Skagit Valley Hospital and PeaceHealth Boards Approve Letter of Intent
The Board of Commissioners of Public Hospital District No. 1, Skagit Valley Hospital, approved a Letter of Intent on Friday, Sept. 27, as the first step in working toward a strategic alliance with PeaceHealth, including the strategic collaboration with UW Medicine. The governing boards of PeaceHealth and PeaceHealth Northwest Network also voted to approve the Letter of Intent on Tuesday, Oct. 1, with the final document being signed Thursday, Oct. 3.
The document outlines the objectives of Skagit Regional Health – including Skagit Valley Hospital and Skagit Regional Clinics – to provide enhanced and sustainable health care services to the community and to improve quality and safety through the continuum of care in Northwest Washington.
“This is an important milestone in our process and we look forward to the opportunity to further discuss the details of a strategic alliance with PeaceHealth, including the collaboration with UW Medicine, with the overarching goal of enhancing health care across our region,” said Gregg Davidson, FACHE, Chief Executive Officer of Skagit Regional Health.
“We begin this work by listening. We are eager to work collaboratively with Skagit Regional Health,” said Nancy Steiger, CEO and Chief Mission Officer of PeaceHealth Northwest Network. “Our mutual goals are to deliver the best possible care at the community level, and provide options for services not currently available in the Skagit Regional hospital and clinics.”
The next step will be to develop more specific goals and key structures for an alliance, before moving on to developing a definitive agreement. The process to reach an agreement will take an estimated nine to 12 months.
The Letter of Intent also outlines the desire to form and operate joint ventures between Skagit Regional Health and PeaceHealth around specific service lines; to look at potential consolidation of support services; to gain assistance on physician recruitment and conversion to the Epic information technology platform.
The document also notes that the Skagit Valley Hospital Board of Commissioners retains control of operations and finances. Staff and physicians remain employees of Skagit Regional Health. Negotiations will determine if there are joint ventures or consolidations that may require any change.
Skagit Regional Health includes the 137-bed Skagit Valley Hospital and 10 Skagit Regional Clinics locations. Skagit County Public Hospital District No. 1 has served residents of Skagit, Island, San Juan and north Snohomish counties since 1958. (www.skagitvalleyhospital.org)
PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., is a not-for-profit Catholic health system offering care to communities in Washington, Oregon, and Alaska. PeaceHealth has approximately 16,000 caregivers, a group practice with about 800 providers, a laboratory system, and nine medical centers. PeaceHealth was founded in 1890 by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace to fill a need for healthcare services in the Pacific Northwest. The Sisters shared financial and personnel resources to open new hospitals. They shared expertise and transferred wisdom from one medical center to another, always finding the best way to serve the unmet need for health care in their communities. Today, PeaceHealth is the legacy of the founding Sisters and continues with a spirit of collaboration and stewardship in fulfilling its mission. This is The Spirit of Healing. The PeaceHealth Northwest Network of Care includes PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center, which includes a not-for-profit full-service hospital. In addition to the hospital and PeaceHealth Medical Group, PeaceHealth’s local services include several Centers of Excellence, North Cascade Cardiology, a diagnostic laboratory, a joint venture outpatient imaging service, a specialty clinic in Sedro-Woolley and a critical access hospital on San Juan Island.