Community forums address hospital affiliation plans

ARLINGTON — The boards of commissioners of three public hospitals in Snohomish and Skagit counties are conducting community forums to hear from the public what they think about proposals to affiliate with a larger health care system.

Recently, the boards of commissioners of the Cascade Valley, Island and Skagit Valley hospitals unanimously approved sending out requests for proposals to the MultiCare Health System, PeaceHealth, Providence-Swedish, Virginia Mason Medical Center and University of Washington Medicine.

Partnerships and consolidations among health care systems have been occurring across the country and throughout the Pacific Northwest. Health care systems are forming alliances to combine their strengths, focus on improving patient care, access capital and reduce the costs of health care through the streamlining of services.

The Cascade Valley, Island and Skagit Valley hospitals are seeking a partnership with a larger health care system to enhance their patient care, extend their access to specialty services and augment clinical quality, continue to recruit and retain physicians and other providers, seek efficiencies and cost containment opportunities, ensure long-term economic viability, and prepare for the rigors of health care reform and budget reductions at the state and federal levels.

The overarching goal of the process is to retain and expand excellence in local health care for the people served by the three hospitals.

The Arlington community forum is scheduled for, Wednesday, April 10, at 7 p.m. in the Rainier Conference Room at Cascade Valley Hospital, located at 330 S. Stillaguamish Ave.


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