Press Release

November 18, 2011
For Immediate Release

Contact:  Clark Jones, Chief Executive Officer, Cascade Valley Hospital, 360-435-0512
               Vince Oliver, Chief Executive Officer, Island Hospital, 360-299-1327
               Gregg Davidson, Chief Executive Officer, Skagit Valley Hospital, 360-814-2293
Three public hospitals sign agreement to collaborate

ARLINGTON, ANACORTES AND MOUNT VERNON – In a move to enhance patient care, improve market stability and seek other ways to work together, officials of Cascade Valley, Island and Skagit Valley hospitals have signed an interlocal agreement to work collaboratively while preserving each hospital’s independence, local identity and autonomy.

The agreements were ratified at the respective public hospital districts’ November board meetings this week. A merger, which would combine the three organizations operationally, is not being pursued.

Health-care organizations are facing challenging times with distressed national and state economies, lower reimbursement for services, and large systems eyeing market areas served by the three hospitals.  This agreement is seen as a way to gain strength in the four counties served by the districts – Skagit, Snohomish, Island and San Juan. Furthermore, pending health-care reform legislation, state budget cuts, uncompensated care and an aging population are exerting pressure on already challenging hospital revenues.

“We believe that this agreement allows us to solidify and even grow our market presence while maintaining each of our unique identities,” said Island Hospital Chief Executive Officer Vince Oliver. “This is truly a win-win for our hospitals and the communities served by these excellent hospitals. This collaboration presents great opportunities for enhanced services, quality initiatives and more.”

The agreement is an extension of work the three hospitals are already doing together. Island and Skagit Valley hospitals recently partnered on the acquisition of Northwest Urology, and Cascade Valley and Skagit Valley hospitals are working together on the construction of Cascade Skagit Health Alliance, a new primary and specialty care clinic in Smokey Point.

“This is the logical next step for our three public district hospitals to expand the work we are doing together to retain and grow the outstanding high-quality health care we offer in the communities we serve,” said Skagit Valley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Gregg Davidson. “I believe that this collaboration will help all three organizations build a stronger future and continue to deliver quality health care where the patient comes first.”

“Working together will help strengthen our market position in a very challenging environment,” said Cascade Valley Hospital Chief Executive Officer Clark Jones. “We’re very excited to be able to collaborate on projects beneficial to patients in all three organizations while maintaining our independence. This collaboration will also help our financial stability in trying times.”

Cascade Valley Hospital, Snohomish County Public Hospital District No. 3, is a 48-bed facility, which has served Arlington and the surrounding communities for more than 100 years. Cascade Valley also operates seven associated clinics and a free-standing surgery center.

Island Hospital, Skagit County PHD No. 2, is a 43-bed acute-care facility that has served west Skagit County, north Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands for 50 years. Island also operates eight physician clinics and a freestanding sleep wellness center.

Skagit Regional Health includes the 137-bed Skagit Valley Hospital and 10 Skagit Regional Clinics locations. Skagit County PHD No. 1 has served residents of Skagit, Island, San Juan and north Snohomish counties since 1958.