Congratulations and Farewell: Larry Cohen announces plans to retire

Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics’ CEO Announces Plans for Retirement

Cohen looks to ‘hand over the reins’ at the end of July.


A Message from the Executive Director

It is with mixed emotion that the Rural Collaborative shares the news that one of our member hospital CEO’s, Larry Cohen of Ocean Beach Hospital, has announced his retirement effective July of 2022. While we would be hard pressed to think of someone more deserving of a long break, it is also hard to imagine a person with as much dedication to the work of rural healthcare than Larry Cohen.

Larry is the kind of CEO that you can rely on to be fully involved, elbows deep in his work. He rarely misses a Board meeting, always quick to give his feedback and connect his colleagues with helpful resources. As if that weren’t enough, you can often hear his familiar voice saying, “Larry here” during many a committee meeting right before he asks a thoughtful question or lends some knowledge to his peers. How he has time for all of these meetings, yet still manages to make time for his staff and hospital that universally refer to him as a present and supportive leader, we will never know.

While we hate to see him go, we know that Larry has made a positive impact on his hospital, the Collaborative, and rural care in Washington state, and that legacy lives on in the patient lives that he has impacted. Take care, Larry. We will miss you!

ILWACO, Wash. – May 31, 2022 – Larry Cohen, MSHSM, Chief Executive Officer, Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics (OBHMC) made public this week his plans to retire effective July 29, 2022. His retirement marks the end of a 40-plus-year career in healthcare leadership and nearly a decade of service to the communities of South Pacific County.


“Larry’s passion, intelligence, hard work, and expertise in healthcare management have strengthened all aspects of Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics,” said Nancy Gorshe, Chairperson of the Board, OBHMC. “He has secured a brilliant future for OBHMC and for the individuals it serves so that they can continue to get high-quality medical care close to home.”


Gorshe and the other board members of OBHMC, a Public Hospital District serving South Pacific County for over 88 years, have narrowed the search for Cohen’s replacement and anticipate making an announcement in June.


Cohen plans to work with the incoming chief executive for the six-week overlap, which they will have up until his retirement date, to further secure a smooth transition.


“Supporting patient safety and the delivery of quality care have been my overarching goals,” said Cohen. “To achieve them, Ocean Beach Hospital and Medical Clinics has been returned to financial health and is prepared to make advancements to best serve the healthcare needs of our constituents.


“I’m confident, having made positive strides in meeting these goals and with a strong, dedicated, and talented team in place, that when I hand over the reins in July, OBHMC is positioned for a very bright future.”


Cohen joined OBHMC in July 2015 as the Chief Operating Officer and, shortly after that, he was made Interim CEO. In August of 2016, Cohen was named CEO/Superintendent. Key successes under his leadership have included the following:


  • Developed and implemented a plan to make healthcare more easily available to those it serves, including opening a clinic in Ocean Park, moving the clinic in Naselle to a new and bigger site, and opening the Wellness and Rehabilitation Center in Ilwaco;


  • Secured three loans amounting to $3.2 million, $1.0 million, and $1.091 million for IT systems and capital improvements;


  • Successfully navigated OBHMC’s response as well as financial and staff stability through the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic including the delivery of over 18,000 Covid-19 vaccine shots.


The loans have been used to acquire the EPIC EHR (electronic health record system), replace major equipment, and make upgrades in the hospital. These included adding a CT-128 scanner, a 3D-mammography machine, two radiology rooms, a portable X-ray machine, and an ultrasound machine, as well as replacing nearly every piece of equipment in the laboratory. All new patient beds, a new patient-monitoring and nurse-call system, two new anesthesia machines, and more improvements geared to improving patient safety and comfort were also made possible.


Cohen is also developing plans for a $10-million public bond that will be used to more than double the size of the Ilwaco Clinic site, add a dedicated immediate-care clinic, increase much-needed parking capacity, refurbish the hospital’s nursing unit to include an expansion of the current nursing station that improves staff access, flow and spacing, expand the pharmacy to allow for formulary changes and the adding of pharmacy staff, and renovate all the patient rooms to improve the patient experience. The hospital’s infrastructure will also be addressed to make it more energy efficient; new air handlers, an upgraded boiler, a new elevator, and four solar arrays will lower OBHMC’s utility costs as well as its carbon footprint.


Prior to joining OBHMC, Cohen owned LJC Consulting where he was contracted for project work by OBHMC and other healthcare providers in Southwest Washington and the Portland region.


Earlier in his career, Cohen spent 13 years with PeaceHealth (Vancouver, Wash.) rising to the position of System Director, Growth and Development. He has also worked at Pacific Gateway Hospital, the Vancouver Clinic, Legacy Health, and Oregon Health and Science University Hospital (OHSU). Coming full circle, Cohen  began his healthcare career at OBHMC in 1983 as a W.K. Kellogg International Administrative Fellow under the then CEO, Don Stubsten.

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