News Releases

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) announced that she has included $450,000 for Olympia area health care and health care workforce projects in an important Senate spending bill. The funding will go to the CHOICE Regional Health Network and Providence Health Systems. The funding was included in the Senate Labor, Health, Human Services, and Education (LHHS) Appropriations bill which was passed by the Senate Appropriations Committee today. Senator Murray is a senior member of the Appropriations Committee.

Emergency Department Care Coordination Program, CHOICE Regional Health Network - $350,000

Since its inception in 2003, CHOICE’s Emergency Department Care Coordination Program (EDCCP) has worked to reduce inappropriate use of hospital emergency departments and improve health among the patients who use the program. The funds that Senator Murray provided will help fund the CHOICE program at Providence St. Peter Hospital in Thurston County and expand it to hospitals in Grays Harbor, Mason and Lewis Counties.  The CHOICE Regional Network, a non-profit consortium is dedicated to improving the health of 93,000 poor and working-poor Washington state residents.

Senator Murray has long supported in its efforts to continue and expand outreach and coordination efforts for the uninsured. In 2004, Senator Murray helped to secure $175,000 in grant funding under the Health Community Access Program (CAP) for the CHOICE Regional Network.

"This funding will help support the CHOICE Network's proven program of reducing emergency room visits and improving heath care among Olympia's uninsured residents," said Senator Murray. "It will also help to improve health care availability and keep costs down for all residents in the area."

Providence Health Systems - $100,000

This funding will help create a Nursing Education to Practice Bridge Program to retain registered nurses in the workforce. The Bridge program will provide new registered nurses additional learning opportunities for a better transition from education to professional practice. New registered nurses experience significant amounts of stress when faced with the high expectations of hiring hospitals compared to the training received during education.  These unresolved stressors and disappointment in their first professional experience result in 35%-55% turnover rates during the first two years of professional practice. Additional learning and mentoring opportunities can enhance patient safety and reduce turnover rates to 12% or less in the first year.

"This program will help us to address our state's nursing shortage by providing support services to help avoid burn out among new nurses," said Senator Murray. "New graduate registered nurses face an extraordinary challenge when transitioning from education to professional practice and this funding will provide the mentoring and support they need to make it through."

"This is a demonstration project that will lay the groundwork for similar programs at other hospitals,” said Providence Southwest Service Area Chief Executive Scott Bond. “The central goal of improving the transition from the role of student to professional will contribute to the skill development and job satisfaction for our nurses."