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Hospital not happy with Valley Medical direction

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital officials said, if the Valley Medical Centers district expansion measure passes on May 16, medical services will be impacted in the Valley, but not critically.

After three weeks of listening to community comments and studying the potential impact, the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Board of Directors passed a position paper saying if the measure passes, the Maple Valley Medical Clinic would most likely be closed. Board members stopped short of opposing the Valley Medical Center's annexation request.

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital Administrator Rodger McCollum said outpatient surgery and imaging services at the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital would be affected if the doors are closed at the Maple Valley clinic.

Maple Valley is not part of the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital District. However, hospital officials have always considered Maple Valley a part of the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital service area.

"It would impact us in Snoqualmie, but not critically," McCollum said.

According to McCollum, the impact will be felt most in the five- to 10-year plans for extending medical services.

He said the Maple Valley clinic has been open for about nine months.

"Financially, the clinic is actually doing better than we projected."

Three weeks ago, McCollum heard about the Valley Medical Center's request to expand Hospital District No. 1; extending it into Maple Valley and the Enumclaw Plateau area. The measure proposes a 59-cent tax per $1,000 of assessed valuation to support the competing medical services into those areas. Affected residents would only be those who live within the expanded district areas.

The city of Enumclaw has issued a letter opposing the measure.

This doesn't surprise McCollum. Snoqualmie Valley Hospital administrators have considered Maple Valley a part of its service area for many years, McCollum said.

He decided to find out how Maple Valley felt about the medical services and attended open forum meetings held at the Maple Valley Chamber of Commerce and the Maple Valley City Hall.

"The Maple Valley community made it clear; they are very supportive of our presence there and want to keep our services," McCollum said.

Residents in the proposed expansion area will vote on the measure May 16.

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