Walla Walla General Hospital's Transfer of Services to Providence Halted

In a media release today, Adventist Health announced that plans to transfer membership of Walla Walla General Hospital to Providence Health & Services have been halted. The statement from Adventist Health’s media relations department follows:

A new development has brought an end to Adventist Health’s efforts to transfer control of Walla Walla General Hospital’s services to Providence Health & Services — an initiative they jointly announced on April 3 and that both organizations had hoped to achieve by midsummer.

Adventist Health received word that unexpected regulatory challenges have arisen which could linger for an undetermined duration of time and could ultimately prohibit the anticipated transfer of membership.

Because of this new development, Adventist Health and Providence Health & Services have ceased planning for the transfer of membership and Adventist Health has announced its intention to instead close facilities effective Monday, July 24.

Walla Walla General Hospital has faced mounting financial challenges over the last decade, during which time Adventist Health has explored multiple options to provide a sustainable model for the hospital. This included facility upgrades, exploring new services, and seeking out other partners and alliances that would help make the hospital financially viable.

“Adventist Health has invested more than $68 million into Walla Walla General Hospital during recent years in the hopes of securing its future as a healthcare resource in Walla Walla,” said Joyce Newmyer, President of Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region and Board Chair of Walla Walla General Hospital. “We respect the legacy of this hospital, its place in the heart of our community, and the investments we have all made to sustain it for more than a century. Unfortunately, we must now acknowledge the current healthcare environment creates an unsustainable future for the local hospital.”

The closure will include all Adventist Health services in Walla Walla: Walla Walla General Hospital, Adventist Health Home Care Services and Adventist Health Medical Group. It will not impact the Wheatland Village Retirement Center.

“Knowing how our Walla Walla General Hospital’s physicians and staff have faithfully and selflessly served this community for more than a century has made this one of the most heart-breaking decisions we have had to make as a company. There is no way to adequately articulate the value of their contribution over the years,” states Newmyer.

Since demand for medical services in Walla Walla won’t decrease, it is anticipated that many employees and physicians will pursue other opportunities locally. Additionally, Adventist Health has positions open at 19 other Adventist Health hospitals in the Western United States for those interested in relocating.

Physicians and staff were notified of the decision earlier today. Adventist Health will begin work immediately to create an orderly process for ensuring quality, safety and continuity of care while preparing for the closure. Information will also be provided to patients regarding access to their medical information.

Additional details will be released as information becomes available.

Image Credit: adventisthealth.org.

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This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at http://spectrummagazine.org/node/8068

Unfortunately another #AdventistHealth pioneer hospital is just thrown away. Instead of looking at future healthcare trends and investing in those instead of hierarchy at the corporate level, this will continue to happen to other hospitals, which will be next?

Paradise Valley Hospital in San Diego was sold thinking there was no way to “bring it back”. But, another company which is smart in making tough decisions, shrinking down then building itself back up, has brought PVH to a whole new level than Adventist Health could dream of.

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You’d think a $68 million investment (unless it was just a “Hail Mary”) would be able to return more than $500k/year for 15 years. The facility is going to depreciate faster than that. Doesn’t look like the Adventists in Walla Walla will be saying the Rosary anytime soon due to a regulatory hurtle.

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Adventist Health Care needs to consider changing it’s name or it’s policies. For a number of years the venerable Lutheran Health Care system sold and purchased hospitals and clinics with the priority of Charity as it’s main concern. More recently a shrinking North American church financial portfolio and a more competitive health care market has caused it’s leadership to downsize and sell off many of it’s properties and plan policies more in line with cost-effective policies than Charity. .We need these questions answered:

  1. How Adventist is AHS?
    2.Is it still about Health at AHS?
    3.Is giving Care, for all, regardless of ability to pay, a reality at AHS?
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Would the survival of Adventist Health in Walla Walla have been possible if top officials agreed to take a pay cut of their 6-figure salaries?

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Just a note of clarification. I don’t want to subtract from the intent of your questions, but just wanted to clarify that you may have mistakenly conflated 3 different Adventist health systems of the several that exist in North America. Adventist HealthCare is a health system in Maryland, and AHS (Adventist Health System) is a thriving and growing health system headquartered in Florida with facilities in 9 states with Colorado being the western most state with facilities. Adventist Health, which is the system mentioned in this article, has facilities in Washington, Oregon, and California.

