Swedish Medical Center, Seattle, is in talks to merge with 281-bed Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, also in Seattle, in a deal that hospital officials said could close by year-end. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Officials said the deal was necessitated partly by changing demographics in north Seattle, including a decline in the need for inpatient hospital beds. Neither facility is expected to close, but Northwest and Swedish's Ballard campus likely will consolidate services such as obstetrics, addiction recovery and psychiatric care. Swedish, the state's largest hospital system, has 1,245 beds across three campuses. "Swedish and Northwest have partnered successfully on a number of patient-care programs in the past several years, including cancer and cardiac care," said Lane Savitch, chief operating officer of Swedish's Ballard campus. "We think the logical next step is to come together more fully." The deal would be the first hospital merger for Swedish since it acquired former Providence Medical Center, Seattle, in July 2000. Three years before that, Swedish pursued but ultimately dropped a merger with Evergreen Hospital, Kirkland, Wash. It merged with Ballard Community Hospital in 1992. -- by Laura B. Benko
Seattle giant looks at merger with smaller rival
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