News and Information

July 25, 2013

Franciscan Health System Becomes a Center of Occupational Health & Education

Franciscan Health System in partnership with the Department of Labor & Industries (L&I) and leading health systems and clinics in the region has established the Center of Occupational Health & Education (COHE) of Western Washington. The COHE program is designed to improve injured worker outcomes and reduce disability through the education and implementation of occupational health best practices by clinicians and support care coordination of workers through health service coordinators. The COHE of Western Washington will be the largest COHE in the state to date.

Franciscan has a long-standing relationship of working with communities and industries in South Puget Sound to make sure their workers stay healthy. Being the sponsoring organization of a COHE is a natural extension of our mission of providing high quality, evidenced based best practice occupational health services throughout Pierce County and Western Washington.

“At Franciscan, we understand that returning workers to good health so they can return to their jobs as soon as safely possible is important to employers and employees,” said Paul Darby, MD, COHE Medical Director and Medical Director for Franciscan’s Occupational Health program. “By joining together with over 1,000 providers we can share best practices and coordinate care that benefits everyone.”

“We are extremely pleased that Franciscan Health System is sponsoring a COHE that will serve injured workers in 19 Western Washington counties,” said Gary Franklin, MD, Medical Director at L&I. “The leadership at [Franciscan] shares our vision of integrated health care aimed at preventing work-related disability. This type of public/private collaboration is an emerging paradigm for health care, a strategy that can improve treatment of many chronic conditions in a community.”

As part of the Franciscan commitment to improving the health of the communities it serves, the Center of Occupational Health & Education of Western Washington is a broad-based partnership that includes leading healthcare systems and clinics as listed below:

  • Columbia River Occupational Health
  • Community Providers
  • The Doctors Clinic
  • Northwest Physicians Network
  • PeaceHealth
  • Progressive Rehab Associates
  • Rebound
  • Rehabilitation, Sports & Spine Center
  • United Backcare Inc./Pacific Rehabilitation Center
  • US HealthWorks
  • Western Washington Medical Group
  • WestSound Orthopaedic

The Washington State Department of Labor & Industries has a goal for all injured workers in the state to have access to a COHE by 2015.

Franciscan Health System includes St. Joseph Medical Center, Tacoma, St. Francis Hospital, Federal Way, St. Clare Hospital, Lakewood, St. Elizabeth Hospital, Enumclaw, St. Anthony Hospital, Gig Harbor; Highline Medical Center, Burien; Franciscan Hospice House, University Place; Franciscan Medical Group clinics and providers in Pierce, King and Kitsap counties; and the Franciscan Foundation. Franciscan is part of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a national non-profit health system with headquarters in Englewood, Colo. Currently, CHI ranks as the nation’s third-largest faith-based health system, with annual operating revenues of $10.7 billion and approximately 78,500 employees. In fiscal year 2012, CHI provided more than $715 million in charity care and community benefit, including services for the poor, free clinics, education and research.

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