A Pioneer in Improved Injured Worker Outcomes & in Reducing Disability, VMC’s Occupational Health Services Celebrates 20 Years


This month, Valley Medical Center’s (VMC’s) Occupational Health Services (OHS) marks 20 years of service to south King County. OHS is a vital part of the VMC health system, helping companies manage and reduce healthcare costs associated with on-the-job accidents and injuries.

Since its inception in 1992, OHS has grown and developed its occupational medicine program by providing high-quality, specialty services, including treatment of work-related injuries, employment physicals and screenings (to comply with company and federal workplace safety regulations), and travel medicine. OHS’ onsite physical and occupational therapy and health services coordination complements these services, and OHS has a tremendous focus on the employer community by providing preventive care with worksite programs to include immunizations, education and screenings.

OHS is also a proud provider of the WorkSTEPS® program that identifies and tests workers on the essential functions of specific jobs. This allows employers to hire candidates determined as able to perform the job role, whether in a pre-employment or return-to-duty capacity.

“We are pleased to be celebrating 20 years of service to our patient and employer community. The opportunity to work with the employers in the south King County area has been rewarding,” said Karen Nilson, MD, Medical Director, Occupational Health Services, Valley Medical Center. Over the past 20 years many changes have come to OHS however our focus has always been on the health and well-being of the workers in this area. We look forward to serving the community for 20 more years!”

OHS is also the first COHE: Center of Occupational Health & Education, in Washington State, established in 2002. The OHS COHE is a long-term research project and partnership between VMC, the University of Washington and The Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. Using education and incentives, the goal of the pilot is to improve injured worker outcomes and reduce disability by educating providers and utilizing case coordinators.

“I want to thank the executive and clinical leadership at Valley Medical Center for their partnership and for having the guts and the vision to become the first Center of Occupational Health & Education (COHE),” said Gary Franklin, MD, Medical Director, Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. “You won’t find innovation in healthcare delivery like this anywhere else in the country. It will save workers lives right here in this community.”

A 20th anniversary celebration was held at VMC on May 16 to commemorate the occasion.

Occupational Health - 20th Anniversary