MAY 26, 1997

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Opinion

Guest Editorial

Evergreen Hospital: 25 years of service

Evergreen Hospital by Andrew Fallat, FACHE, Evergreen CEO
Evergreen Hospital was founded 25 years ago through a consensus that our values could be better met when the community worked together, with a fresh approach to health care. As a community-owned hospital, Evergreen has always felt a special responsibility to the people it serves.
   Since the need for hospitalization is episodic, Evergreen takes its health care services into homes, schools, food banks, senior centers, and church basements. Evergreen today, in association with its partnered physicians, is the Eastside's most active provider. On average, we see more than 140,000 patients each year in the hospital and provide nearly 90,000 home care and hospice visits. Thousands more visit our primary care practitioners and participate in our health education classes.
   But a hospital's commitment to the community doesn't stop at providing compassionate, state-of-the-art health care. Evergreen is actively pursuing, alone and with community partners, ways to help the community as a whole to be healthier. We offer nearly 800 health education classes each year, covering everything from healthier eating and exercise to injury prevention and stress reduction. Comprehensive prenatal education and support helps babies and new parents get off to the best possible start.
   Our HealthWorks for Kids curriculum teaches healthy life habits to elementary school students, while our Health Care Access Program links the community's under- and uninsured residents with affordable health and social services. Wellness programs are also provided for local businesses, tailored to the needs of their workforce.
   As a founding member of the Partners for a Healthier Community program, we are looking at ways we can better address the community's needs in the areas of domestic violence and child abuse, maternal and infant health, breast cancer, and health risks for adolescents. The community hospital that opened its doors 25 years ago has evolved into today's Evergreen Community Health Care, a comprehensive health care system capable of providing the entire spectrum of the community's health needs.
   But what's even more remarkable is how Evergreen has maintained its strong community focus while also keeping up with the ever-changing health care picture. This is testimony to the foresight of its founders and the continuing vision of the publicly-elected commissioners who guide it. It is also testimony to the fine work of Evergreen staff, physicians, and the community, who keep the vision alive day after day.
   Evergreen's mission is the same today as it was when we opened 25 years ago: "to enrich the health and well-being of every life we touch." The way we deliver on that mission will change, as we learn more about ways to improve our services both to individuals and the general community. We will pursue our initiatives with other providers to make our Eastside the healthiest community in the state. We will undertake experimental programs to bridge the gaps between traditional and alternative therapies. We will forge regional partnerships that assuraccess to world class care throughout their entire life.
   We thank the community for its generous and continuing support of Evergreen Hospital and Evergreen Community Health Care.