PeaceHealth gets state approval for Sedro-Woolley hospital alliance

The PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center has received approval from the Washington State Department of Health for its planned alliance with United General Hospital in Sedro-Woolley.

State approval is required whenever certain health care providers, including hospitals, plan to build certain types of facilities or offer new or expanded services.

A long-term deal between PeaceHealth and United General was announced last November after approval by commissioners of Public Hospital District 304 in Skagit County. Under the plan, PeaceHealth will lease and operate the hospital, but the facility will still be owned by the Public Hospital District.

It will be renamed the PeaceHealth United General Medical Center and will remain a critical-access hospital, according to PeaceHealth.

The facility, which opened in 1965, serves a number of communities in the area, including Burlington, Sedro-Woolley, Bayview, Samish Island, Concrete, Marblemount, Clear Lake and areas of Mount Vernon.

In April, PeaceHealth and United General agreed to extend the date in which PeaceHealth will take over leasing and operation of the Skagit County medical center. A previous agreement set the deadline for July 1 of this year.

The extended deadline was necessary due to procedural delays with state-level regulators and the need for more time to fully integrate the operations of the two organizations, according to PeaceHealth.

Both parties have agreed to implement a 30-year operating agreement no later than July 1, 2014.

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