MultiCare’s awards $600,000 to charities

 MultiCare Health System’s Community Partnership Fund has awarded $600,000 to 110 organizations in Western Washington focused on addressing housing and homelessness, food insecurity, health care and children’s needs.

The Fund supports organizations in Pierce, King, Thurston and Kitsap counties. Organizations include, Korean Women’s Association, Oasis Youth Center, Medical Teams International, South Sound Habitat for Humanity and Living Well Kent Collaborative.

“Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’ve seen a consistent need in the community for care, services and resources,” said Lois Bernstein, Chief Community Executive for MultiCare. “We are proud to partner with organizations whose mission is to improve the lives of those in our community.”

MultiCare’s Community Partnership Fund has given more than $3.6 million in its first six years to hundreds of groups across the state to support programs that improve the health and well-being of communities. To learn more about the Community Partnership Fund, visit The full list of 2021 recipients for the Puget Sound region is located here.

Why Intentions over Resolutions

 I’m sure you know by now, most new years resolutions fail by the 3rd week of January so “Resolutions” as they traditionally have been talked about, don’t work. In fact, only 8 percent of people actually keep their New Year’s resolutions, according to one commonly cited statistic. Resolutions can often leave us feeling inadequate and unfulfilled.  My point is not to discourage you around making improvements in your life, I want to encourage you to really know why those improvements are important to you before making them.

Yoga philosophy is based on the idea that you have everything you need to live your best, happiest life already inside you. Our work is to peel away anything that is getting in the way. Author Danielle Laporte, in her book The Desire Map, speaks to this similar topic. Are we making our goals based on what we think we should want, or are we making our goals based on how we really want to feel. She asserts that if we set goals around how we really want to feel, those intentions will become reality and not feel like “work” because those intentions are innate to us.

What is an intention?

We set intentions before every yoga practice so that our intention will follow us off the mat and into our world. Here are some thoughts about setting an intention:

1. Spend time in quiet reflection. Reflect on topics like, What do you want to do and why? What types of activities make you feel truly satisfied in life and how often do you do them? 

2. Declare your intention. Put your intention out to the universe so it can be returned to you! When you do that, try not to come from a place of “lacking”. Let your intention come from your true nature. For example, if you goal is to have more wealth, then instead of saying, “I’m going to stop spending so much money” maybe your intention would be “I feel a sense of abundance and security”

3. Once you have set your intention and declared it, figure out the “what”. The “what” is actually the small goals that support your intention. What do you need to actually do to make your intention reality? 

4. This is a big one! Put the “what” on your calendar! We live in a busy fast paced life. There are a lot of distractions that can compete for our attention. The activities that will support your intention should be scheduled. Give yourself time on your calendar to check in with your progress and make any adjustments that feel right to you!

5. Research shows that people who have actionable, measurable goals are more likely to succeed than those who don’t. How do you want to measure your success? And does the measurement of that success make you feel good?6. Most importantly, Be Patient! We often let go of our focus on our intention because it doesn’t happen fast enough. You are worth the work and wait. Don’t give up. There are obstacles everywhere and sometimes its the difficulty and discomfort with the process that is our true teacher. A wonderful quote by author Randy Pausch in The Last Lecture says, “The brick walls are there for a reason. The brick walls are not there to keep us out; the brick walls are there to give us a chance to show how badly we want something.” by Alicia Barrett

Good Samaritan Implements Comfort Care for Nurses

When the Pandemic began back in March of 2020, Multicare named Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup as their Covid 19 Hospital. The Good Sam team jumped into overdrive led by then Executive Director of Operations, Kristi Hartway. “We opened up an Incident Command Center immediately and began dealing with challenges from a lack of PPE and flipping existing units, to how to best keep our staff and patients safe,” said Hartway.

As the Pandemic progressed, so did the needs of the hospital and Hartway made the switch to Chief Nurse Executive to align with her experience and her passion. That progression also led Hartway to the conclusion that the hospital’s front-line workers needed support emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually.

