Novel coronavirus (COVID-19) information for patients, visitors and medical professionals.

Correcting Misinformation Regarding COVID-19 Preparedness at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center

April 3, 2020


Dr. Dowling's message:

My heart is filled with despair as I watch division and distrust spread through our community in the wake of the negative publicity that has centered around our hospital. As a MD and Chief of Staff at PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, I am seeing firsthand the extraordinary amount of work my colleagues are doing to prepare our hospital and clinics for COVID-19. And it’s heart-wrenching to watch our collective achievements become overshadowed by the opinions of a single physician.

I want to share with you some vital information that has not been reported by the media.

I want you to know about:

  • Our exceptional team of infectious disease specialists who are working around-the-clock to ensure that we are staying on the cutting-edge of COVID-19 testing and treatment;
  • The doctors at Northwest Pathology, with the assistance of scientists from WWU, who have literally worked 20 out of  24 hours a day for days on end to increase our community’s testing capacity;
  • Our expert team of Emergency Department physicians who have developed strategies for streamlining care and preventing exposure of patients and healthcare workers to COVID-19;
  • Our critical care specialists who are closely collaborating with our hospital administrators to make sure we have all necessary equipment and space to care for those who become critically ill;
  • All of the physicians – hospitalists, anesthesiologists, internists, pediatricians, family medicine – along with our fantastic nursing and ancillary staff, who have come forth and agreed to work in our hospital medicine and intensive care units when the need arises;
  • The team in our Childbirth Center who has implemented measures to keep pregnant women, newborns and families safe;
  • Our Medical Staff Office professionals who have provided emergency credentialing to hundreds of physicians;
  • The engineers and facilities team who have transformed the hospital’s physical plant to accommodate the worst- case scenario;
  • Our outpatient clinic staff who literally implemented telehealth capabilities overnight so that people can continue to receive care through our outpatient clinics without risking exposure by coming into a medical office;
  • Our surgeons who willingly agreed to delay procedures that are clinically safe to delay;
  • Our incredible Food & Nutrition and Environmental Services caregivers who keep us fed and keep the buildings clean and disinfected.

For many healthcare providers, the work we have done to prepare for COVID-19 will go down as one of the proudest moments of our careers.

There’s no doubt that as a society we are in uncharted territory. The apprehension of uncertainty hangs heavy in the air, and we all sense it. But I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that PeaceHealth and our greater medical community are prepared. We have risen to the occasion and formed a cohesive team ready as always to care for you and your loved ones.

Anna Dowling, MD, FACOG
Chief of Staff, PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Obstetric Hospitalist, Section Lead, Childbirth Center

This letter is endorsed by the following local physicians and providers:

Allison Robinson, MD
Colorectal Surgery

Amir Gharaei, MD
Chair, Medicine Department

Andrew Verneuil, MD
Otolaryngology

Barbara Bachman, MD
General Surgery;
Past Chief of Staff

Barry Landau, MD
Neurosurgery

Beth Earthman, PNP
Pediatric Nurse Practitioner

Bradley D. Harris, MD
Anesthesiology

Brittany LeGarde, CPNP, ARNP
Pediatrics

C. Shayne Mora, MD
Executive Manager
Pacific Rim Surgery Center

Carla Russo, MD
OB/GYN

Chad Thomas, MD, PhD
OB/GYN

Charles Ariz, MD Chair
Radiology Department

Chee Tan, MD
OB/GYN

Christine Hancock, MD
Family Medicine

Cindy Peers
ARNP Senior Health

Conor Sheehy MD
Neurology

Daniel Reznicek, MD
Urology;
Chair, Department of Surgery

David Baker, MD
Neurosurgery

Deborah Hall, MD
Family Medicine

Dina Levin, MD
OB/GYN

Doug Madsen, MD
OB/GYN

Greg Wolgamot, MD
Pathology

Ione Adams, MD
Pediatrician;
Chair, Credentials Committee &
Community Board Member

James Blackburn, MD
Plastic Surgery

James Holstine, DO
Medical Director Center for
Joint Replacement
and Fragility Fracture Program

Jay Lonner, MD
Anesthesiology

Jeff Krusniak, DO
Orthopedic Surgery

Jen Rosquist, MD
Pediatrician

Jeremy Getz, MD
Chair, Anesthesia Department

Jim Hopper, MD
CMO of Family Care Network

Jimmy Yee, MD
Cardiology

John Hoyt, MD
Pathology

John Morrison, MD
Bellingham Anesthesia Associates

Jordana Hawkins, MD
Pediatrics

Kathleen Weisenburger, MD
Internal Medicine

Kenneth Bachenberg, MD
Interim VPMA

Kevin Lee, MD
Hospitalist

Kevin Steel, DO
Cardiology

Lars Crabo, MD
Radiology & Community
Board Member

Lindsay Emerick, MD
OB/GYN

Mara Kelley, MD
Chair, Pediatrics Department;
Service Line Director Pediatrics

Marcus Dubrow, MD
Emergency Medicine

Mark Hoffman, MD
Family Medicine

Mary Lotfi, MD
Nephrology

Matthew Oswin, MD
Orthopedic Surgery

Megan Ellingsen, MD
Hospice

Meghan Lelonek, MD
Family Medicine

Michelle Sohn, MD
Vascular Surgery

Monika Mahal MD
Pediatrics

Oleg Ravitsky, MD
Emergency Medicine

Peter Billing, MD
General Surgery

Peter Telfer, MD
Anesthesiology

Raj Deol, MD
Internal Medicine;
ICU Medical Director

Rajesh Bhola, MD
Cardiology

Richard Binder, MD
Family Medicine

Richard Krebs, MD
Family Medicine

Robert Mongue, MD
Emergency Medicine

Sally Newbrough, MD
Allergy & Immunology

Scott VanderLeest, MD
President, Bellingham
Anesthesia Associates

Shannon Boustead, MD
Family Medicine Department

Shelby Hein, MD
Family Medicine

Stephen Herdman, MD
Family Practice

Susan Holstine, DO
Internal Medicine

Tammy Starr, DO
OB/GYN; Past Chief of Staff

Thomas Stackhouse, MD
Otolaryngology &
Community Board Member

Todd Hafner, MD
Anesthesiology

Tung Ha, MD
Neurosurgery

Tyson Hawkins, MD
Internal Medicine

Vincent Matteucci, MD
Ophthalmology

Ward Naviaux, MD
Emergency Medicine

Warren Taranow, DO
Orthopedic Surgery

Worth Everett, MD
Emergency Medicine;
Chair ED Department



This article is available to download via PDF here.