Spring Blooms!



We take great time and care to create a place of beauty, style and cheerfulness. These kind words in the local paper mean so much to us. Thank you!



Columbia Basin Earns Award


pinnacle-customer-service-awardColumbia Basin Care has earned the 2018 Pinnacle Customer Experience Award, achieving a Best in Class distinction.

Serving the community for over 50 years, Columbia Basin Care places strong emphasis on meeting the needs of every resident. In achieving the Pinnacle Customer Experience Award, Columbia Basin Care has met the rigorous demand of scoring in the top 15 percent of the nation across a 12-month average. The Customer Experience Award is given to care providers who have achieved best-in-class customer satisfaction standards.

The award is granted by Pinnacle Quality Insight, a national customer satisfaction firm that regularly conducts interviews with residents of Columbia Basin Care regarding their satisfaction levels.

Every month, Columbia Basin Care reviews these survey results in order to gain a better understanding of resident needs and make improvements when necessary.

“We work hard to provide excellent care for our residents,” says Aubree Olmstead, executive director. “This award is an ffirmation of the dedication and skill of our team.”

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only non-profit, community-owned, skilled rehabilitation and nursing facility. CBC offers the area’s only in-house geriatric nurse practitioner, along with a team of licensed physical, occupational and speech therapists who provide comprehensive rehabilitation and restorative services.


With Gratitude



As caregivers dedicated to ensuring the comfort and safety of the ill and aging, expressions of appreciation mean so much to us. We grow close to each Resident — your mother, father, aunt, uncle, brother, sister . . . and, in turn, we grow close to the families.

Together, we all want the same thing: love, kindness, peace of mind.

The family of a Resident recently gave us this card, with a sentiment we cherish:

To the incredible staff:

Thank you so much for taking such good care of my Dad — you are the best.

We feel so blessed that he’s in your care.

We are thankful for work that brings beautiful people into our lives, and we are grateful for notes like this that give a boost to our spirits and a lift to the heart.


Cruising the Columbia!



bridge-of-the-godsgroup-at-boatResidents, accompanied by staff and volunteers, recently enjoyed a special day-trip aboard the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler.

The day included lunch on the riverbanks at Cascade Locks, followed by a beautiful cruise that featured up-close views of Bonneville Dam, Bridge of the Gods, Beacon Rock, Native American fishing platforms and other landmarks of the iconic Columbia River.

We even spotted planes gathering water to fight the area fire (the devastating Eagle Creek Fire broke out the following day).



Making Sense of Medicare & Medicaid


Navigating medical costs and coverage can be confusing. Need some guidance? Let this overview steer you through:

Medicare and Medicaid are two separate government programs created in 1965 by President Lyndon Johnson as part of a social commitment to meeting individual health care needs.

Medicare is the federal government’s health insurance program for people age 65 or older, and those with severe disabilities. Medicare covers some services in a nursing facility. Medicare does not cover long-term care costs.

Medicare has several parts:

Part A helps pay for:

  • Hospital Care
  • Skilled Nursing or Rehabilitation Care (in a skilled nursing facility)
  • Home Health Care
  • Hospice Care

Part A provides up to 100 days per year in a skilled nursing facility if you have a 3-day qualifying stay in a hospital and require services meeting the definition of “skilled” in the Medicare guidelines. Part A pays 100% for days 1-20; there is a co-pay for days 21-100. Most Medicare co-insurance plans pay the co-pay.

Part B is an optional medical insurance for which you pay a monthly premium that covers many outpatient services. Part B insurance primarily covers outpatient services but may cover some services while a person is a Resident in a nursing facility. For example, someone who does not have a 3-day hospital stay prior to admission and is “private pay” for their room & board, can have therapy services billed under Part B.

Part C is known as Medicare Advantage, or private insurance. The cost of Advantage plans varies by carrier, county of residence, and plan selected. To enroll in a Part C plan, you must first be enrolled in both Parts A and B.  Medicare Part C is voluntary.  Many people prefer traditional Medicare supplements and do not want a Part C Medicare Advantage plan.

Part D covers prescription drugs when you choose a carrier and enroll in their drug plan. Most states have many plans to choose from and people often work with an agent to navigate the many options.

Medicaid is a public insurance program providing health care coverage to low-income families and individuals, including children, parents, pregnant women, seniors, and people with disabilities; it is funded by the state and federal government.

Each state operates its own Medicaid program within federal guidelines. Because the federal guidelines are broad, states have a great deal of flexibility in designing and administering their programs. As a result, Medicaid eligibility and benefits often vary widely from state to state.

Medicaid does not provide health care directly. Instead, it pays hospitals, doctors, nursing homes, managed care plans, and other health care providers for covered services that they deliver to eligible patients. (Health care providers are not required to participate in Medicaid, and not all do.)

