Two Wash. pub­lic hos­pi­tals fi­nal­ize their al­liance

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Adam Ruben­fire

In what of­fi­cials say is likely Wash­ing­ton state’s first-ever merger of two pub­lic hos­pi­tals, Kirk­land-based Ever­greenHealth and Val­ley Gen­eral Hos­pi­tal, Mon­roe, have com­pleted a merger they be­gan work­ing on in 2012.

As a re­sult of the deal, the 72-bed Val­ley Gen­eral will be re­named Ever­greenHealth Mon­roe, start­ing in March 2015. No cash was ex­changed in the agree­ment, which of­fi­cials say will bring ad­di­tional ser­vices in pri­mary care, pre­na­tal ob­stet­rics, ortho­pe­dic surgery and re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion to the com­mu­nity.

The re­named Val­ley Gen­eral will be the sec­ond hos­pi­tal in the Ever­green- Health sys­tem, which also in­cludes a mul­tispe­cialty 220-physi­cian med­i­cal group and a home-care business. The deal merges the two or­ga­ni­za­tion’s fi­nan­cials and also cre­ates an al­liance gov­er­nance board. The panel will com­prise two board mem­bers from Ever­greenHealth, two com­mis­sion­ers from the Sno­homish County Pub­lic Hos­pi­tal Dis­trict No. 1—in which Val­ley Gen­eral is lo­cated—and the CEO of Ever­greenHealth, Bob Malte.

Val­ley Gen­eral CEO Eric Jensen said he hopes the new brand­ing will at­tract area res­i­dents who some­times make the trek to Ever­greenHealth’s main cam­pus about 18 miles away.

Ad­di­tional pri­mary-care ser­vices and new be­hav­ioral-health beds will be a “huge gain” for the com­mu­nity, Malte said. Val­ley Gen­eral had a li­cense for an in­pa­tient psy­chi­a­try unit but closed it in 2011 be­cause of low de­mand and a staffing short­age. Ever­greenHealth re­cently an­nounced plans to lease a wing in Val­ley Gen­eral to Fair­fax Be­hav­ioral Health, a di­vi­sion of nearby Fair­fax Hos­pi­tal, to op­er­ate a 34-bed psy­chi­atric fa­cil­ity start­ing in 2015.

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