According to Hartway, “The community has been tremendous in their support bringing food and good wishes, one patient even paid to name a star the ICU Healthcare Heroes.”

But in August, as the 5th Covid wave was taking its toll on the nursing staff, Hartway borrowed a page from the Comfort Program in the Palliative Care Unit. The hospital took their existing comfort therapies program which traditionally relieved suffering for patients and used similar tactics to help staff.

First, there was a harpist that came in and played for staff every week. The soothing atmosphere changed the whole mood. Emails from staff confirmed her instincts, so Hartway began to implement other relaxation methods including massage and aroma therapy. A quick 15-minute chair massage or hand massage can be just what a nurse needs to keep going during a grueling 12-hour shift.

Next up for the Comfort Program is to create a Serenity or Reflection room for staff to go to when they need time to regroup after something difficult has occurred.

Hartway passionately encourages others through her actions and her words. She said, “We will take it day by day and continue to be hopeful. We have the vision to get through this.”

Good Samaritan Hospital is in Puyallup. If you’d like to take part in supporting their nursing staff’s comfort program, visit Lynn Castle

Puget Sound Ortho Welcomes Dr. Vercio

Passionate about “educating patients and putting their hands back together again,” Dr. Rob Vercio is honored to have the opportunity to provide care for the people in the community that he grew up in. 

Shortly after completing his fellowship at the Medical College of Wisconsin in August of 2021, Dr. Vercio moved back to the Pacific Northwest and began seeing patients at Puget Sound Orthopaedics. He brought his wife, his toddler and his baby along with him.

Dr. Vercio is an orthopedic surgeon who uses non-operative and operative techniques to treat patients who suffer from ailments within the hand and upper extremity. He provides solutions for any musculoskeletal related problem from the collar bone down to the fingertips.

At the clinic, Dr. Vercio’s first priority is to listen and learn from his patients. In order to understand the unique goals and needs of every patient, he believes that it is essential to ask them the right questions and to pay close attention to their answers. “It is crucial for me to listen to my patients so that I can fully understand their concerns and clearly explain a diagnosis,” states Dr. Vercio. He notes that making a genuine effort to learn who his patients are as individuals, what their goals are and what they do outside of the clinic helps him build personal relationships. “I want to have a strong connection with every person I care for,” he says.

Dr. Vercio is prepared for the variety of challenges that come along with treating the hand and upper extremity. He provides care for common conditions like carpal tunnel syndrome and is confident executing complex procedures like repairing a torn rotator cuff. He is committed to learning the latest surgical techniques so that his patients have a more comfortable surgical experience and recover as fast as possible after an operation.

When not performing surgery or caring for patients, Dr. Vercio is most likely having fun with his family. He also enjoys spending time on the water, photography, downhill skiing and exploring the outdoors.

Dr. Vercio is devoted to treating his patients like family and providing them with efficient, compassionate and expert care. If you would like to learn more about Dr. Vercio and Puget Sound Orthopaedics, visit or call us at (253) 582-7257.

Six Ways to Boost Your Immune System During the Holiday Season

“Have fun with flavor and color to boost your immune system this holiday season,” says Professor and Department Chair Anne VanBeber, R.D. With the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19 and the holidays around the corner, VanBeber provides easy tips and recommendations of food and drink to consider when planning weeknight and holiday meals.


Experts have strongly suggested adding vitamin C to our daily diet to boost immunity during the global pandemic. Lemon is high in vitamin C and, as an antioxidant, this helps our bodies prevent disease and reduce inflammation. VanBeber suggests adding lemon to your water each day.

This advice goes for warm or cold drinks. VanBeber recommends drinking more teas, which tend to contain phytochemicals – biologically active compounds found in plants. “Phyto is the root word for plant, and chemical means compounds, and phytochemicals help fight disease, keep our cells healthy, and boost immunity,” she says.

