Three Rivers Hospital in Brewster and North Valley Hospital in Tonasket are close to an agreement under which Three Rivers CEO Scott Graham will take over administration of both hospitals.
According to a press release from Three Rivers, the agreement is subject to ratification by the North Valley board of directors on July 12. The proposed agreement was announced at the June 28 meeting of the Three Rivers board.
Both Three Rivers and North Valley are operated by public hospital districts that rely on local tax levies for support. The Three Rivers district includes the Methow Valley.
“We have a unique opportunity to support our community through this collaboration,” Three Rivers board chair Vicki Orford said in a press release. “Scott is willing to try it, the board feels we need to try it, and it has such a great potential to start creating a better health delivery system in our region, we’ve got to give it a good try.”
“There are a couple wins there for us; one is that my salary will be split across the two hospitals, reducing the administrative burden for each facility and it also gives us the opportunity to look at other ways to share staff and resources,” Graham said in the release. “All the indications are that this agreement makes sense from a financial perspective, it makes sense from an operational perspective, and from a long-term viability perspective.”
Both institutions have the ability to undo the arrangement if it doesn’t fit their needs, the press release said.
North Valley Hospital was founded as St. Martin’s Hospital in 1938 by the Dominican Sisters of Washington, and expanded over time. A new hospital was completed in 1953. In 1970, the Dominican Sisters announced that the hospital was going to have to be closed for a lack of new sisters entering the order to staff the facility. By 1972, the local community voted to approve formation of a hospital district and passed bond issues and a levy to support operation of the facility. In 2010 another new addition was completed.
Three Rivers Hospital was founded in 1949, after the formation of a public hospital district, as McKinley Memorial Hospital. It later was changed to Okanogan Douglas District Hospital (familiarly known as Brewster Hospital) after the hospital district was expanded. It was renamed Three Rivers Hospital in 2012.