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New Integrated Medical Center and Critical Access Hospital for San Juan County Hospital District
Date:3/19/2009

FRIDAY HARBOR, Wash., March 19 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 Board of Commissioners today approved a long-term service contract with PeaceHealth, a Northwest-based not-for-profit healthcare system, to significantly expand healthcare services for San Juan County Hospital District residents and Island visitors. The PeaceHealth Board of Directors approved the contract last week.

The long-term relationship between the San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 (Hospital District) and PeaceHealth will create a new, fully Integrated Medical Center located in Friday Harbor, including a new, expanded primary care and specialty clinic, expanded diagnostic services center, a 24-hour emergency room and a 10-bed Critical Access Hospital.

More than a year ago, the Hospital District, leaders of the current Inter Island Medical Center (IIMC) and the San Juan Community Hospital Committee invited PeaceHealth into discussions to explore a potential partnership to serve the Island's future healthcare needs. A comprehensive feasibility study was completed in May 2008, and a formal Letter of Intent was signed in July 2008 to allow PeaceHealth and the Hospital District to negotiate and draft a formal contract proposal.

"From the beginning, this project has been shaped by the input and needs of those who live and work in our community," said Lenore Bayuk, chairperson of the Hospital District Board of Commissioners. "We were fortunate to identify a high-quality healthcare partner in PeaceHealth. Their commitment to serving the long-term healthcare needs of this community, from day one, has never wavered."

As part of the 50-year contract, PeaceHealth will build, own and operate the new Integrated Medical Center in Friday Harbor, which will promote healing and well care, as well as provide an expanded range of on-Island healthcare services in a high-quality, intimate environment. Physicians and other healthcare providers will be able to care for Island residents and visitors with new, state-of-the-art medical, diagnostic and imaging services, a 24-hour emergency room and a fully integrated, electronic medical record. The new medical center and hospital will serve patients all under one roof and is scheduled to open in the summer of 2012. The Hospital District will continue to operate Inter Island Medical Center until the new facility is opened.

Under the terms of the approved relationship and contract, local philanthropy will provide $10 million toward construction costs of the new medical center and hospital. PeaceHealth will fund the remaining $20 million for purchase of the land, facility construction and equipment. PeaceHealth will be the owner of the property and facilities, and will have full responsibility for the delivery of ongoing patient care, staffing and operations. The Hospital District will subsidize PeaceHealth to provide contracted services without increasing the existing Hospital District tax levy supporting the IIMC, either now or after the levy lift expires in 2015.

Currently, Inter Island Medical Center, located in Friday Harbor, offers a family practice and internal medicine clinic, 24/7 emergency services, and some extended diagnostic equipment and services, but patients needing additional diagnostic testing, procedures, and inpatient care must travel off-Island. As the Island population has more than doubled since the IIMC was built 35 years ago, there is limited space for patient care and clinic operations and no additional space for upgrading, modernizing or adding needed services.

The new Integrated Medical Center will increase the number of physicians serving the District's residents and will nearly double the number of other healthcare professionals serving the Island community. The Critical Access Hospital component of the new Integrated Medical Center will require Certificate of Need and licensing approval from the State of Washington.

"Everyone's goal and commitment has been to build upon the legacy of service provided by the Inter Island Medical Center and to serve the San Juan community with expanded access and high-quality services without requiring an increase in Hospital District taxes," said Peter Adler, PeaceHealth's senior vice president for Strategy, Innovation and Development. "The newly established relationship between PeaceHealth and the Hospital District is grounded in a shared vision for sustainable, accessible and patient-centered services that will meet the long-term needs of the community."

"This partnership is a significant step forward in maintaining and enhancing the quality of life for the residents of the Hospital District and San Juan County," Bayuk said. "We're excited to have this project moving forward in partnership with PeaceHealth."

San Juan County Public Hospital District #1 (SJCPHD#1) is the tax-supported agency mandated by Washington State law to provide healthcare services and facilities for residents and visitors of the Hospital District. The Hospital District provides clinic-based medical services at the Inter Island Medical Center in Friday Harbor. It also operates San Juan Island EMS which provides emergency medical services, critical care transport, and injury and accident prevention programs. SJCPHD#1 is comprised of San Juan Island, Town of Friday Harbor, Brown Island, Stuart Island, Johns Island, Speiden Island, Pearl Island and Henry Island in San Juan County, Washington. For more information on the IMC project, visit www.sjcommunityhospital.org.

PeaceHealth is a Bellevue, WA-based not-for-profit healthcare system serving multiple rural and urban communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska. Sponsored by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, PeaceHealth has provided exceptional medicine and compassionate care to Northwest communities for more than a century, including serving the needs of small and remote communities through the operation of three successful Critical Access Hospitals. PeaceHealth annually receives national recognition for innovations in patient-centered care, patient safety and healthcare technology. Research published in the June 2008 edition of the Joint Commission Journal on Quality and Patient Safety ranked PeaceHealth as one of the top five quality of care healthcare systems in the country, and the leading system in the West. PeaceHealth is frequently named as one of the region's best employers. For more information, visit www.peacehealth.org.


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