  • Medicaid covers more than 60 percent of all nursing home residents and 40 percent of costs for long-term care services and supports.
  • Medicaid provides health coverage for one in five Americans, or 97 million low-income Americans annually.
  • Many of those on Medicaid are middle class individuals who spent all of their savings on care before becoming eligible.


We’re happy to help you walk through the process and coverage of your skilled facility needs. Our Executive Director and Social Services Director are happy to answer your questions. Feel free to call or drop in. Columbia Basin Care is located at 1015 Webber St in The Dalles, Oregon,  541.296.2156. 



Now, That’s Dedication!


It’s a season of celebration at Columbia Basin Care, where we’re honoring three employees who have dedicated their careers to Columbia Basin Care:


Maintenance Assistant
30 years

“I do a little bit of everything,” says Forest Cline, whose can-do disposition has led to a 30-year career at Columbia Basin Care.

He joined Columbia Basin in 1987 when he was just 19 years old. His mother worked as a bookkeeper at the facility, and he was hired to work in the kitchen. Realizing his skill with tools and machinery, Cline moved into janitorial and maintenance work — where he now plays a critical role in keeping systems running and people happy.

From waxing floors to wheelchair repair, Cline is a jack-of-all-trades. You’ll find him painting, bringing plants to life in 100-degree heat, and then cheerfully chatting with residents.

Over 30 years, Forest has seen a lot of changes and he’s proud to be a part of the improvements, from renovations to equipment upgrades to increased professionalism. But always, he says, it’s the people that matter most. “The important thing is the residents, and keeping them happy.”

julie-kimbell-1JULIE KIMBELL
Certified Nursing Assistant/Medication Aide (CNA/CMA)
29 years

From an early age, Julie Kimbell felt the pull to help others. She channeled that passion into nursing and joined Columbia Basin in 1988 — 29 years ago.

She provides hands-on nursing care, assisting residents with bathing, dressing, eating, toileting and more. “It’s the hardest work you’ll ever do,” she says, “but it’s the most rewarding,”

She is both a certified nursing assistant and a certified medication aide and though she’s considered moving into a leadership position, she prefers the individual care and attention her current role allows.  “As a CNA, I get more resident interaction. I can make their lives better while I’m here, while they’re here.”

“You have to love people,” she says, as she shares a laugh with a resident. “You’re important to their lives. You make a difference.”

janet-final-lightenedJANET SULLIVAN
Medical Records Manager
28 years

Janet Sullivan has worked at Columbia Basin Care for 28 years. She joined the company in 1989, and has hands-on knowledge of nearly every department. She’s worked as a certified nursing assistant, human resources director, activities director, and accounts payable. She is now the Medical Records Manager.

Organized and tidy, record management seems a perfect fit. “I like order,” says Janet. “I love to purge charts. It’s like cleaning a dirty floor and you see how nice and clean everything is when you’re done. “

But her work is more than just data. Her fondness for the residents of Columbia Basin Care is the driving force of her dedication. “I go home and I worry about them because I care about them,” she says. “You’re not just taking care of them. You’re taking care of them, their family, their emotions . . .”

Working in long-term care is not for everyone. “You must be a team player, have a heart, and be a hard worker,” says Janet. “You must be completely willing to get your hands dirty.”

How to Have Fun



18581512_1670333436595005_2367097537605466200_n18556129_1670333253261690_3491666600269506832_nFrom birthday parties to dress-up days. From luaus to live music, we know how to have a good time!

Columbia Basin Care has a full schedule of events and activities that bring residents and caregivers together in lighthearted fun.

What’s happening now? Check out the Columbia Basin Care Newsletter & Calendar.

Meet Your Care Managers

RCMs 1

RCMs 1

Who ensures every resident receives attention, compassion and medical action — and manages the nursing team? Resident Care Managers!

This happy trio is skilled and equipped to anticipate and respond to medical, physical and emotional needs. Meet your Resident Care Managers (from left):

Karen Wright has returned to the very place she began her nursing career. Now a Registered Nurse (RN), she has a heart for older adults. “Our residents deserve the best care. This is where the good nurses are needed,” she says. “There are so many dedicated, loving and compassionate nurses in long-term care.”

Tiffany Moyer is fueled with ambition. She’s worked her way from Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) to Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) to Registered Nurse, and is now earning a bachelor’s degree in Nursing. “I enjoy helping people and getting to know the residents. I like the teamwork long-term care requires.”

Karren Middleton was born and raised in The Dalles and is a Registered Nurse (RN) with a degree from Columbia Gorge Community College. “Working in long-term care, I get to build relationships,” she says. “I get to know each resident, and understand the strength and skill of each nurse and assistant.”

Building Good Health

Park Construction 1
Park Construction 1

NATURE IS A GREAT HEALER: As part of an improvement project emphasizing good health, Columbia Basin Care is creating a park for residents, families, and staff.

