The non-profit organization for home health care has a new leader


One of the leading healthcare nonprofits in the Twin Harbors area has a new leader ready to lead it through the challenges of the post-pandemic era.

Ryan Larsen assumed the position of CEO of Harbors Home Health and Hospice in December, returning to his home state after managing a home care agency in Utah.

The new Harborite said he is “thrilled to be a part of the community” and wants to foster new relationships and continue HHHH’s 40-year tradition of service in the Harbor healthcare world.

“There’s always things we can improve and grow on, but it’s a pillar here and we just want to take that foundation and keep building on it,” said Larsen.

The agency, which serves Grays Harbor and Pacific counties, provides skilled nursing care to patients in their homes or apartments — including occupational, physical and speech therapies, as well as oncology and pediatric care. The services allow for “independence, security and convenience” during care, Larsen said.

Larsen, 36, originally from Kent, returns to Washington with about two decades of healthcare experience, fresh from two senior positions with other home health agencies.

Larsen’s first exposure to the medical world was in high school, when he visited hospitals and clinics with his father, a representative of a multinational pharmaceutical company, to advise doctors on the use of certain drugs.

Around the same time, he got his first job in the medical field as a nurse practitioner and began working toward more certifications in the nursing profession.

His experience as a caregiver means he is “able to ‘talk shop’ with our team members and engage with our patients and their families,” said Melissa Dhooghe, director of human resources at HHHH.

However, as a student at Utah Valley University, he changed course slightly after a death in the family exposed him to the extensive internal workings of hospital administration. He holds a degree in Community Health with concentrations in Healthcare and Business Administration.

Larsen then received his master’s degree from the University of Utah and founded a home care agency. He said he noticed a lack of communication between health authorities at the time and overlapping patient care needs.

When he was starting the home care group, a hospice agency was for sale, which Larsen’s group acquired.

“We sort of built an all-encompassing mini-system where we can provide long-term support for our Medicaid patients, and also home care for our qualified needs, and then also a hospice for people with a terminal illness,” Larsen said.

This experience provides Larsen with the necessary background to lead HHHH, except for one key difference, according to Larsen – HHHH is a non-profit organization, which gives it more of a “community-based system”.

“We really want to take care of the community here in Grays Harbor County,” Larsen said.

While his Utah gig was more of a start-up venture, Larsen is now entering a stable agency that has served the region for more than 40 years. HHHH was founded in 1981 in conjunction with the Grays Harbor County Health Department, but then formed an independent non-profit organization. Larsen said some members of the current board have been with the organization for 20 to 30 years.

Harbors currently serves approximately 1,400 customers in Grays Harbor and the Pacific counties. But that number could increase in the coming years as the baby boomer generation ages. The number of people aged 85 and older will more than double in Grays Harbor and Pacific counties by 2040, according to the state Department of Health. The number of people in this age group with chronic health problems is expected to increase by a quarter over the same period.

And with a greater strain on hospitals, Larsen said, there is an increasing need for skilled domestic services.

“There’s strategic planning to cover what we have right now, but then we look to the future at how we can streamline things in a way that doesn’t compromise the quality of care,” Larsen said.

Larsen said he wanted to shake up the stigma that sometimes surrounds home care, particularly hospice.

“It’s a wonderful resource not only for the patient, but also for their family and community,” Larsen said.

As he continues to settle into the CEO position, Larsen said he is working to build relationships with local hospitals and health authorities. He said he also wants to learn more about the health needs of the community and encouraged care seekers to call the agency at 360-532-5454.

Larsen said Harbors Home Health and Hospice is also working on a new website aimed at providing better access to educational materials and information, with an estimated launch date of Monday, March 20. The agency also has updated information on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Contact Reporter Clayton Franke at 406-552-3917 or

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