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Party time for hospital

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SNOQUALMIE - After more than a year of accepting patients, the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital is formally celebrating getting back into the business of helping people.

A celebration commemorating the reopening of the hospital will he held next week, and for the staff of the hospital and hospital commissioners, it is long past due.

"It signifies that we have been open and that we are part of the community," said Larry Larson, director of professional and support services.

The hospital, which shut down twice previously due to financial problems, was reopened on the last day of 2000 with a new administration. Since then, it has treated about 65 inpatients and added a mental health-care clinic for seniors. The hospital signed an agreement with Overlake Hospital Medical Center last year that will enable it to streamline some of its administrative and medical services with other staff in Bellevue.

The hospital wants to eventually build up services so the Valley will have all its medical needs met right at home.

"We don't have all the things they [larger hospitals] do, but we want to eventually serve all the basic health-care needs of the people of the Valley," Larson said. "We will be adding services all the time. It's like a baby that has to learn to turn over and then crawl and then walk."

But the growth cannot come without patients, and King County Public Hospital District 4 Commissioner Cynthia Johnson said the celebration will be a way to tell the Valley and local health-care providers that it is ready and waiting for business.

"A lot of people out there are not aware that we are even here," Johnson said.

Larson believes many people forgot about the hospital after it closed, thinking it was a lost cause. After a year of smooth sailing and steady growth, though, he thinks the Valley is prepared to be introduced to the hospital again.

The celebration commemorating the reopening of the hospital, which is open to the public, will be held on Saturday, April 6, from noon to 2 p.m. at the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital, 9575 Ethan Wade Way.

You can reach Ben Cape at (425) 888-2311, or e-mail him at ben.cape@valleyrecord.com.

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