Beep! beep! beep! That’s the music of construction as Columbia Basin Care dramatically improves its outdoor space with the creation of a park featuring a picnic pavilion and wheelchair-friendly pathways.

The park is a one-acre parcel of land adjacent to the nursing home, bordering Webber and 10th streets. Lined with mature trees, the area has remained largely undeveloped and under-utilized. The new space will include a picnic shelter with kitchen area, new and enhanced pathways, fresh lawn and new plantings.

Park Pavilion - concept

PARK PAVILION: The new park will include a picnic shelter with kitchen area, new and enhanced pathways, fresh lawn and new plantings.

The outdoor space will serve as an amenity for residents, their families, and staff. The pavilion and lawn area will be an ideal setting for popular resident activities, such as bocce ball and painting classes. In addition, the outdoor space will offer opportunities for physical therapy sessions.

“Fresh air is good for the body and mind,” says Aubree Olmstead, executive director of Columbia Basin Care. “We’re excited to offer our residents and their families a beautiful setting where they can gather, relax, and enjoy the outdoors.”

Griffin Construction is general contractor. Completion of the park is expected by October 2016.

The park project continues substantial upgrades completed in 2015. That major renovation created a new exterior, an expansive courtyard, walking paths, garden space, and specially-designed areas for practical applications of physical and occupational therapy.

Columbia Basin Care, located in The Dalles, is the region’s only community-owned, not-for-profit skilled nursing facility. Founded in 1964, Columbia Basin Care has served the community for over 50 years, and is one of the city’s largest employers, with a staff of over 80 people.

As a nonprofit, the facility is run by a volunteer Board of Directors, comprised of individuals who live and work in The Dalles. While Wasco County owns the building and grounds, Columbia Basin is an independent compa­ny with local control and decision-making authority. As a non-profit, there are no owners or investors, and funds are dedicated to facility upgrades and staff improvements to increase quality of life for residents.



Still Strong

currie 2
currie 2

At 95, this war veteran plays golf, cracks jokes, and rebounds from a setback.

Alex Currie has no regrets.

“I had my day in the sun,” says the 95 year-old, bright-eyed, chatty man who has lived in The Dalles since 1953 and made his mark as a businessman willing to take chances.

Born in Scotland, Currie was raised in Montreal, Canada, and grew up fast. At just 13 years old, he took over his father’s business. “I had to do do it,” he says of the retail shop he managed.  “There was no one else who could.”

When WWII erupted, Currie served in the Royal Canadian Air Force from 1940 to 1945. He was stationed in a small village in England, taking gun fire and working, among many things, as a courier. “I was running miles every day,” he recalls. “I wore out shoes.”

After the war years, Currie and his wife moved to the Pacific Northwest. His wife, a nurse, went to work at Skyline Hospital in White Salmon, and the couple made their home in The Dalles.

Currie was known as a businessman who tried new things. He opened the city’s first Dairy Queen, and introduced the first Sears store to the The Dalles. “Before, people had to go all the way to Portland and Vancouver,” he says. “We needed a local store to place orders.”

Currie, widowed and long retired, looks back at his life with satisfaction. He and his wife traveled all over the U.S. and Canada, and enjoyed experiencing different places and meeting new people.

“I achieved all my goals before I was 30,” he says, “I owned a Cadillac. I had $100,000 in the bank, and I lived in a big house, a nice brick house.”

What’s the secret to a long life?  Keeping active, it seems. Currie has played golf since he was in his 20s — that’s 70 years! — and has earned an honorary membership to The Dalles Country Club. He was still hitting the green up until last year when his golfing partner could no longer play.

This spring, Currie took a tumble, but even that didn’t keep him down. Instead, he applied his usual determination to recovery. At Columbia Basin Care, a long-term care and rehabilitation facility in The Dalles, he took part in a physical therapy program that focused on regaining strength and balance so he could return to his home.

“He wanted to spend his last years at home, to live independently, and we worked to help him reach his goal,” explains Maureen Busby, who heads the therapy department at Columbia Basin Care. The facility’s team of on-site therapists provide physical, occupational and speech rehabilitation.

Recovery takes place both indoors and out. The light and roomy therapy area contains a variety of exercise tools and equipment, and the city’s only Omni VR, a virtual reality system similar to Wii.  The tool engages patients in games designed to enhance balance, strength and cognition. “It’s especially good for those in wheelchairs. It offers excellent mobility training,” says Busby.

Outdoors, the expansive courtyard features a variety of pathways to mirror home life and everyday situations, such as a stone walkway, steps, a ramp, and even a putting green.

“Because he was so active,” says Busby, “Alex was able to regain his strength, his balance improved, and he was able to return home.”

Any other tips for longevity?

“Clean living,” advises Currie, though he admits a bit of whiskey doesn’t hurt.