Red and Purple Foods

Dark red and purple fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, eggplant, raspberries, strawberries and cranberries each contain phytochemicals that boost the immune system. For the holiday season, try preparing fruit salads with these darkcolored berries – you can even squeeze some lemon juice and raw honey on top for added nutrients or cut up fresh mint or add some dried mint from your pantry and add it to the dressing.

Spices and Herbs

Spices and herbs come from different parts of the plant, but they have disease-fighting benefits and nutrients that are equivalent to whole foods. VanBeber suggests incorporating fresh or dried herbs into dishes whenever possible. For example, if you are making mashed potatoes, add garlic or onion powder. If you are making roasted carrots – add some dill.

Beans and Greens

Greens, high in chlorophyll — a powerful antioxidant — are popular during the holidays, and they provide a good source of vitamin A in plant form. Greens are also a significant aspect of the Mediterranean diet. Spinach, broccoli, arugula, kale, turnip greens, romaine and Bibb lettuce need to be emphasized because in the U.S., we often don’t eat enough servings of fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. Legumes, such as lentils, kidney beans, pinto beans, or chickpeas are high in fiber, inexpensive and shelf-stable foods. Fiber also protects our gut, which is the first line of defense in our immune system.

Nuts, Seeds and Supplements

Nuts and seeds are foundational to the Mediterranean diet. People who eat nuts are known to have reduced chances of heart disease and other chronic diseases. Nuts such as almonds, walnuts, pistachios, or pecans can easily be added to other vegetable dishes such as green beans or broccoli.

Zinc is known for boosting immunity and wound healing because it helps us build proteins. This is widely found in animal foods such as beef, fish, and oysters as well as tofu and seeds such as pumpkin seeds. Vitamin C and D have been commonly referenced by leading experts during the global pandemic.

Probiotics and Prebiotics

Prebiotic foods such as legumes, onions, garlic, apple skins and bananas help to protect your gut. Probiotics include fermented and cultured foods such as kombucha, yogurt, kefir, miso, tempeh, kimchi and fresh sauerkraut (not canned). All of these foods promote a healthy gut and good bacteria to help us fight off illness. “Overall, we need to focus on eating real foods like fruits, vegetables and good lean meats (if you eat meat), and avoiding prepackaged, high-sodium foods that are devoid of nutritional value,” says VanBeber.

Don’t be afraid to make your holiday dishes fun and be sure to add colorful foods from a variety of food groups.

Oly Ortho Has A New Home for Spinal Care

Olympia Orthopaedic (Oly Ortho) Associates Spine Center recently made a big move. And now, the whole family fits under one roof. In the beginning of September of 2021, Oly Ortho moved into a new, specially designed building, to finally have their physicians, nurses, medical assistants and administrative staff working in the same location.

The new home for Oly Ortho, located on 9th Ave. of southwest Olympia, comes with many advantages. Benefits include room for functionality, opportunity for easier collaboration, better patient care and convenience, such as being within a short walking distance of other colleagues, their westside clinic and partners Rapid Orthopaedic Care Urgent Clinic and Olympia Surgical Center. Not to mention, the design of the new Spine Center comes with even the smallest of perks— newest partner Drip Espresso has their own coffee corner with Batdorf & Bronson coffee, fresh salads, sandwiches and baked goods in the lobby of the building for staff and patients to enjoy. 

For patients traveling far, the convenience of a single location is key. Instead of having to chop up treatment with multiple, tedious appointments, much can be taken care of in one stop. Concerning collaboration, one of the prime benefits for patients is the combined services between two Neurosurgeons, Orthopaedic spine surgeons, Interventional Pain Management Physician, Physiatrist (physical medicine & rehabilitation specialist) and more. This means services like assessments of people’s spinal issues like chronic back or neck pain, herniated discs, pinched nerves and spinal fractures, procedures like Kyphoplasty, physical and chiropractic therapy and follow-ups after surgical care will be addressed by top specialists. 

