EvergreenHealth and Valley General Hospital Finalize Alliance Agreement

Chair of the EvergreenHealth Board of Commissioners, Al DeYoung (left), and Valley General Hospital Commissioner Tony Balk (right) signed the agreement.

 

Valley General to join the EvergreenHealth system

EvergreenHealth and Valley General Hospital announced today that their respective Boards of Commissioners have voted to approve the third and final phase of an alliance agreement in which Valley General Hospital in Monroe, Washington will become part of the Kirkland-based health care system and managed by EvergreenHealth.

As part of the agreement, Valley General Hospital will change its name to EvergreenHealth Monroe effective March 1, 2015.

Valley General’s Board of Commissioners ratified the agreement on Nov. 13, 2014 by a unanimous vote.  EvergreenHealth and Valley General entered into an affiliation agreement in late 2012 in which EvergreenHealth committed to working more closely with Valley General, locating additional physicians in Monroe and sharing some core services. This latest agreement results in Valley General being fully integrated with EvergreenHealth, including changing its name to EvergreenHealth Monroe.

“We are pleased to have this agreement in place, giving us the opportunity to further improve the breadth and quality of the services we can provide our growing population in east Snohomish County,” said Eric Jensen, CEO of Valley General. “Since our initial agreement in 2012, we’ve made great strides in stabilizing our operations, financial performance and delivering on the promise we made to our community when they enthusiastically approved a small levy increase to help maintain access to 24/7 emergency and trauma care and inpatient services.”

Valley General was recently recognized by the Washington State Hospital Association with an Achieving Best Care award for its efforts to decrease patient harm through its participation in the Partnership for Patients initiative, a nationwide collaborative effort to reduce the number of hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and readmissions by 20 percent by the end of 2014.

“This is an extraordinarily positive milestone for Valley General and the communities and residents it serves,” said Bob Malte, CEO of EvergreenHealth. “Our two communities have become more intertwined in recent years, and it makes natural sense for us to work together to improve the health and well-being of our communities.”

EvergreenHealth Monroe will be governed by a newly formed, integrated board structure for the 72-bed Monroe-based hospital while being part of the EvergreenHealth system. Under the agreement, the two hospitals will create an Alliance Governance Board (AGB), consisting of two Board members from EvergreenHealth, two Commissioners from Snohomish County Public Hospital District #1 (SCPHD #1), and the CEO of EvergreenHealth. The AGB will govern Valley General Hospital’s operations, while the SCPHD #1 Board will retain specific powers and responsibility for the public hospital district’s health needs.

“I am proud of our organization’s willingness to step up and help create this alliance, which will go a long way in serving those who rely on Valley General Hospital,” said Al DeYoung, chair of EvergreenHealth’s Board of Commissioners.

The financial position of Valley General has improved greatly since the affiliation formed in 2012. The 2015 budget projects a positive net operating income of $1 million, thanks in part to improved management and added tax support approved in 2012.

“I am excited about the potential this affiliation offers, not only to make our hospital and our district stronger, but to provide enhanced medical services in areas that have been underserved in our district,” said Tony Balk, chair of Valley General Board of Commissioners.

In the two years since the affiliation was created, EvergreenHealth has added new primary care, prenatal obstetrics, orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation care to the Monroe community. In the late first quarter of 2015 a new 34-bed psychiatric hospital, operated by Fairfax Behavior Health, will open at Valley General Hospital in space previously occupied by Valley’s psych unit, which closed three years ago due to financial considerations.

“I have been practicing in Monroe since 2007 and I’ve watched this community and its needs evolve,” said Jonathan Borjeson, DO, board-certified general surgeon and president of the medical staff of Valley General. “This agreement means that residents of our growing community will have access to the highest quality care at the best value. It’s rewarding to be part of that growth and continue to provide quality care in a community hospital setting.”

“There is a lot of work in front of us in bringing these two organizations together, but it is work that will result in a much more comprehensive health care system for Monroe and east Snohomish County,” Malte added. “We can count on our highly dedicated professionals at both organizations to come together, creating an even stronger organization that is greater than the sum of its parts.”

EvergreenHealth is the ninth largest hospital in the Puget Sound region, according to Puget Sound Business Journal, and has been named among the top 5 percent of hospitals in the nation by Healthgrades. Last spring, U.S. News and World Report named EvergreenHealth the top non-academic medical center in the Puget Sound region.

“Valley General will benefit in many ways from an alliance with such a highly regarded health care organization,” said Jensen. “We’ve already made great strides in increasing the access to high-quality care for our community, and enthusiastically take the next step in solidifying a long-term commitment to the residents of east Snohomish County.”