JUNE 22, 2017
Walla Walla General Hospital had faced financial challenges for years.
Alast-resort plan to save a Seventh-day Adventist hospital in the US State of Washington has failed, and the hospital is instead expected to close its doors next month. The plan tried to find a way of transferring control of Walla Walla General Hospital’s services to Providence Health & Services. The initiative, however, was halted after Adventist Health, which manages 20 Adventist hospitals in the US West Coast region, including Walla Walla, received word that unexpected regulatory challenges have arisen which could linger for an undetermined duration of time.
According to an Adventist Health media release, because of this new development, “Adventist Health and Providence Health & Services have ceased planning for the transfer of membership” that they had jointly announced on April 3. Instead, Adventist Health has announced its intention to close facilities effective Monday, July 24.
“Physicians and staff have faithfully and selflessly served this community for more than a century.”
The same media release explained that Walla Walla General Hospital had faced mounting financial challenges in the last few years. During that time, “multiple options” were explored to “provide a sustainable model for the hospital,” it said.
Quoting Joyce Newmyer, President of Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region and Board Chair of Walla Walla General Hospital, the release stated that Adventist Health invested “more than $68 million into Walla Walla General Hospital during recent years in the hopes of securing its future.” Newmyer, however, explained that “unfortunately, we must now acknowledge the current healthcare environment creates an unsustainable future for the local hospital.”
Newmyer, who described the decision to close the facilities as “one of the most heart-breaking decisions” Adventist Health ever made, explained that the decision was difficult, in part, because “physicians and staff have faithfully and selflessly served this community for more than a century.” Indeed, she said, “there is no way to adequately articulate the value of their contribution over the years.”
Adventist Health anticipates that many employees and physicians “will pursue other opportunities locally.” Additionally, it shared that there are positions open at 19 other Adventist Health hospitals in Western US.
Adventist Health is a faith-based, non-profit integrated health system serving more than 75 communities in the US States of California, Hawaii, Oregon, and Washington, according to its website. The organization has a reported workforce of 32,700 and includes more than 23,400 employees; nearly 5,000 medical staff physicians; and 4,300 volunteers. Founded on Seventh-day Adventist heritage and values, Adventist Health provides compassionate care in 20 hospitals, more than 260 clinics (hospital-based, rural health and physician clinics), 15 home care agencies, seven hospice agencies and four joint-venture retirement centers.