Questions and Answers
Q. Why does MultiCare want to build a new medical center in Covington?
A. Rapidly growing communities in South King County need the new MultiCare Covington Medical Center to meet the increasing call for more hospital beds and comprehensive health care close to home. We were the first major health care provider to build a large clinic in this area nearly 20 years ago. The new medical center we propose is a natural extension of our strong and ongoing commitment to meet the medical needs of these communities.
Q. Where will the new medical center be located?
A. The new medical center will be built on the site of the existing MultiCare Covington Clinic.
Q. What is the process for getting approval from the state and who decides?
A. MultiCare filed a Certificate of Need Application with the Washington State Department of Health on December 23, 2009. On December 21, 2010 the Department of Health approved our application for 58 inpatient hospital beds.
Q. How can I learn more about the Certificate of Need process?
A. More information on the CON Program can be found here: http://www.doh.wa.gov/hsqa/FSL/certneed or 360-236-2931.
Q. Do you need approval from the State Department of Health to build the Emergency Department?
A. The emergency department does NOT need to go through the Certificate of Need process and MultiCare will build the Emergency Department on the current clinic site. MultiCare is currently in the permitting process with the city for the new ED and is projecting the emergency department will open in late 2011 or early 2012.
Q. When is the new medical center scheduled to open?
A. We anticipate beginning construction of the hospital in 2012 with the goal of completing the project within two to four years as is typical with a construction project of this magnitude. However, we are building a new, full-service emergency department that will open in spring 2012. The emergency department does not require permission from the state to go forward.
Q. What sorts of services will be available in the Emergency Department?
A. The Emergency Department will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week and will include the full complement of emergency medical services for adults and children. It will cut in half the travel times for many South King County residents who need emergency care.
Q. What new or expanded services will the new medical center include?
A. Among the services the medical center will include are:
- A new freestanding emergency room
- General and specialized surgery departments for procedures requiring a short stay
- An increased range of minimally invasive surgeries including those performed with the aid of the latest robotic-assisted technologies
- A women and children’s center providing the full array of health care for women, including prenatal, childbirth and gynecological services, as well as the expertise of Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital pediatric specialists to provide advanced care for children from newborns to young adults
- A general medicine department to care for patients referred for inpatient treatment from the emergency department or clinic
- A new state-of-the-art diagnostic imaging center
Q. Will there still be an urgent care?
A. The existing urgent care at MultiCare Covington Clinic will remain. MultiCare currently sees 30,000 patients a year at its urgent care. The new emergency room will be added to the services offered at the existing clinic. Having both an urgent care and an emergency room will enable the new medical center to care for all patients in the most efficient and appropriate settings.
Q. What new technologies will be available at the new medical center?
A. MultiCare will cost-effectively deploy information and clinical technologies, all of which improve quality of care and reduce costs. This is a significant advantage, not currently available to area residents. Technologies include telemedicine, robotic-assisted surgery equipment that helps shorten recovery times and advanced diagnostic imaging.
Q. Will the new medical center be a “green” building?
A. The new building will use the latest innovative design and construction techniques to reduce energy consumption. It will also make the most effective use of the existing clinic to minimize new construction. We are also preserving the grove of oak trees on the site and will design the new building to be environmentally sensitive.
Q. Will the new medical center have a cafeteria or coffee shop?
A. The preliminary plan included in the Certificate of Need application calls for the new medical center building to have a cafeteria. There is also an existing café in the current MultiCare Covington Clinic.
Q. What other amenities will the new medical center include?
A. Additional amenities will include a community center for public use, a cafeteria, a gift shop and luxurious birthing suites.
Q. Will parking be free of charge and will the project include a parking garage?
A. Parking will be free and the plan calls for expanding parking as part of the project.
Q. How will the new medical center impact the surrounding area economically?
A. The new medical center will provide a broad range of new jobs – approximately 550 jobs. These new jobs will create other new jobs in the community and increased revenues for restaurants, banks, retail, and other nearby service businesses.
Q. How will the increase in traffic be handled?
A. MultiCare understands traffic is an issue that will have to be dealt with. So we will be working with government officials to determine what transportation improvements would be needed to handle traffic the new medical center would generate.
Q. How will MultiCare pay for the medical center if granted permission to build it?
A. The total cost of the new medical center, including freestanding emergency department, is approximately $175 million. Of that amount, about two-thirds will be financed by issuing tax-exempt bonds through the Washington State Health Care Facilities Authority. The other third or so will come from MultiCare’s financial reserves set aside for just this type of purpose.
Q. What happened to the plan to build a facility in Auburn?
A. MultiCare made numerous attempts to build a facility in Auburn in the late 1990s. We were unable to get permission from the state to make that happen.
Q. Should I share these plans with my neighbors?
A. We encourage you to share these plans with your friends and neighbors and to urge them to get involved in supporting the new MultiCare Covington Medical Center.
Q. Will the old building have any changes made to it?
A. To create a cohesive building, we will be looking at the existing clinic and evaluating any modifications that may need to be made. If changes need to be made, they will be made at an appropriate time.