Providence provides award-winning health care to rural areas


In this article:

  • When Colville resident Mary Selecky fell and suffered an injury that required immediate attention, she was grateful to receive care close to her home at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital.

  • Selecky’s injury required consistent follow-up care, which she was able to receive from the wound care team at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital.

  • Providence Health is committed to providing high-quality health care to rural residents throughout the regions it serves.

Rural health care: Mary’s story

Mary Selecky has been a proud resident of Colville, Washington for 50 years. She enjoys the mountain views and the benefits life in a small town has to offer.

“You get to know your neighbors and if you see your doctor in the grocery store, you can ask them a question,” she says.

Selecky has served in several health care leadership roles in her life, including 15 years as Washington State Secretary of Health. She understands the importance of rural health care access, however, the need became personal after she suffered a significant fall in July 2023.

“I had an ungraceful moment, as a nurse once said to me, and I tripped over an area rug and went down on my right knee. My knee was fine, but by the morning I had a bulge the size of a grapefruit on the side of my leg. I had a friend drive me to the ER,” Selecky says. 

Treating a hard-to-heal wound

Selecky was seen by doctors at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital. After a thorough examination, Selecky’s ER physician told her she would need wound debridement, a surgical process to remove dead and infected skin tissue. The process helps promote and speed up healing.

Providence Mount Carmel Hospital general surgeon Mehrdad Farahmand, M.D., knows Selecky, which he says is not uncommon in a small community and is often beneficial when treating patients.

“She and I have known each other for years so she has my cell phone number and was able to reach out. It made it easy to keep tabs on her progress,” Dr. Farahmand says.

After Selecky’s wound debridement surgery, she was seen by a member of the wound care team who told her she would need to come to the hospital three times a week for wound maintenance.

“We see so many types of wounds, but as far as a hematoma that came from a fall and needed surgery, this wound was large,” says Providence wound care nurse Diana Gruner.

Recovering at home

Selecky became a frequent fixture at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital. While initially she didn’t know there was a wound care team within the hospital, she quickly developed a rapport with everyone.

“I got to know the whole wound care team so well. I realized they work in such good rhythm,” she says.

During Selecky’s visits, Gruner and other nurses cleaned her wound and changed the dressing to prevent infection. Gruner says that developing relationships with patients like Selecky is one reason she loves her job.

“Everybody who walks through my doors is vulnerable,” Gruner says. “Having a good rapport with our patients helps them heal – their vulnerability turns to hope.”

After an extensive care plan that spanned months of routine visits to Providence Mount Carmel Hospital, Selecky’s wound is nearly healed. She is grateful that she was able to receive care without having to travel several times a week.

“I love living in this town — I get a little emotional,” she says. “It’s a wonderful community supportive of everything that is here. We are blessed to have people work together to get things done.”

Providence offers rural communities access to high-quality health care

Providence is committed to providing high-quality health care in the rural areas it serves. Mount Carmel Hospital is a 25-bed critical access hospital, which means it is more than 35 miles from any other hospital. Critical access hospitals were created to offer residents in rural areas access to lifesaving care.

Providence Mount Carmel Hospital has been consistently recognized for providing excellent care. They have been ranked as a top critical access hospital in the nation for three years in a row by the Chartis Center for Rural Health.

One challenge many critical access hospitals face is attracting clinicians, but Dr. Farahmand says he wouldn’t trade living and practicing in a rural area.

“I grew up in Tehran, a city of 10 million people,” Dr. Farahmand says. “I always knew I wanted to live in a small community, and I love it. I know my patients and other providers. If I have a patient who needs something I can’t provide, I know exactly where to send them.”

Dr. Farahmand says he provides a wide range of general surgical care to patients who probably wouldn’t receive the care they need without Providence Mount Carmel Hospital.

“I hear a lot of patients say they probably wouldn’t go to the hospital if they had to drive to receive the care they need. Critical access hospitals like Mount Carmel save lives,” Dr. Farahmand says.

Contributing caregiver

Mehrdad Farahmand, M.D., is a general surgeon at Providence Mount Carmel Hospital.

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Related resources

Mary’s story of rural health care

Providence Mount Carmel Hospital named top critical access hospital

When the doctor becomes the patient

This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.

About the Author

The Providence Health Team brings together caregivers from diverse backgrounds to bring you clinically-sound, data-driven advice to help you live your happiest and healthiest selves.

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