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I am of a like mind with you on this, KCabreira.

So here’s my riff…for what it’s worth–about two bits, maybe.

In my view the sale of Paradise Valley was a tragedy and the sale of Walla Walla Valley General hospital or whatever would, or will be, most unfortunate, though I executive challenges.

P.T. McGann, J.A. Burden, Ellen G. White, F.M. Burg–my my great grandfather–and their fellow believers, pastors, and administrators who supported the establishment of these institutions would be astonished, pleased, and yet disheartened, I believe, by what they see of our health care system in many quarters.

The myriads of humble, kind, and competent people who have built and have run these systems in many ways have been all-too-often superseded by the very spirit that got John Harvey Kellogg fired from the Battle Creek Sanitarium.

Some kind of balance between humility and confidence is needed–and between continuity and change,

I believe if our institutions truly listen and team with the communities they serve, addressing felt needs, that they can survive and thrive and witness to the values of the best our forefathers and foremothers offered as members of the little Advent movement working about Adventist institutions.

If they simply are Adventist Wealth Systems–dominated b some who want to simply live as well-paddeed CEO’s they should not survive.

Dr. Sammy Crooks, anatomist, at Loma Linda, with his blue sky poem he read to new medical students about when the sun comes up the at dawn and puts on its blue overalls on in the form of the sky and goes to work arises as metaphor of worthy remembrance…

When the Adventist medical/health work puts on its duds for the day or the decades, or a century its leaders/institutions best be working class dudes putting on blue overalls–blue jeans as a metaphor ignifying a commitment to go out into the world and listen, serve, and work with people to help restore communities and broken bodies—and to prevent such challenges as the scourge of tobacco or opiates.

Helping raise millions of dollars to build community focused institutions such as the new one LLU is building in San Bernardino for an under-privileged community as partners, that’s the kind of mission that fits with our heritage.

I have not given upon Adventist health care, but I have been disabused of its purity–too long ago leaving my wet ears behind. I will not cite specifics :wink:

As Curtis King, professor in the School of Public Health at LLU said in management class to us: “The only justification for hierarchy is service.”

The role of management is to really listen to people and to help the brothers, sisters and cousins be effective servants–and to help up door so understanding about how we can better serve. Question and listen to the pulse of a community–and remember, it’s not a out a $1.5 million salary, it’s about the guy or on the line in the “autoclave uni” may be doing as important a work for $15 an hour as that CEO.

Many of my heroes understood such as physicians and Adventist health leaders. I think that as we move toward Healthy People 2030 objectives in he USA we need to advance those kind of people to save our hospitals, listen to communities, and to address the highest priorities in prevention/health system transformation in the USA.

From my perspective the mission of Adventist health care is: 1) provide excellence in a full spectrum of health and medical services in collaboration with communities 2) humbly do the best to make the character of G*d apparent in the world—the teaching of the Good Samaritan is a good place to start and 3) and to provide opportunities for people compassion, empathy, and caring to live lives of service.

Finally, I believe we should care a rat’s fanny if a building is sold. But what we do care is about making sure that a caring, spiritual culture thrives and survives until the End of Adventist health care.

The a restatement mission of the Advent Movement–in my view-- is finally, “health for all” from birth to death and before and after.

Institutions–edifices–are secondary. Human and G*d-focuse relationships should be the priority. Treating people with great dignity.

Let’s put on our jeans and go to work–wherever we are. But for now, I’m gonna hang out reading Spectrum.

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There was a hospital in Urbana, Illinois that was started by Adventists, but it was sold to some other organization in the 1970s. It’s called Carle hospital. It is now one of the most profitable hospitals in the country. So much so, that Urbana wanted to collect taxes from it for making so much profit. The state of Illinois interfered and basically told Urbana that they can’t do that. They are a brutal hospital to deal with, I think–the biggest in the area. The health insurance industry doesn’t help the situation in the least.

I wonder how different it might be now had the Adventists held on to it.

Considering the fact that the most paid CEO of a hospital in the whole country was at one point in the Adventist system in Florida, I am not surprised by the Adventist decision to sell something that costs too much money to keep.

Yeah, had the Adventists held on to Carle and made it through whatever slump was going on at the time, I’m fairly certain it would be just as brutal as it is now.

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. . . woke up this mornin’,
got those blueprintin’ blues . . .

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