Snoqualmie Valley Hospital affiliation process nears decision point

On Thursday, Feb. 8, Dariel Norris, president of the Public Hospital District No. 4 board of commissioners, gave an update on the Snoqualmie Valley Hospital’s affiliation discussions with Astria Health.

The process to pursue a possible affiliation or merger with another health system began in early 2017 when the board hired Sarah Cave and Steve Huebner, consultants to help guide them through crafting a request for proposals, analysis of the proposals and discussions with responding organizations.

The board hopes to affiliate or merge with a larger hospital system to receive additional operations support as well as financial support, because a larger health system would absorb the hospital’s debt.

Over the past year, the board put out their RFP and received one response, from Regional Health which recently changed its name to Astria Health. In a meeting at the hospital in November, Astria proposed two options for affiliation. The first was a long-term lease, 25 to 30 years, with the possibility of purchase. The second was a merger option. After meeting with Astria, the board decided to continue discussions with smaller negotiation teams to work out the details behind each of the proposed models.

Board President Norris updated commissioners on the process at the February board meeting. She said the negotiating teams were optimistic about the models they were working with and said that both parties were working with a brokerage firm that issues the hospital’s bonds to determine bond-holder involvement and estimate the timeline of the process.

Commissioners Emma Herron and Gene Pollard both expressed their concern that the process up to this point had taken too long and were worried that the board was spending too much money.

Hospital CEO Tom Parker said the costs were consistent with the approach outlined by the affiliation consultants.

“We are currently now in the due diligence phase of that agreement so we are consistent with where they projected we will be,” he said.

Parker continued to explain that they are planning to come to a resolution of the deal structure with Astria by the end of February or the first week of March, and that the process is still on time and on track.

“We are working in good faith with Astria to get to that point where we know whether or not we are able to move forward,” he said. “…We are looking at the end of this month, first week of March to be able to say ‘does it still look like there is a possibility?’”

Pollard also expressed frustration with the RFP process as a whole, claiming that in the history of mergers and acquisitions in Western Washington none of them have been through an RFP process. He said he would have liked to see personal connections made as the hospital reached out individually to large health care organizations.

Norris restated that the team is working hard and being diligent with finances in order to come to the most informed decision they can.

Parker added that the intense complexity of the matter is why the process is taking weeks to be done.

“We are talking about how the proposed model affected the corporate structure and most particularly, the covenants under our revenue bonds, that is what we are dealing with now, and understanding what bond holder requirements are going to be under this model,” he said. “The complexity of the issue is high, this is not a simple transaction.”


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@valleyrecord.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.valleyrecord.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

In Phase 2 of Gov. Jay Inslee’s reopening plan, which was announced Jan. 28, restaurants can reopen at a maximum 25% capacity and a limit of six people per table. Inslee recently announced all counties will be staying in Phase 2 of the state’s reopening plan for the next several weeks. Pictured: People enjoy outdoor dining last summer in downtown Kent. Courtesy photo
Inslee: All of Washington to stay in Phase 2 for a few weeks

The governor issued a weekslong pause on regions moving backward, but has yet to outline a Phase 3.

Snoqualmie Falls was shown frequently in Twin Peaks, as was the Salish Lodge & Spa resting on the cliff above the falls. File photo
News around the Valley: Trailheads, Chamber news, ‘Twin Peaks’

Trailhead Ambassador program launches From Trailhead Ambassadors The Trailhead Ambassador program will… Continue reading

Entrance to the Tukwila Library branch of the King County Library System. File photo
King County libraries will reopen in some cities for in-person services

Fall City, Kent libraries among six selected for partial reopening.

In a zipper merge, cars continue in their lanes and then take turns at the point where the lanes meet. (Koenb via Wikimedia Commons)
Do Washington drivers need to learn the zipper merge?

Legislators propose requiring zipper merge instruction in drivers education and in license test.

Centennial Well is tightly connected to the Snoqualmie River. North Bend is required to find two mitigation sources which can be tapped to replenish water in the river on days with low flows. Ashley Hiruko/staff photo
North Bend, Sallal could restart water negotiations

Representatives from both utilities have said they’re talking again.

A South King Fire & Rescue firefighter places a used test swab into a secure COVID test vial on Nov. 18, 2020, at a Federal Way testing site. (Sound Publishing file photo)
Masks are still king in combating new COVID strains

A top UW doctor talks new strains, masks and when normal could return.

Fall City Fire Chief Chris Connor is retiring on Feb. 26, 2021 after 40 years with the department. Contributed photo
Fall City Fire Chief retires after four decades

Chief Chris Connor started with the department in February 1981.

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Democrats look to allow noncitizens to serve on school boards

A Senate bill takes aim at a state law requiring anyone seeking elected office to be a citizen.

A road closure due to flooding on SE Park Street, Snoqualmie, during the 2016 flood. File photo
Minor flooding possible along Snoqualmie, Tolt rivers

Both the Snoqualmie and Tolt rivers reached minor flooding phases on Monday… Continue reading

Most Read