With this transition, the opportunities of spinal care that Oly Ortho can provide are just beginning. Jessica Forsman, VP of Business Development and overseer of the architecture and design of the new building, says they look forward to spring or summer of 2022 for a belated grand opening where, depending on the course of the pandemic, they can invite the public to tour and experience the new Olympia Orthopaedic Associates Spine Center. 

To learn more about the physicians and services of Oly Ortho, visit their website:

Natalie Benson

Sound Family Medicine Opens a Senior Clinic on South Hill

Seniors in the South Sound will soon have access to a new level of health care. Sound Family Medicine is opening the Senior Clinic, a concierge-style health care experience. The clinic will provide patients with 30 and 60 minute appointments so they can spend more time with their doctor.

Dr. Sean Stout and Tracie Jefferson, PA-C see this new way of delivering health care to seniors as a way to match health care to changing life needs, in a welcoming environment. Located at 3909 10th St SE in Puyallup, the Senior Clinic offers appointments as long as one hour to patients, so seniors can spend as much time as they need with their doctor.

“The Senior Clinic gives us a unique model that allows us to focus on the quality of overall care, freeing my team and me to spend the time needed to fully address the whole health picture,” Stout said. “We’re combining modern science with the traditional personal physician model to offer the best outcomes to our patients.”

Patients at the Senior Clinic get a dedicated team of health care professionals who meet daily to discuss their best health outcomes, an on-site pharmacy and lab, Plus they have access to a community center for health seminars, cooking classes, exercise classes and more.

“I’m very excited that we can offer this level of personalized care to seniors in the South Sound,” Strout said.

Sound Family Medicine is a physician-owned and operated private family practice that has served residents of East Pierce County since 1984. The staff strives to provide the best health care possible to patients and cultivate a doctor-patient relationship built on trust.
For more information on the Senior Clinic, visit

Yoga Offers Health and Wellness Benefits to Seniors

Gentle Yoga classes offers many benefits to seniors or those with mobility concerns. “It has been wonderful to watch our seniors build a sense of community, improve their health, improve flexibility and balance, and build strength. Additionally, seniors can experience higher rates of depression and anxiety. If you’re a senior, yoga can be a game changer for your health,” says Alicia Barrett, owner at Tuladhara Yoga.

Safety should be the number one priority in any physical exercise including yoga. Yoga, like any exercise, can come with risks, so being led by a certified experienced instructor is critical. It is also important to be cleared by your doctor to practice yoga.

Benefits of practicing yoga as a senior include:

Yoga improves flexibility and joint health

Flexibility and joint mobility is not about reaching your toes, but about creating a suppleness in the body that will prevent injury and strain over time. When you are flexible, you are less likely to get injured doing basics tasks like bending over to pick something up.

Yoga improves balance and stability

A lack of balance is the number one reason seniors give at Tuladhara Yoga for wanting to try yoga. Certain yoga poses, such as tree pose, are beneficial and can improve balance, which leads to less falls and better focus and stability.

Yoga can improve respiration

Yoga and exercise can improve respiration. Breathing exercises in particular can help improve lung capacity.

Yoga can help reduce depression and anxiety

Yoga classes, especially those geared toward seniors, are calm, relaxing and restorative. Yoga involves focusing on the breath and slow movements, which can help trigger your parasympathetic nervous system, bringing us into the “rest and digest” phase of stress relief.

Going to yoga class is fun and can build a sense of community

Sometimes we forget that as we age, we lose our friends and loved ones and therefore a sense of belonging and community. A yoga class is a great way to make new friends, stay connected, laugh and have fun with others.

New Technology helps Identify Macular Degeneration

Age-Related Macular Degeneration (AMD) is a hereditary disease that develops as one ages. AMD is one of the leading causes of vision loss and blindness in America, occurring in 4-7% of African Americans and impacting over 45% of Non-Hispanic Caucasians.

Generally, AMD is split into the “dry form” and “wet form.” The dry form occurs when small retinal defects, called drusen, form and slowly enlarge. When the drusen becomes larger, the retina swells and new, leaky, blood vessels grow which is the hallmark of the wet form of AMD.

