In a media release today, Adventist Health announced that plans to transfer membership of Walla Walla General Hospital to Providence Health & Services have been halted. The statement from Adventist Health’s media relations department follows:
A new development has brought an end to Adventist Health’s efforts to transfer control of Walla Walla General Hospital’s services to Providence Health & Services — an initiative they jointly announced on April 3 and that both organizations had hoped to achieve by midsummer.
Adventist Health received word that unexpected regulatory challenges have arisen which could linger for an undetermined duration of time and could ultimately prohibit the anticipated transfer of membership.
Because of this new development, Adventist Health and Providence Health & Services have ceased planning for the transfer of membership and Adventist Health has announced its intention to instead close facilities effective Monday, July 24.
Walla Walla General Hospital has faced mounting financial challenges over the last decade, during which time Adventist Health has explored multiple options to provide a sustainable model for the hospital. This included facility upgrades, exploring new services, and seeking out other partners and alliances that would help make the hospital financially viable.
“Adventist Health has invested more than $68 million into Walla Walla General Hospital during recent years in the hopes of securing its future as a healthcare resource in Walla Walla,” said Joyce Newmyer, President of Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region and Board Chair of Walla Walla General Hospital. “We respect the legacy of this hospital, its place in the heart of our community, and the investments we have all made to sustain it for more than a century. Unfortunately, we must now acknowledge the current healthcare environment creates an unsustainable future for the local hospital.”
The closure will include all Adventist Health services in Walla Walla: Walla Walla General Hospital, Adventist Health Home Care Services and Adventist Health Medical Group. It will not impact the Wheatland Village Retirement Center.
“Knowing how our Walla Walla General Hospital’s physicians and staff have faithfully and selflessly served this community for more than a century has made this one of the most heart-breaking decisions we have had to make as a company. There is no way to adequately articulate the value of their contribution over the years,” states Newmyer.
Since demand for medical services in Walla Walla won’t decrease, it is anticipated that many employees and physicians will pursue other opportunities locally. Additionally, Adventist Health has positions open at 19 other Adventist Health hospitals in the Western United States for those interested in relocating.
Physicians and staff were notified of the decision earlier today. Adventist Health will begin work immediately to create an orderly process for ensuring quality, safety and continuity of care while preparing for the closure. Information will also be provided to patients regarding access to their medical information.
Additional details will be released as information becomes available.
Alisa Williams is Managing Editor at SpectrumMagazine.org.
Image Credit: adventisthealth.org.
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