by Marie Bogan, Staff Writer
Jefferson Healthcare recently completed a series of virtual meetings to get community feedback on upcoming changes to their Port Townsend medical center complex. The two most significant changes would call for replacement of a 1965-era building and retrofit of a 1988-era building. In one of the sessions, Jefferson Healthcare CEO Mike Glenn said that a 2015 engineering evaluation had deter- mined those two buildings to be “seismically vulnerable structures.” He called the report “pretty daunting,” and added that the engineers advised renovation within seven to ten years.
The modernization initiative also includes plans to relo- cate or expand critical infrastructure including the OB/ GYN clinic, Express Clinic, MRI services, surgery pre-op, vascular imaging, and the hospital café.
While Jefferson County’s population increased by five percent over the last eight years, Jefferson Healthcare’s inpatient and outpatient volume rose by nearly 100 percent in the same time frame. Hospital officials said the growth was due largely to the organization’s focus on new specialty services including primary/specialty/surgical care, urgent and emergency care, home health services, and hospice. Jefferson Healthcare has become the predominant provider of those services in eastern Jefferson County, now serving a population of over 31,000 residents.
To keep pace with ever-growing patient needs, the medical center is proposing the addition of even more services—the ones that residents frequently access outside the county— such as ear, nose & throat, neurology, pulmonology, and geriatric specialties. The organization is also considering new oncology space for a linear accelerator and radiation.
“We are trying to keep our ear close to the ground in under- standing the needs of the community,” said Glenn, adding, “we don’t want patients leaving our community for care.”
The online sessions did not address cost or final building plans. Glenn explained that the project team would relay feedback to the design-build team, who will then provide initial renderings and costs to share via additional commu- nity meetings. Information gleaned from that round of input will determine financing avenues for the project.
“We are not asking the community for $100 million,” said Glenn, adding that potential funding sources might include Jefferson Healthcare cash reserves, its foundation and debt capacity, state and federal grants, as well as a possible bond measure in the fall. Glenn, who reported that work will begin in 2023, concluded by saying “It’s a big deal.”
To find out more or share feedback about the proposed projects, see jeffersonhealthcare.org/modernization.