Northwest NEWS

May 29, 2000

Front Page

Duvall considering Evergreen annexation

by Lisa Allen, Valley View editor

   DUVALL--A citizens group will be holding public meetings in the next few weeks to learn whether the community will support a medical clinic in Duvall. The group hopes to annex the area into the Evergreen Hospital District which would build the facility.

   The town has been without a primary care facility since Medalia HealthCare closed its clinic on Valley Street in January of 1998.

   The proposed annexation would encompass the city of Duvall along with the populated unincorporated area east of town and include the Lake Joy area, which is beyond the southern boundaries of Fire District 45. An elected commissioner would be on the hospital district board to represent the area.

   Evergreen currently operates clinics in Carnation, Redmond, Totem Lake, Woodinville, Kenmore, Bothell's Canyon Park area, and Sammamish. The 6,000-square-foot clinic in Sammamish just opened and is staffed with three physicians and a nurse practitioner.

   The Duvall group has been discussing the proposal with the staff at Evergreen Healthcare for the last 10 months and hopes to put the annexation measure on the fall ballot. If annexed, property owners could expect to pay $.39 cents per $1,000 assessed valuation or $78 a year for a $200,000 home, which would go directly to the hospital district for operating costs.

   The clinic would be able to handle primary care and non-hospital emergencies, with some urgent care. Plans are to have it open Monday through Saturday with extended evening hours.

   Residents would also have access to the wide variety of Evergreen Healthcare's services, which include health education, hospice care, wellness programs, immunization clinics, and the Evergreen Care Network, an information and referral agency.

   Ben Lindekugel, director of community relations for Evergreen, said the satellite clinics are working well. "They are all part of our service to the community," he said. "People need to have access to care."

   But he added that a certain amount of analysis will have to be done by Evergreen staff that will relate to public opinion and need so the hospital board can evaluate the benefits to the district. The analysis will include both input from the Duvall group, as well as looking at the dollars and cents issues, he said.

   "If we expect to put this on the November ballot, the time frame can go by rather quickly," he said. "We need to decide whether the need is sufficient to justify it." Lindekugel noted that part of the analysis would be to find out if there would be overlapping with the Carnation clinic and if both clinics are actually needed.

   The city of Carnation was formerly part of the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District. After the Snoqualmie hospital closed, arrangements were made with Evergreen to open a clinic there, he said.

   "The board will have to pass a resolution intending to annex the area, then hold public meetings so citizens can respond," he said. "Those would be followed by a public hearing, after which the board can decide whether to proceed."

   Lindekugel said it is tough to decide in a growing area what size of facility to build or lease. "We don't know now whether to build it for the current population or for the future," he said. "We are evaluating that. But a 3,000-square-foot building would be a reasonable guess."