President Trump had a forum on rural prosperity
and finding ways to help our rural communities. Some of the barriers they found out about
was opioid misuse. As I’ve traveled around my state, especially in the rural areas of
the state of Washington, I have come in the very small communities where you can tell
there has been that level of misuse and you take inventory of how you can help these communities.
I think with our programs, what Rural Development can do through telemedicine, through mobile
medical clinics and our community facilities program we can make an impact on these little
communities. Summit Pacific Medical Center is a vibrant,
innovative Critical Access Hospital located in Elma, Washington. We serve a general population
of about 72,000 here in Grays Harbor County and our rural health system is comprised of
an emergency department, acute care unit, four rural health clinics and urgent care
and we have a very bold vision which is that through summit care we will build the healthiest
community in the nation and to help us achieve this vision, we are currently building a 60,000
square foot transformational wellness center. People in our community have a shorter life
expectancy than in other parts of the country and the beauty of the wellness center is that
it is going to help to defeat that because it creates an exciting environment for people
to come to. Kids are going to be excited to come to the wellness center where in the past,
when it comes to a normal clinic, people don’t get excited. Well, with the play structures
outside and the play structures inside, and the climbing wall, and the environment that
is created, it makes it a place that people want to go to. And so, when you think about
that impact over the rest of their life when it comes to just general preventative health
in coming to see your doctor, see your health care provider, they are going to be excited
about it. It’s going to completely change the mindset of the future generations.
This transformational wellness center is envisioned to be the HUB of health and wellness for our
community. By really focusing on shifting from a traditional delivery model to a holistic
approach to patients centered care and focusing on disease prevention and getting up stream
of the disease we feel that we can really address the opioid epidemic, really improve
the bi directional mental health integration and really combat chronic disease and for
us that is our way of putting the health back into health care.
USDA Rural Development offers loans, loan guarantees, and grants to eligible rural communities
like those in Grays Harbor County. Summit Pacific is a great example of what we can
accomplish when we all work together. I’m Josh Martin, CEO of Summit Pacific Medical
Center in Elma, Washington. The opioid epidemic in Washington is very real and impacting rural
communities across America. We here at Summit are focusing on disease prevention by getting
upstream of the condition. Now we don’t have all the solutions, but by working together,
there is hope.