The three northern peninsula hospitals are together seeking a “tertiary associate” — a big-time medical facility that would provide a number of services the smaller facilities cannot offer.
Olympic Medical Center CEO Eric Lewis announced in December the boards of the three local hospitals have narrowed their list of candidates.
Olympic Medical Center, Jefferson HealthCare and Forks Community Hospital will continue their negotiations with Harrison Medical Center, Swedish Medical Center and Providence Health & Services.
The three peninsula hospitals will be sending teams of physicians, board members and other hospital staffers to visit the facilities of the three candidate medical centers. OMC anticipates visits from representatives of the three.
Lewis said he hopes the new tertiary affiliate will be signed up by April. Because the boards must make the final decision, the first quarter of 2011 will be very busy for everyone, Lewis said.
Lewis described the role of the new tertiary affiliate, saying it will provide a number of useful services including those “third-level services” OMC can’t provide, such as open-heart surgery, neurosurgery, care for severe burns and neonatal intensive care.
He said utilizing the tertiary affiliate would be up to patients but if they choose that option, they would receive excellent, cost-effective service.
Lewis also said a larger affiliate could help OMC meet other challenges including the electronic medical record-keeping requirements and other mandates in the new federal health care law. The tertiary associate also would be involved in creating a strategic vision for the area.