SPOKANE, Wash.Washington State University Extension’s Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center will present a March 23 conference designed for health care professionals and those interested in critical access hospitals.

The 3rd Annual Northwest Regional Critical Access Hospital Conference “Quality & Sustainability” is designed to bring together healthcare colleagues — administrators, chief financial officers, business office managers and personnel, directors of nursing, hospital board members, commissioners, providers and more — from around the region and nation to share, plan and maximize the opportunities offered under Critical Access Hospital status. Focus will be on quality and sustainability issues and on providing participants with practical resources, benchmarks and tools applicable to the critical access hospital.

The conference will be from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Red Lion Hotel at the Park in downtown Spokane. A $30 registration fee is required. For all registration information, contact the Eastern Washington Area Health Education Center WSU Extension at (509) 358-7640 or (800) 279-0705 or e-mail to conference@wsu.edu. Visit the event Web site at www.ahec.spokane.wsu.edu for more details.

Featured speakers include Steve Hirsch, Federal Office of Rural Health Policy (Washington, D.C.), speaking on the FLEX Program; Alma Hardy, health insurance specialist and rural health coordinator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Region X (Seattle), providing a CMS update; and Bill Sexton, chief financial officer for Providence North Coast Service Area (Seaside, Ore.); and Robyn Cooke, American Hospital Association (Washington, D.C.), speaking on “The Quality Initiative: What Does it Mean for Rural Hospitals?” 

Featured workshop topics will be grouped into four tracks that include quality and sustainability and critical access hospital billing and partners. Each track will feature discussions which apply to Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.      

The conference is sponsored by state offices of rural health for Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

Following the Critical Access Hospital Conference, the Northwest Regional Rural Health Conference will take place at the same location March 24-25. 

Visit the Web site at www.ahec.spokane.wsu.edu for more information on both conferences, or call (800) 279-0705 or (509) 358-7640.