Olympic Medical Center surgeons Jim Mowry and Bob Watkins have been named outstanding rural practitioners by Washington State Secretary of the Department of Health Mary Selecky.
The awards, on behalf of the Washington Rural Health Association, were presented to Drs. Mowry and Watkins at the WRHA annual awards luncheon on Wednesday, March 24.
This honor recognizes health practitioners who make a significant contribution to health care in Washington rural communities.
Saw need, took action
In 2004, the two doctors, both comfortably retired, recognized a problem.
Olympic Medical Center stood on the brink of losing 24/7 orthopedic surgery coverage - a vital component of its State Level-3 Trauma status - as it was challenged with recruiting new orthopedic surgeons to the area.
Mowry and Watkins said they could not sit back and watch as their neighbors, friends and family had to travel to trauma centers in the Seattle area on nights when there was no one to cover orthopedic trauma.
Knowing they had the skills and expertise needed, they chose to act.
"Both Dr. Mowry and Dr. Watkins graciously came out of retirement to rejoin Olympic Medical Center's medical staff and establish the orthopedic hospitalist program," said Dr. Scott Kennedy, chief medical officer at OMC.
"To do so they had to complete extensive continuing education and proctoring by fellow orthopedic surgeons on staff.
"As a result, they defined a successful pathway that allows qualified retired surgeons to come back to active practice in this community.
"Their continuing sense of community and teamwork sustained the program."
No day uncovered
"They have provided outstanding service so there is never a day that orthopedic call coverage for the emergency department is not covered," said Kennedy. "These two physicians have truly dedicated themselves to the health and safety of this rural community."
The orthopedic hospitalist program has afforded the Clallam County community with access, enhanced patient safety and quality, according to Eric Lewis, chief executive officer at OMC.
For more information on the WRHA and the annual rural health awards, see www.wrha.com.
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