Earlier this year, Kelley Falcon, vice president of Human Resources, shared an article by Dan Oswald entitled “Quality Starts with People.” There was one quote in particular that was highlighted in that article that really stood out.


“Quality is never an accident.”


Recently, the truth of this statement was illustrated to me more forcefully and personally than I could ever have imagined.


Early on a Sunday morning in late July of this year, my brother-in-law John, who recently turned 65, began to experience progressively more severe left arm and leg weakness. He was transported to the local hospital, where he was diagnosed with an acute right-sided cerebral hemorrhage with total loss of strength in his left arm and left leg.


He was then transported by Life Flight to Providence Stroke Center in Portland, Oregon, where he was admitted to the Neuro ICU. After four days, the hospital began discharge planning, but the local acute rehab hospital determined that he was too weak to qualify. Additionally, because he had only recently enrolled in Medicare, the nursing facilities he was being referred to denied him admission because he wasn’t yet showing up in the system. My sister called me in a panic not knowing what she should do. At 5 feet 4 inches tall, there was no way she could physically manage her nearly 6-foot-tall husband at home. This is where that phrase, “Quality starts with people” begins to take on special meaning to me.


My sister was able to speak with Minnie Montelongo, admissions coordinator at Life Care Center of Kennewick, Washington, who, after additional time and research, was able to confirm John’s Medicare coverage. My sister called me concerned that this “nursing home” wouldn’t be able to completely care for John’s needs. When I assured her he would be well cared for, I had no idea that I would be understating the quality of his care!  


After a challenging trip from Portland to Kennewick, John arrived tired, uncertain and fearful at the front door of Life Care Center of Kennewick after 10 p.m. on Thursday evening. He was greeted warmly by facility staff, which included Parker Riekleman, director of rehab services.


Even now I think to myself… “Even after 10 p.m., Parker was there to help him get settled in. Wow! Quality is never an accident.”


Over the next 20 days, John proceeded through his post-acute care, which included six days per week of physical therapy, six days per week of occupational therapy and five times per week of speech therapy. He was given quality, compassionate nursing care by nurses like Trish [Fotheringham, registered nurse] and by a group of fantastic CNAs. He enjoyed attractive, well-prepared meals, which helped him regain his strength. He remarked at how clean the facility was and how much everyone made him feel at home. On Aug. 17, I received the amazingly good news that my 65-year-old, primary bread-winner, brother-in-law had progressed to a point that he can now handle acute rehab and was being transferred to St. Mary’s in Walla Walla, Washington.


I have been fortunate in my 35 years as a therapist to have seen plenty of miracles with patients. Now, however, I can honestly say this is the first time I feel first hand that Luke 6:38, a particularly well-known Bible verse, fully applies to me and my family – thanks to our amazing staff at Life Care Center of Kennewick.


 “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap.” (Luke 6:38 NIV)


Thank you, Life Care Center of Kennewick, for blessing my family by living our company motto, Whatever It Takes And Then Some.



Keith Collins, director of Rehab Services