Royal Vista Care Center, one of two nursing homes in Ellensburg, closed in the Fall of 2015. This closure prompted local health and social service providers to collaborate on ensuring the continuity of care and services for the patients residing in this facility. This group of individuals adopted the name of the “A-Team” and continued to meet regularly. At the time, their priority was to focus on the coordination of care for people considered “high-utilizers” of the local health care system. As the needs of this population were identified, their demands grew faster than the providers could address them. The A-Team sought alternative options to ensure sustainability for their group was met so they could meet the demands of their patients.
As a result of this hard-work, Kittitas County Health Network (KCHN) was established as a 501(c)3 non-profit organization in 2017. This was made possible after being awarded a federal level grant from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA). The Rural Health Network Development Planning Grant Program broke ground to formalize KCHN. With the help of 12 local organizations in area , KCHN was able to begin its work in serving and supporting the people in Kittitas County. The 12 organizations at the forefront are as follows: Central Washington University, City of Ellensburg, Community Health of Central Washington, Comprehensive Healthcare, Department of Social and Health Services—Aging and Long Term Care, Ellensburg Police Department, Ellensburg School District, HopeSource, Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue, Kittitas Valley Healthcare, Molina Healthcare, and Valley Psychological Services.
The purpose of the Network was now guided by a mission to improve population health through cross-sector collaboration and systems integration. With this in mind, a comprehensive Community Health Assessment and Community Health Improvement (CHA-CHIP) plan was conducted in coordination with Kittitas County Public Health Department, Network members and partners. KCHN adopted the CHIP to be the driving force behind their work.