CMH, OHSU Commit to Expanded Partnership

Serving More Astorians

February 22, 2019

ASTORIA, Ore. – Columbia Memorial Hospital (CMH) recently signed a new collaboration agreement with OHSU, in Portland, Oregon, that is expected to help the hospital continue to improve local access to health care.

CMH has developed several collaborative programs with OHSU over the past 10 years, starting with cancer care, then cardiology, and, more recently, emergency medicine and general surgery. These clinics and services have been tremendously successful in serving more people in the Lower Columbia Region while improving health care outcomes for community members and saving countless out-of-town trips for care. In addition, the collaboration added jobs to the local economy and established training programs for the next generation of rural healthcare providers

“CMH’s relationship with OHSU has allowed us to maintain at-risk services and add numerous new services during a turbulent time in the health care industry,” said CMH CEO Erik Thorsen. “CMH is committed to providing local access to care, and this collaboration will help us do that.

Thorsen said both organizations recognize that greater coordination is needed to achieve seamless care that that benefits patients and supports clinicians. CMH and OHSU have committed to taking the next step in this collaboration to build on existing successes and create a more integrated system that gives patients access to additional care options in the local community.

“Every joint program we have pursued with Columbia Memorial Hospital has been successful in serving patients and clinicians on Oregon’s North Coast, and has brought valuable lessons back to OHSU,” said Mark O’Hollaren, M.D., vice president of strategic outreach at OHSU. “We look forward to continuing to learn from each other as we expand our collaborative programs.”

To that end, CMH and OHSU have agreed to the following:

  • The CMH Board of Trustees will add an OHSU representative as a full voting member. This person will serve as a liaison between OHSU and CMH.
  • Together, CMH and OHSU will hire a physician to serve as chief medical officer in Astoria to help direct clinical strategy, oversee quality metrics and serve as a key member of the CMH Executive Leadership team.
  • CMH and OHSU will work to standardize the organizational structure and governance model of the various CMH Medical Group clinics and the Astoria-based CMH/OHSU clinics. The shared goals include: improving operational efficiency, streamlining care coordination and improving local community access to care.

“We are very excited about this next stage of the CMH-OHSU collaboration. The board and I strongly believe these changes in the CMH-OHSU relationship will strengthen our organization and help CMH remain an independent, community-based organization,” Thorsen said.