Northwest NEWS

August 21, 2000

Front Page

Plans in the works for new surgical center, clinic

by Bronwyn Wilson, senior staff reporter

   If a child was suddenly injured, wouldn't it be expected that a nearby hospital would administer treatment efficiently and quickly? And if surgery is required, wouldn't the expectations of excellent medical care run even higher?

   But when a community's population continues to grow, a hospital needs to seek ways to respond to the increased growth while continuing to operate with optimum efficiency. This is the case of Evergreen Hospital Medical Center in Kirkland. The community which depends on its healthcare services is rapidly growing.

   It is projected that in the year 2000, Evergreen's surgical center will care for 5,163 cases. In the main operating room, the number of surgeries projected is 7,200 cases.

   The current surgical center, built 17 years ago and located across the street from the hospital's emergency room, is in need of upgrades. To decide how to best handle the increasing workload and what to do about the aging surgical center, Evergreen's board, executive team and medical staff got together to discuss solutions.

   Rather than renovate the old building, it was decided to build a new facility to meet the growing demands. On Tuesday, Aug. 22, the board will vote whether to move forward on the project. If approved, the new Evergreen Surgery and Physician Center is expected to open in late fall of 2001 and will be located on the hospital site at the corner of 130th Place and 124th Ave. NE.

   The new building will have five floors, with the fifth floor designated for the new surgical center and will also connect to the parking lot. The fourth floor will contain medical offices and the second floor is planned for general hospital use. The first floor's use hasn't been decided. However, it is thought that it might be used for educational purposes. It is estimated that each floor will be around 20,000 square feet. The current surgical center has four rooms, but the new center will have eight, increasing the surgical suites by four.

   "The anticipated growth over the next four years is over 50 percent increase in surgeries," said Rex Lindquist, Commissioner and Board Chair.

   Leslie Larson, Director of Communications at Evergreen said, "We're currently running at 100 percent."

   The new building, including equipment, is expected to cost $35 million, and according to Larson, will be financed through funds from leasing and revenue received from services. In addition to this, Evergreen is in the planning stages of a project in Duvall to provide better access to health care. A Duvall citizens' group has requested that Evergreen annex the area around Duvall to Evergreen's hospital district to meet their medical needs.

   "They need medical care since Medalia left town," Lindquist said. He explained that the Duvall citizens, including mothers, fathers, dentists, retirees, fire district employees, and physical therapists approached the board of commissioners with the request. There were several scheduled public hearings to consider the issue for placement on the November ballot.

   Lindquist said that the commissioners have held hearings in the past and usually there's little response, maybe a few citizens will attend. But regarding the annexation to Evergreen, the response was huge, in contrast.

   "We had 25 people sign up to speak in favor of this. It appears they want it a lot," Lindquist said.

   The commissioners are now considering the community input and will decide whether to place the issue on the ballot for the November election. If the measure goes before the voters and is approved, residents will be agreeing to pay an estimated 39 cents per $1,000 of assessed property value--about $70 per year on a $180,000 house--to help fund services provided by Evergreen Healthcare.

   Duvall has a moratorium on building and the new clinic would have to use existing space. But the clinic, according to Lindquist, will have flex hours. "It won't just be 8 to 5 every day," he said.

   Nearly 700 physicians are part of the Evergreen staff, representing more than 50 specialties, including cardiac, oncology, and surgical care. Serving more than 360,000 throughout King and south Snohomish Counties, Evergreen provides a variety of comprehensive programs and services.