SEATTLE — The state Department of Health has given thumbs up to an innovative partnership between Seattle-based Swedish and Stevens Hospital in Edmonds. It will take effect Sept. 1, the same day Stevens is officially renamed Swedish/Edmonds.
In the first relationship of its kind in Washington state, DOH granted a certificate of need for nonprofit Swedish to lease and operate Stevens, owned by Public Hospital District No. 2 of Snohomish County. Under the 30-year arrangement, the district will receive monthly lease payments of at least $600,000. Current Stevens administrators and staff will remain in place and new employees will be added as services expand.
Swedish will make day-to-day operations decisions for the facility and the hospital district board of commissioners will be consulted on major issues. The district will continue to exist as it has a broader mission to enhance the health and well-being of the entire community, far beyond acute-care hospital services.
“Hospitals all over America are aligning with other facilities for a variety of reasons,” said Cal Knight, president and chief operating officer of Swedish Medical Center. “In this case, both Swedish and Stevens were financially sound, but each needed a strong partner in order to grow and improve care in south Snohomish and north King counties.”
Swedish, greater Seattle’s largest nonprofit health-care provider with 1,245 licensed beds, has three hospital campuses in Seattle (First Hill, Cherry Hill and Ballard) and a fourth under construction in Issaquah. It also operates an extensive network of primary- and specialty-care clinics throughout King County, Swedish Visiting Nurse Services, as well as a freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center in Issaquah. Two other freestanding emergency department and ambulatory care center facilities are also currently under construction in Mill Creek and Redmond.
Swedish currently employs 7,360 people systemwide, 410 of which are physicians. And its active medical staff is comprised of 1,550 physicians, most of whom are private practitioners.
Stevens is licensed for 217 beds and has more than 1,200 employees and more than 400 physicians with privileges.
“There is a good cultural fit on many levels,” said Mike Carter, Stevens’ president and CEO. “Both hospitals are nonprofit and secular, we are locally controlled, we share a commitment to reforming how health care is delivered, and we are dedicated to assisting the underserved.”
Knight and Carter noted several important advantages to the new relationship. Together, Swedish and Stevens form a regional health-care delivery network that will allow Stevens to provide more local services, while giving residents greater access to the latest medical treatments and the comprehensive services of the Swedish system. Also, Swedish is connected to highly qualified health-care professionals all over the United States, which will help with recruitment and retention of first-rate physicians, nurses, therapists, administrators and support staff.
By combining their assets and talents, Stevens and Swedish will be able to better manage costs, provide greater value to patients by improving care-delivery models and reduce waste. Swedish is committed to making significant investments in advanced medical and information technology at Stevens. Soon, the hospital will be integrated into Swedish’s Epic electronic health record system, making it much easier for patients to manage their health care and for physicians to provide it. The Epic network offers a powerful set of secure online services such as transmitting lab results, e-mailing doctors, making appointments or paying a bill.
“From the outset, it was important to maintain Stevens as a vital community resource,” Carter said. “We are the largest employer in Edmonds and, as we expand and diversify, the hospital will be a key driver of positive economic activity in south Snohomish County and beyond.”
The new Swedish/Edmonds is planning many internal and external activities over the next few months to introduce staff, physicians and the community to its new directions.