Stevens Hospital looks to Swedish for services

Stevens Hospital, which already has partnerships with Seattle’s Swedish Medical Center for oncology and cardiac services, is now talking about what other programs the Seattle health care organization might be able to provide at the south Snohomish County hospital.

While cooperation on a range of programs is being discussed, several topics are not on the table, said Jack Kirkman, a Stevens spokesman.

“It is not in any way a transfer of assets of the hospital, a merger or an acquisition by Swedish,” he said.

The talks’ goal is to see if there are services that could be offered at the Edmonds hospital that currently aren’t available, he said.

New programs that might be offered at Stevens include open-heart surgery or a higher-level intensive care unit for newborns, Kirkman said.

“This really could result in something we think these five communities we serve need in the best manner we can provide it,” he said.

Collaboration between the two organizations dates back to the 1990s. Swedish now has 13 employees working at Stevens’ cancer center and 25 employees at its heart center.

The go-ahead for talks was approved by the five-member Stevens Hospital board in September. Discussions could continue for six to nine months, Kirkman said.

Swedish employees now operate a high-tech radiation machine at Stevens, said Cal Knight, Swedish’s president and chief operating officer. It’s an example of higher-level oncology services that Stevens might not be able to offer on its own, he said.

This means patients can receive care in their communities that they might otherwise have to commute to Seattle to get, Knight said.

Although the resolution passed by the Stevens hospital board did not list a date for a specific proposal, the two organizations hope to have a suggested plan finished by year’s end, he said.

With Stevens’ emergency room on overload, there also may be discussion of whether to open a second, off-site emergency room in south Snohomish County.

The hospital’s emergency room now treats about 42,000 patients a year, nearly twice the number the space was built for.

Swedish currently operates a satellite emergency room in Issaquah, thought to be a first in Washington. The 55,000-square-foot building, with 17 exam rooms, opened in March 2005. The $20 million facility also includes a sleep lab, an imaging department and a laboratory.

In May, Stevens officials discussed the possibility of opening a similar center in south Snohomish County.

About two-thirds of the patients admitted to Stevens come to the hospital as emergency room patients, Kirkman said.

Stevens Hospital

Campus: 21601 76th Ave. W, Edmonds

Employees: 1,282

Medical clinics: The Birth &Family Clinic, Stevens Center for Internal Medicine; provides management services for the Sound Women’s Clinic

Annual budget: $137 million

Births: 1,149

Emergency room visits: 41,760 in 2007

Inpatient surgeries: 1,966

Current services include: cardiology, general medicine and surgery, gynecology, obstetrics, a newborn intensive care unit, oncology, orthopedics, an in-patient psychological unit.

Stevens is a taxpayer-supported hospital. The taxing district includes Edmonds, Lynnwood, Mountlake Terrace, Brier, Bothell and part of unincorporated Snohomish County.

Swedish Hospital

Campuses: Swedish has three hospital campuses in Seattle, at First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard. It operates a freestanding emergency department in Issaquah, a home care service, and Swedish Physician Division, a network of 40 primary-care and specialty clinics.

Employees: 7,000

Net operating revenue: $1.1 billion

Inpatient surgeries: 34,427 in 2007

Births: 7,839

Emergency room visits: 104,048

Swedish-Stevens partnerships

Swedish has 13 doctors and other employees working at Stevens’ radiation oncology/cancer care center and 25 physicians and other employees in its heart center.

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