Hospitals receive prestigious award
St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics were named the Outstanding Rural Health Organization for St. Mary’s and Clearwater Valley Hospitals and Clinics and were named the Outstanding Rural Health Organization for 2011.  Dr. Michael Meza; Kris Sparks, NRHA President; Casey Meza, CVHC/SMHC CEO; Pam McBride, Grants Officer and Dr. David Schmitz, Associate Director of Rural Family Medicine, Family Medicine Residency of Idaho are pictured with the award at the recent NRHA conference.2011 by the National Rural Health Association.  The NRHA represents 62 million Americans living in rural areas.  The award was presented to Casey Meza, CEO, earlier this month at their national convention in Austin, Texas.  Close to 1,000 people attended the annual conference which is the largest gathering of rural health professionals in the nation.
“To have our hospitals and clinics selected from amongst the thousands of health care organizations serving rural patients is an incredible honor,” said Meza.  “The hard work our staff and providers do every day is receiving recognition at a national level.  Our collaborative partnership, our telemedicine program, our progress on establishing electronic medical records, our success in receiving grants and our work on establishing patient centered medical home concepts were all considered by the judges before they named us the 2011 Outstanding Rural Health Organization.”
The NRHA was originally formed in 1978 and currently has over 20,000 members in fifty states.  The award for Outstanding Rural Health Organization is given annually to a “…group or entire organization that has improved access to health services and information for rural people through innovative, comprehensive approaches.  Factors considered include outreach, preventive health and education, quality and efficiency of care and strong community support and involvement.”  In their award letter, their CEO, Alan Morgan said “…thanks for the great work you have done on behalf of rural America and the great things you will do in the future…congratulations on winning this prestigious award.”  
SMHC and CVHC began partnering in 1998.  Both are members of Essentia Health based in Duluth, Minnesota.  Both facilities will be featured in the quarterly NRHA national magazine, Rural Roads.
 “Our patients also share in this honor.  It is their trust and support throughout the years that inspires us to provide the highest quality healthcare in their home communities” said Meza.  “We’re grateful they choose us for their care.”

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