RENTON, WA - Dr. Bob Thompson, a Valley Medical Center (VMC) physician and member of its leadership team, has been named Citizen of the Year by the City of Renton, Renton Chamber of Commerce and Rotary Club of Renton. The Citizen of the Year program was established by the Renton Elks Club in 1969. Its mission is to formally recognize the contributions made by individuals who help to nurture the soul and sense of community in Renton through their selfless acts of generosity and volunteerism.
Affectionately known throughout the community as “Dr. Bob”, Thompson has been actively improving access to quality healthcare in the Renton community for over 25 years. A busy family practice physician and a Vice President in charge of physician recruitment at VMC, Thompson is also a tireless advocate to bring quality healthcare to the community and most particularly its less fortunate residents. Through Thompson’s direction and leadership a partnership was formed between VMC, the Renton Rotary, Renton Technical College and Renton Salvation Army to start the Renton RotaCare Clinic in October of 2003. The clinic treats for free, families and individuals who lack health insurance. RotaCare is one of only a handful of such programs in operation across the nation and since its inception over 3,000 uninsured patients have received care, provided by over 25 family practice and internal medicine clinicians who volunteer their time and service on Saturday mornings throughout the year.
“Bob Thompson is more than an integral part of the team at Valley,” says Rich Roodman, Valley Medical Center CEO. “He really embodies what Valley is all about – providing quality healthcare to the community regardless of their ability to pay. We are so fortunate that he has chosen to hang his shingle at Valley for over 25 years; Dr. Bob is a truly deserving recipient of this recognition.”
Thompson was also seeing an increasing number of people unable to work, living in significant pain, without insurance, yet attaining outpatient orthopedic consultation services for uninsured patients was a big challenge. Thompson was the driving force behind uniting King County Project Access, an organization that provides specialty services for eligible low-income uninsured and underinsured patients in King County, Valley Orthopedic Associates (VOA) and the staff at VMC to open the doors to the VMC Acute Specialty Access Clinic in January of 2009. This clinic provides free orthopedic consultation and surgery for the uninsured. VOA and VMC clinicians and staff volunteer their services every Thursday morning to staff the new clinic. To date they have seen over 225 patients and have provided surgery for over 30 patients.
“What has become very clear to me over the years is that what we receive in return for our involvement in serving others in need, is always far greater than what any one of us gives individually,” says Thompson. “To witness a patient who has fallen on hard times experience healing and a full return to health is the best feeling ever.”
Thompson will be honored at a special banquet Thursday, October 28, 2010 at the Renton Senior Activity Center.
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