In what officials say is likely Washington state's first-ever merger of two public hospitals, Kirkland-based EvergreenHealth and Valley General Hospital, Monroe, have completed a merger they began working on in 2012.
As a result of the deal, the 72-bed Valley General will be renamed EvergreenHealth Monroe, starting in March 2015. No cash was exchanged in the agreement, which officials say will bring additional services in primary care, prenatal obstetrics, orthopedic surgery and rehabilitation to the community.
The renamed Valley General will be the second hospital in the EvergreenHealth system, which also includes a multispecialty 220-physician medical group and a home-care business. The deal merges the two organization's financials and also creates an alliance governance board. The panel will comprise two board members from EvergreenHealth, two commissioners from the Snohomish County Public Hospital District No. 1—in which Valley General is located—and the CEO of EvergreenHealth, Bob Malte.
Valley General CEO Eric Jensen said he hopes the new branding will attract area residents who sometimes make the trek to EvergreenHealth's main campus about 18 miles away.
Additional primary-care services and new behavioral-health beds will be a “huge gain” for the community, Malte said. Valley General had a license for an inpatient psychiatry unit but closed it in 2011 because of low demand and a staffing shortage. EvergreenHealth recently announced plans to lease a wing in Valley General to Fairfax Behavioral Health, a division of nearby Fairfax Hospital, to operate a 34-bed psychiatric facility starting in 2015.—Adam Rubenfire