In 2015, CMH signed an agreement with the Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) Knight Cancer Program to establish the CMH/OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative. The chief goal of the Collaborative is to expand oncology services in our community by building a new cancer center located on what was John Warren Field. Follow our progress via webcam!
The OHSU Knight Cancer Program’s mission is to make Oregon’s cancer death rate the lowest in the United States. The partnership with CMH will be the first of its kind for Knight Cancer and will raise the level of cancer care in this rural area to levels once thought unattainable.
Radiation therapy is the biggest need for cancer patients in the Columbia Pacific Region. Each year, 75 to 100 people travel from our area to Portland, Longview (Wash.), or Seattle for radiation therapy. By providing this much-needed cancer treatment in our community, cancer patients will be able to receive the same excellent care and services, using the same state-of-the-art equipment and technologies currently provided at OHSU, without traveling long distances.
The CMH-OHSU Cancer Care Collaborative will allow us to offer supportive cancer care programs in the same location where patients see their physicians. This includes patient navigation; nutrition services; support groups and counseling; library and education resources; social work services; financial and logistical support; and activities such as yoga, acupuncture, massage, exercise classes and even makeovers.
The new cancer center will be a 19,000-square-foot, two-story building. In designing the new center, our goal has been to provide healing environment for all. We’ve incorporated Planetree design elements for a peaceful and comfortable atmosphere, such as lots of windows for natural light and breathtaking views of the Columbia River, and a garden for reflection and relaxation.
|Aug. 3, 2010||CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center opens in a temporary location in the CMH Health & Wellness Pavilion. OHSU Medical Oncologist Robert Raish, MD, served as medical director of the program and saw patients two days per week.|
|Jan. 2011||Astoria Development Commission awards CMH and OHSU a $300,000 urban renewal grant to help pay for tenant improvements in the Park Medical Building.|
|Oct. 18, 2011||Grand opening of the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center’s new 4,200-square-foot facility in the Park Medical Building. The new facility combined medical oncology and infusion services in one space. The project was a collaborative effort between Columbia Memorial Hospital, OHSU Knight Cancer Institute, Dr. Sonny Park, and the City of Astoria. CMH Auxiliary Volunteers provided 10 infusion chairs and Clatsop Community College Art Department and local potters donated art for the center. The CMH Foundation raised $185,000 for the project. Added an additional provider, expanding medical oncology services to be available three days per week.|
|Sept. 2013||Jennifer Lycette, MD, joins the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center full time. She takes over from Dr. Raish as the Center’s medical director.|
|May 9, 2015||CMH and OHSU announce the expansion of the CMH/OHSU Cancer Care Center. The CMH Foundation launches a $3 million capital campaign.|
|June 2016||CMH Board of Trustees approves moving forward with bond sales (6/2). City of Astoria Health Care Facilities Authority reviews and approves bond documents (6/6). Bonds offered for sale (6/22). $18.8 million in bonds sold, $13 million will go to Cancer Center project (6/29).|
|June 17, 2016||Activity begins at construction site.|
|Aug. 4, 2016||CMH-OHSU Knight Cancer Collaborative held official groundbreaking ceremony for the new 19,000 square-foot cancer center.|
|Oct. 2017||Anticipated grand opening of the new cancer center.|
The CMH/OHSU Cardiology Clinic opened Dec. 1, 2010, under the leadership of cardiologist Dr. Diana Rinkevich.
Since then, the Cardiology Clinic has become one of CMH’s busiest clinics. Our echocardiography unit is the only facility on the Oregon coast triple-accredited by the Intersocietal Accreditation Commission. The clinic has grown to include three full-time providers who diagnose, treat and manage a wide range of heart and vascular conditions.
When a patient needs more specialized care, CMH’s relationship with OHSU allows for a seamless transition of care between the two hospitals. Many of our patients undergo heart surgeries at OHSU and receive follow-up care and cardiac rehabilitation here at CMH.
In May 2015, the hospital reached a major milestone when Dr. Charles Henrikson of OHSU surgically implanted cardiac devices in two patients at CMH.
Now patients in need of a pacemaker or implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD) can have the procedure performed locally and go home the next day. Previously, the clinic referred 25 to 40 patients a year to other hospitals for pacemaker implants.
Dr. Henrikson performed the surgeries with the help of CMH’s surgical and radiology teams. Dr. Henrikson is the director of the Clinical Cardiac Electrophysiology Laboratory at Oregon Health & Science University. He treats patients with cardiac arrhythmias and teaches arrhythmia management to other physicians.
Quick treatment is key in preventing death from major health events, such as a heart attack.
Fortunately, in the Lower Columbia Region, your chance of surviving a massive heart attack is better than ever. In 2016, the CMH Emergency Department achieved its goal of identifying, transporting and treating a patient suffering from a ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) in less than 90 minutes. That is far better than the American Heart Association’s goal of 120 minutes.
“We’re bringing a heightened level of emergency care to Astoria,” says Anthony Ferroggiaro, MD, Medical Director, CMH Emergency Department. “We’re linking high-level specialty care with a rural doorway.”
CMH and Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) have expanded their collaboration to include emergency medical services. Dr. Ferroggiaro, who is also an assistant professor at OHSU, works in partnership with Nurse Manager Jill Tillotson and other board-certified emergency medicine physicians.
Part of his job, he says, is to show that board-certified emergency doctors can have a sustainable rural practice that includes academic-level care incorporating teaching, research and patient care.
“What hasn’t happened is a national conversation about the benefits of being in a rural practice,” he says.
Thanks to advances in medical technology, like telemedicine, round-the-clock access to radiologists, video conferencing and life flight services, rural emergency doctors can enjoy the challenge of a dynamic practice with the lifestyle that a rural setting offers.
In February 2016, the CMH Emergency Department welcomed its first second-year resident physicians.
A resident physician, or resident, has already completed a medical degree and is participating in specialized training, such as emergency medicine or surgery. Residents provide medical care under the supervision of a more experienced doctor.
CMH’s residents each spend a four-week rotation in our community caring for patients in the Emergency Department and developing their skills with the oversight of the attending physician.
At CMH they have the opportunity to really grow in their practice. They experience what it is like to care for patients in a rural setting, where they can’t rely on readily available specialists. Their experience here is a glimpse of what life after residency may be like.
Dr. Ferroggiaro said he hopes that the experience will stick with some of those providers and that they will decide to return to rural emergency medicine once they’re out of residency.
In recent years, CMH’s relationship with OHSU has also helped the rural hospital attract ambitious young surgeons.
CMH offers a unique opportunity for surgeons to work in a rural setting where they can enjoy the quality of life that comes with small-town living and practice medicine with the support and resources available in a large, urban teaching hospital.
In fall 2015, surgeon Rachel Van Dusen, MD, returned to her hometown of Astoria, Ore., to join the CMH General Surgery Clinic.
Dr. Van Dusen is employed by OHSU, and CMH contracts with OHSU for her services. This model has been used for several years in CMH’s Cancer Care Center and Cardiology Clinic. By collaborating with OHSU, CMH is able to recruit quality medical professionals to meet our community’s needs.
Dr. Van Dusen is a 1999 graduate of Astoria High School and is the daughter of Willis and Jan Van Dusen. She attended George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, D.C., and completed her residency at George Washington University Hospital.
Her diverse surgical interests and skills are certainly a benefit for our community, but trust may be her most valuable asset. With her strong connection to the region, she understands our patients and is a great addition to the North Coast’s medical community.
CMH also participates in OHSU’s Transition-to-Practice program, which gives fully trained surgeons an additional year of support as they learn the practical aspects of managing a medical practice.
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