ILWACO — At the January Ocean Beach hospital board meeting, CEO Larry Cohen discussed two new facilities set to open this summer along with ongoing work with Columbia Memorial Hospital to help local cancer patients.

The board also formally approved Cohen’s new contract at the meeting.

Naselle Clinic and Peninsula Physical Therapy

Ocean Beach Hospital will add two new buildings this year: a clinic in Naselle and a physical therapy building in Ilwaco.

OBH is building its Naselle clinic in the Bank of the Pacific building, donated after BOP closed its Naselle branch in October. OBH currently has a Naselle clinic in an old mobile home. The move to the BOP building will give the clinic a more modern facility, with greater accessibility and visibility. Cohen said there will be an event at the bank building in March to raise money for the project. The clinic has one nurse.

OBH has also purchased the Peninsula Physical Therapy several hundred yards from the hospital in Ilwaco. The building’s owner, who originally bought it from the hospital, left the practice and sold it back. OBH currently offers physical therapy inside the hospital.

“Since the person who was there left, that means there will be greater need” for physical therapy provided by the hospital, Cohen said in an interview after the board meeting.

He said OBH could end up with five physical therapists, up from three currently. The hospital has hired a traveling physical therapist as a contract worker.

Both facilities are expected to open in June or July.

Larger future role in cancer care?

Since the state-ordered shutdown of OBH’s chemotherapy program last year, Astoria’s Columbia Memorial Hospital has taken in a flood of cancer patients from the Washington side of the river. During this time, the two hospitals have worked together to divide labor and ensure that local patients are treated.

Cohen said CMH representatives visited in January requesting to provide cancer education at OBH.

“They recognize that they’re getting a lot of patients from us,” Cohen said.

He said he discussed with CMH representatives what OBH is still able to do for cancer patients, which is essentially everything besides chemotherapy.

“We shared with them what we can do,” Cohen told the Board. “A year ago I brought that up and they kind of chuckled. But now they’re busy enough” that they are interested in lifting some of the burden."

Shopping at close-out sale: Cohen said the hospital is looking into buying equipment from a Yakima hospital in a bankruptcy auction if there are good deals to be had. Astria Health closed its Yakima hospital location, Astria Regional Medical Center, as part of a bankruptcy reorganization.

Contract for CEO: The board agreed to a new three-year contract for Cohen to stay on as Chief Executive Officer.

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