For the past few months, the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District (King County Public Hospital District No. 4) Board of Commissioners has been moving toward affiliating the hospital with another health care organization. This summer the board issued a request for proposals and although multiple organizations expressed interest, only one submitted a formal proposal for affiliation: Regional Health, which is based in the Yakima Valley.
On September 14, 2017, the board met to decided if they would move forward with Regional Health. At the end of the meeting what was decided wasn’t a yes or a no, but a decision to get questions answered by Regional Health in a public setting.
According to Snoqualmie Valley Hospital CEO Tom Parker, board members had a lot of questions and concerns about proceeding with the Regional Health affiliation – and after an intense pro/con debate at the September 14th meeting, decided the best way to come to a final decision is to invite Regional Health representatives to a future meeting, where commissioners can directly ask their questions – and get answers.
Parker recapped some of the board of commissioners’ big concerns:
- Is Regional Health financially capable of performing according to the submitted proposal?
- Regional Health just acquired two hospitals. Commissioners want assurances Regional is capable of maintaining another hospital in an already fast-growing organization.
- If Regional can fulfill the hospital’s current commitment to grow services in the Snoqualmie Valley.
- If the non-local Regional brand can help Snoqualmie Valley Hospital grow compared to other Puget Sound healthcare brands that were interested, but didn’t offer an affiliation proposal.
Parker said commissioners passed a motion inviting Regional Health to their October 25th Work Study session – to make a presentation about the affiliation and then answer questions. He said Commissioner Speikers even indicated he planned to ask Regional Health during that upcoming meeting to place $10 million into an escrow account to expand healthcare services in the Snoqualmie Valley- as a sign of commitment.
When asked if the idea of affiliation is over if the board says no to Regional Health, Parker said the board feels there is strength in being part of a multi-hospital system, but he did not elaborate on any future steps before the board makes the decision on the Regional affiliation.
The October 25th Board of Commissioner Work Study Session will be held at 6PM. The location is still to be determined, but possibly at the Snoqualmie Fire Station or Snoqualmie City Hall. The public is welcome to attend. A decision about the affiliation would not be made during the work study. A formal decision would have to be made at a regular Board meeting. [As of September 18th, Regional had not yet confirmed if it would be able to attend.]