Causes of this degenerative process include genetics, smoking, obesity and exposure to blue light. People with AMD have more difficulty driving at night and slowly lose their central vision, making it difficult to read and see details of faces. During the wet form of AMD, patients experience rapid vision loss and are treated by medication injected into the eye.

How does Tumwater Eye Center identify drusen and initiate early treatment? At Tumwater Eye Center’s new office, they invested in imaging technology to identify drusen at their earliest stages. Dr. Finch at Tumwater Eye says, “Having newer technology allows us to identify changes much earlier than we have been previously, which helps us reduce the incidence of blindness among our patients.” This medical eye center’s advanced technology features high resolution cameras to monitor drusen.

Tumwater Eye’s latest technology can specifically analyze delayed dark adaptation, which is the cause of reduced or worsening night vision. Congruently, this means the technology can identify AMD before the disease even appears.

This testing has been shown by the latest research to identify AMD years earlier than other examination types. Newer treatment strategies for AMD include specific supplement recommendations based upon genetic testing, protections from damaging blue light, and nutritional counseling to decrease body inflammation as well as improve overall health.

For Additional Information

Oldest Working Nurse in America Hangs Up Her Scrubs After 70 Years

More than 70 years after her career began, 96-year-old Florence “SeeSee” Rigney, the oldest working nurse in America, is retiring, MultiCare Health System announced today.  Her last day was Friday, July 16, 2021.

“I don’t like to sit around – I’ve always got to have something to do. That’s my nature,” Rigney’s said. “I don’t know exactly what made me want to become a nurse, but it was something that I always wanted to do. I love to interact with patients and give them the help that I can.”

In her retirement, she’s looking forward to enjoying her family and friends. Rigney’s witnessed countless changes and medical innovations since she first put on the white uniform of a student nurse in the Tacoma General School of Nursing. And her legacy will live on to inspire the next generation of nurses.

In appreciation for her service to the nursing profession, MultiCare Health System is establishing the SeeSee Rigney Nursing Endowed Scholarship Fund, which will provide scholarships to MultiCare nurses for continued learning and development and for MultiCare employees who would like to pursue a career in nursing.

“Even working into her nineties, SeeSee has never been one to slow down. Some of her colleagues joked that they had to sprint to keep up with her,” said Laureen Driscoll, president of MultiCare Tacoma General and Allenmore Hospitals. “She’s continued to be a dedicated nurse and an incredible resource to her colleagues and community. It’s humbling to stop and think about the thousands and thousands of lives she’s cared for. Everyone at MultiCare thanks SeeSee for her unmatched dedication and service, and we’re proud to honor her by supporting tomorrow’s future nurses.”

Her career has taken her across the country, from Washington to Texas to Wyoming, with small breaks to care for her family. Rigney has two children.  As an operating room nurse, Rigney was responsible setting up operating rooms to the specifications of surgeons and prepping patients for surgery, such as positioning them on the operating table. During her shifts, she was always active, frequently walking more than three miles or more according to her Fitbit. And she was always the first to jump to a task. When and pregnant nurse made a call to hospital nurses to help her move a patient, Rigney, in her nineties, was the first to show up.

Rigney did try to slow down once. When she was 65, she turned in her retirement papers. But that only lasted for about six months. She knew she needed to get back in action to stay sharp and active. She came back to Tacoma General to work full time and only within the last couple years switched to part time, continuing to prep surgery rooms and patients, part time. She worked again as an operating room nurse, preparing rooms for surgery and filling in as a relief nurse.

When Rigney started nursing, penicillin had just been introduced. One of the biggest changes in medicine that she’s seen is the duration of patient stays. In the old days, she said, patients could stay for 10 days or longer after surgery. Now most go home in a day or two, thanks to advances in modern medicine and in-home care options.

In a career spanning 70 years, you pick up quite a bit of knowledge and Rigney has some to share with future nurses.

“Don’t ever think that you know it all,” she said. “I kind of did that when I was in the operating room and you have to always be open. You never stop learning.”