ILWACO — With its chemotherapy program shut down by regulators, Ocean Beach Hospital is continuing to evaluate what it can still do for cancer patients, a matter that CEO Larry Cohen discussed at the Aug. 22 hospital board meeting.

OBH is sending patients across the river for chemotherapy, but still wants patients to have access to some services locally.

OBH is unable to comply with regulations requiring hospitals to mix chemotherapy drugs in a sterile environment with positive pressure and ventilation, as the Observer reported July 16.

“The big goal is to get a doctor here to do face-to-face contacts,” Cohen told the board.

Oncologist Dr. Ivan Law left the hospital after the closure of the chemotherapy program.

“The ideal outcome would be that a ‘Medical Oncologist’ would come to [OBH] one day a week and perform new patient consults and possibly some follow-up patient visits,” Cohen explained in an email to the Observer.

OBH is in talks with Providence Seaside Hospital about such an arrangement, but there are logistical challenges, Cohen said. Such an oncologist could provide some treatments at OBH. If patients needed chemotherapy, the oncologist could send them elsewhere, including to Providence Seaside Hospital, which shares a medical record system with OBH.

As a backup plan, OBH is exploring Tele-Medicine, which allows patients come to an OBH clinic and talk to a remote doctor via video link.

Cohen noted that insurance companies pay “nothing or very little for this type of service,” however.

Community Health Festival coming up

Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics will host its Community Health Festival on Saturday, Sep. 14 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Hospital programs and other businesses and organizations involved in health care, such as Peninsula Pharmacy, Life Flight, and Pacific County fire district, will have information booths at the event. Attendees can get free blood screening and bone-density screening.

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