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CHAPTER 27:
CONTINUING TO MEET SEATTLE'S NEEDS
The board continues to move the hospital forward with innovative and timely ideas for new services, new ways of doing things, and new programs that help it fulfill its 30-year-old mission to serve the people of Seattle.

For example, in 1984, trustee Roger Jones began putting together an ethics committee which began operating in 1986. Harold Olsen heads up a group of hospital, community, religious, and community leaders who help physicians and patients deal with the complicated issues of medical care today. The committee is a "resource to defuse possible conflict," as Mr. Jones described it, that provides information and mediation/conciliation, but no interference with or criticism of medical care.

"People are making stabs at trying to provide some resource such as this," he said. "Conflicts exist. Many of the problems we have today have no historical solution because they've never existed before. Prior to the 1940s and the discovery of antibiotics many of the people who live to the point where they experience a lot of these problems would long be dead. They didn't teach anything in medical schools to people about how to handle these problems because they didn't know anything about them. The committee helps people to make a more informed choice."

In an effort to reduce costs and offer its employees the best possible medical plan, in 1983 Northwest and five other area hospitals established First Choice, a preferred provider health insurance organization. First Choice is now available to the general public.

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