Swedish to assume management of Stevens Hospital

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Starting next summer, Swedish will lease and assume management of Stevens Hospital, according to news released by Stevens Thursday.

The announcement was made after the Board of Commissioners for Public Hospital District #2 of Snohomish County approved non-binding terms for the affiliation, pending regulatory approvals and final agreements. The public is invited to a hearing mid-January to learn more about the affiliation, with details to be announced later. A final and binding written agreement is expected in early 2010.

During the first 10 years of the lease, Swedish is committed to investing in medical technology advances, adding an electronic health record system and implementing facility upgrades. Swedish also will make additional capital investments that could be used for facility expansion. The details of this expansion will be developed in 2010 and early 2011.

These investments are in addition to fair-market value monthly lease payments, which the public hospital district will use to improve the health of residents in the district.

“Stevens Hospital approached potential hospital affiliates during its most successful period since the hospital opened in 1964,” said Michael Carter, Stevens Hospital CEO and president. “Unlike a number of local hospitals, we had a good year financially in 2008 with $5 million in bottom-line earnings. And we have continued this performance in 2009 year to date with $13 million in bottom-line earnings.”

During the first 10 years of the lease, Swedish is committed to making significant investments in advances in medical technology, adding an electronic health record system and implementing facility upgrades. Swedish also is committed to making additional capital investments that could be used for facility expansion. The details of this expansion will be developed in 2010 and early 2011. These investments are in addition to fair-market value monthly lease payments, which the public hospital district will use to improve the health of residents in the district.

“We are excited about this partnership,” said Cal Knight, president and chief operating officer of Swedish. “Stevens and Swedish have worked together for 18 years to make specialty health care more accessible and convenient for the residents of South Snohomish County, so it makes sense to collaborate more closely. Through a new affiliation, we will be better positioned to achieve our shared goals of increasing access to health care in the local community, enhancing the quality of care and reducing costs, all of which are critical in an era of health-care reform.”

According to the release, the hospital affiliation supports the priorities of a strategic plan, developed earlier this year with community input, that focused on the following areas:

– Expanded services and programs

– Quality of care and safety

– Recruitment of additional high-quality physicians and clinical staff

– Financial performance and stability

– Community relationships

– The enhancement of Stevens Hospital’s status as a preferred health-care provider.

The affiliation with a regional system was seen as a major component of improving the strategic position of Stevens, the news release said.

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