Pullman Regional Hospital

A $500,000 gift is opening the door for Pullman Regional Hospital to complete a 5,000-square-foot clinic for a family medicine residency program sponsored by Washington State University’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

The anonymous contribution, which came from a couple who live outside of the region, is for the residency program that’s scheduled to start in the summer of 2022, according to a news release issued Wednesday by Pullman Regional Hospital, the clinical partner for the residency.

Half of the money met a goal of raising $1.55 million to convert hospital administration, medical records and fiscal services offices into a clinic with a waiting room, 14 exam rooms, study area, library and faculty offices.

Having a separate clinic was a requirement for the program’s accreditation, which was finalized in May.

The remainder will cover operating expenses for the residency program and is part of $400,000 the hospital and WSU hope to raise this year for that purpose.

Physicians who have graduated from medical school at accredited institutions will be eligible to apply for the three-year residency program that will accept three doctors a year and have a maximum capacity of nine.

They will be supervised by program director Dr. Stephen Hall, a family medicine physician with more than 30 years of experience who practices at Palouse Medical in Pullman.

Finishing a residency is one of the steps the doctors have to meet before they are eligible to practice independently.

The residency at Pullman Regional Hospital has been a shared vision of many in its medical community for years, partly because it gives area physicians an opportunity to be a part of the faculty and pass their knowledge along to a new generation of doctors, said hospital CEO Scott Adams in a prepared statement.

“(The) program serves us all through better access and improved quality of care because of the commitment to ensure the residents get the best training possible,” he said.

Availability of excellent medical care in Pullman is a priority for the donors, who believe that developing trust between doctors and the patients they treat is key, according to a news release about the contribution.

They were reminded of the importance of that connection when the husband recently came across an entry in a family Bible about a successful appendectomy performed on his brother decades ago.

Their dad trusted a rural general practitioner to do the procedure even though it was his first and he wasn’t a surgeon.

The donors’ ties to Pullman also motivated them to give. They are friends with Walt and Orbie Gray, of Pullman. The husbands met when the two men were students at what is now WSU.

The Grays, and people like them on the Palouse, are important to the donors, according to the news release.

“Ensuring Pullman is home to the highest caliber of family medicine physicians will serve those we care deeply about and will empower Pullman Regional Hospital to continue caring for the university we respect and continue to cherish,” the husband said.

Williams may be contacted at ewilliam@lmtribune.com or (208) 848-2261.

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