Monroe hospital prenatal service to include baby delivery unit

MONROE — More prenatal services are coming and there’s plans to reopen a baby delivery unit closed nearly five years ago at what was then called Valley General Hospital.

Upgrading prenatal, gynecological and baby delivery services were among the goals announced following the hospital’s merger with Kirkland-based EvergreenHealth last year.

The first step is the addition of a physician at EvergreenHealth Women’s Care in Monroe. Dr. Pilar Baquero has joined Dr. Susanne Hopkins, who came to the practice in the fall of 2013. Baquero, who completed her residency at the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Medicine, is fluent in Spanish. This in a community where about 17 percent of the population is of Hispanic or Latino heritage.

There are plans to recruit a third physician as well, said Nancee Hofmeister, Evergreen’s chief nursing officer.

For now, Women’s Care patients will continue to deliver their babies at Evergreen’s Kirkland campus. Last year, 209 moms from Monroe or east Snohomish County gave birth in Kirkland.

The increase in staffing is part of a plan to reopen the birthing unit at the hospital now called EvergreenHealth Monroe.

The cost of upgrading the five-room birthing and delivery unit is estimated at $1 million. That includes new software, technology and equipment, such as a fetal monitoring system and infant security system, Hofmeister said.

It may be 18 months or more before babies will again be delivered at the hospital.

More staff need to be added. This includes an obstetrics specialist as well as neonatal nurse practitioners and an anesthesiologist.

“There’s a whole large team that goes with” opening a baby delivery unit, Hofmeister said.

To make the hospital’s baby delivery unit financially feasible, it will take time to build up a practise with about 250 pregnant women who will deliver their babies in Monroe. The hospital, which had a string of financial losses, must also continue to stay in the black financially. Last year, the hospital ended the year with net income of $571,072, the first time in nine years the hospital didn’t post a loss, said EvergreenHealth spokeswoman Kay Taylor.

Plans to reopen the baby delivery unit have been discussed since the Monroe hospital merged with EvergreenHealth in March 2015, Hofmeister said. A more specific plan began to take shape in May of last year.

Even after the new baby unit opens, some higher risk pregnancies, such as giving birth to twins, or a pending premature birth, will still deliver at Kirkland.

Evergreen decided to move ahead with plans to reopen the Monroe baby unit because “it’s important for the community,” Hofmeister said. “It’s something the community wants.”

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486;

Talk to us

More in Local News

Snohomish County Jail. (Sue Misao / Herald file)
As omicron surges, frustrations and challenges mount in correction facilities

More than 10% of those in state prisons are infected. “We’re kind of in this Twilight Zone cycle,” one prisoner said.

The Washington National Guard arrived Friday at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett to help with a surge of COVID-19 cases at the hospital. (Providence) 20220121
State offers free home tests; National Guard arrives in Everett

Supply is limited at a new online portal, but Washingtonians can now order five free rapid COVID tests.

Ballots sent for special election on public schools’ funding

Levies to pay for staff, programs, computers and capital projects are on the Feb. 8 ballot across Snohomish County.

FILE - Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson talks to reporters, Monday, Aug. 26, 2019, during a news conference in Seattle. In a 5-4 decision Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022, the Washington Supreme Court upheld an $18 million campaign finance penalty against the Consumer Brands Association, formerly known as the Grocery Manufacturers Association. Ferguson sued the group in 2013, alleging that it spent $11 million to oppose a ballot initiative without registering as a political committee or disclosing the source of the money. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Washington justices uphold $18M fine in GMO-labeling case

Big grocers funneled dark money into a campaign against genetically modified labels on food packaging.

Closing this bedroom door during an apartment fire in Everett helped contain flames, smoke and carbon monoxide, firefighters say. (Everett Fire Department) 20220120
Crucial move during Everett fire: Closing the bedroom door

Two residents were rescued from a bedroom at the Riverdale Apartments. In all, three were injured.

Judge: Sex abuse of former Marysville student violated law

A woman sued the district last year, accusing a longtime art teacher of sexual abuse in the 1980s.

Police respond in downtown Everett after a man collapsed with a gunshot wound Nov. 27, 2021. He later died. (Caleb Hutton / Herald file)
Everett police continue to investigate November killing

Jerome Burnett, 48, died at the hospital. A suspect fled, according to police.

People across Snohomish County share their thoughts on two years of life during the pandemic. 20220123
Anxious, weary, hopeful: How we’re coping with COVID

The pandemic has taken a toll in Snohomish County, where the first U.S. case was confirmed. Here’s a time capsule of life in 2022.

Cassandra Lopez-Shaw
Snohomish County judge accused of ‘needlessly’ exposing staff to COVID

Adam Cornell argues the incident reinforces a need to suspend jury trials, as omicron wreaks havoc.

Most Read