SEATTLE-Swedish Medical Center said earlier this month that it is in talks to merge with 281-bed Northwest Hospital & Medical Center 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. The deal would be the first hospital merger for Swedish since it acquired former Providence Medical Center in July 2000. Three years before that, Swedish pursued but ultimately dropped a merger with Evergreen Hospital Medical Center, Kirkland, Wash. It merged with Ballard Community Hospital in 1992.
SALT LAKE CITY-The Utah Health Department issued an administrative rule earlier this month clarifying a new law that makes it a crime for healthcare providers to perform abortions using state funds except in certain cases, such as rape, incest or grave danger to the mother. The law became effective in May, and many providers suspended all abortions because of the confusion surrounding it. The administrative rule expands the list of exceptions to include pregnancies complicated by grave fetal defects and clarifies when hospitals are in compliance with the law.