American Hospital Association Features Yakima’s Children’s Village

A recent issue of the AHA News featured the work of the Children’s Village in Yakima. For the past 15 years, the village has offered health care services for children with disabilities like birth defects, cerebral palsy, behavioral disorders and congenital heart disease.  Before that, parents would navigate a fragmented health care system to get the right care for their children.  Yakima-area agencies collaborate on services.  Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital’s support for the Children’s Village earned it a 1999 AHA NOVA Award which honors hospitals working with others to improve their communities’ health.

“Children’s Village is phenomenal,” said Yakima resident Michael Swindell, whose son received services at the facility.  “Without the village, we would have had to drive two-and-half hours to Seattle to receive the same type of services, and that would have been disruptive and stressful for our entire family.”

Inside the village, the receptionist sits in a covered wagon, and the entrance to the dentist’s office looks like a Disney World attraction.  The therapy pool lets kids pretend they’re taking a dip in a pasture pond.

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital owns the facility, which was built with $4.6 million in contributions in a fundraising drive.  “The community got behind the idea that we were doing something special,” says hospital CEO Rick Linneweh.  He said the community’s ongoing support is “an incredible testimony to how people in this farming community in central Washington feel towards health care and the program that we are presenting to them as a community hospital.”  The village recently completed a $7 million fundraising campaign that added about 13,000 square feet to the facility.  For more about Children’s Village, click here.  (Danielle Kean, daniellek@wsha.org)

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