Snoqualmie Valley Hospital receives trauma center designation, makes progress in affiliation process

Snoqualmie Valley Hospital is now able to provide emergency medical care to trauma patients. Hospital CEO Tom Parker announced the news that the hospital had received the designation of Trauma Center Level Five as part of the Washington State Department of Health’s Trauma System, at the July 13 hospital board meeting.

The trauma designation adds Snoqualmie Valley Hospital to a network of other regional hospitals where patients needing emergency care can be brought for treatment. The Snoqualmie Valley Hospital has been added to the central region in Washington, joining 10 other hospitals including Evergreen Health and Overlake Medical Center.

Depending on the level of injury and the care needed, emergency medical personnel will transport a patient to the closest hospital, based on location. So local residents in need of emergency medical attention won’t have to be transferred out of the Valley.

“If somebody is closer to Kirkland, they will be taken to Evergreen, if they are closer to the Snoqualmie Valley they will bring that patient here,” Parker said. “It allows the EMS community to bring patients to this hospital and keep their care local. That’s the most important part of that, not having to be transferred out of the area. We want to provide services to the community, that’s why we are here.”

Designations levels determine what kind of injuries each hospital is capable of treating; level five is the lowest and one is the highest. The hospital already operates at level five, so the designation was a natural fit, Parker said.

In a press release, Chief Medical Officer Dr. Kimberly Witkop said the hospital will be able to treat and stabilize patients with moderate trauma, including “fractures, dislocations, deep or extensive lacerations, falls and other similar injuries.”

The Department of Health’s trauma council voted to add a new opening for another level five trauma center in the central region this spring, Parker said, so they opened up the position for hospitals to apply for. The hospital administration finalized their application in May and were selected in July.

Affiliation progress

Parker also announced at the meeting that the hospital had received four letters of intent responding its RFP for affiliation partners. Responses came from MultiCare Health System, Regional Health, as well as Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan Health, who will be presenting a joint proposal.

Parker said Overlake Medical Center also expressed intent to “carefully evaluate the opportunity.”

“Overlake is still active in evaluating the opportunity and we’ve been responding to data requests from them,” Parker said. “They just expressed it a little bit differently.”

The staff has begun to answer requests for information from the interested parties to help them create their affiliation proposals before the deadline of Aug. 11. At the next board meeting in August, affiliation consultants Huebner Advisory and Sarah Cave Consulting will work with the board to review the process for evaluating the proposals.

The consultants will create an additional analysis of all of the proposals as a way to compare the offers from the four, or possibly five, organizations. Parker reiterated his goal of being in discussions with a chosen affiliate partner by the end of the year.

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