In 1999, leaders from businesses and labor unions in Spokane approached Tom Fritz, CEO of Inland Northwest Health Services and St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute, expressing their desire to find a sponsor for a potential pilot project benefiting workers, employers and health care providers.
INHS and St. Luke's made a commitment to meet that community need by dedicating expertise and resources for the advancement of health-related best practices into our 'communities of health care'. That commitment is the Center of Occupational Health & Education (COHE) which works cooperatively within regional 'communities of health care' in developing programs to improve the quality, cost effectiveness and consistency of care for injured workers in the Inland Northwest.
The Eastern Washington Center of Occupational Health & Education, known regionally as "COHE", is sponsored by St. Luke's Rehabilitation Institute and currently administered as a pilot project by Washington State Department of Labor & Industries, as appropriated by the Washington State Legislature. In addition to a local team of seven dedicated employees, the COHE is assisted and guided by dozens of community members from business, labor, health care and state government through regular meetings of advisory boards and committees from throughout Eastern Washington.