CHI Franciscan plans $530 million-plus investment in Western Washington

January 15, 2017

System also advances clinical, mental health partnerships


CHI Franciscan Health will invest more than $530 million in its health care facilities in Western Washington's Puget Sound area. Plans call for the system to dismantle its campus in Bremerton, overhaul its campus in Silverdale and expand its campus in Gig Harbor.

An architectural rendering of the expansion project at Harrison Medical Center's Silverdale, Wash., campus. The project is part of a broader regional capital plan for CHI Franciscan Health of Tacoma, Wash.
Courtesy of NBBJ Architecture

CHI Franciscan and Seattle's Virginia Mason Health System have signed a letter of intent to form a clinical partnership and strategic affiliation. And CHI Franciscan plans to expand mental health services in the greater Tacoma region through a joint venture with MultiCare Health System.

Ketul J. Patel, chief executive of Tacoma, Wash.–based CHI Franciscan, said the changes the system is making position it very well to improve health care delivery in the Puget Sound area. Part of Catholic Health Initiatives, CHI Franciscan includes eight hospitals and hundreds of outpatient clinics serving Washington's Pierce, King and Kitsap Counties.

Harrison Medical transformation
About $484 million of the half-billion dollar investment CHI Franciscan plans to make in the Olympic Peninsula will transform the two inpatient campuses of Harrison Medical Center, which became part of CHI Franciscan three years ago.

Currently, the Harrison Medical Center Bremerton campus has 242 beds; and the Silverdale campus, 44. CHI Franciscan plans to transfer all of the Bremerton beds to the Silverdale facility and to completely update and expand the Silverdale campus. The Silverdale campus will have all private rooms (the Bremerton campus currently has none). CHI Franciscan will enhance services currently offered at the two campuses as it consolidates them at the Silverdale site, according to Patel.

CHI Franciscan plans to complete the Silverdale renovations in 2019. It will discontinue services at the Bremerton campus. Plans call for CHI Franciscan to build an ambulatory care center in Bremerton as part of the regional investment.

Silverdale is about 10 miles north of Bremerton. Patel said CHI Franciscan chose to focus its Harrison Medical Center improvements in Silverdale because the population is growing in that community, and projections indicate that growth will continue.

CHI Franciscan has submitted a certificate of need with the Washington State Department of Health for the changes.


About $15.6 million of CHI Franciscan's $530 million investment will fund an expansion at the system's St. Anthony Hospital in Gig Harbor. The development of shelled space at the hospital will add 32 beds, for a total of 112 beds at the hospital. Patel said there is a significant need for that expansion — Gig Harbor is a growing community, and the hospital is currently at capacity.

Virginia Mason affiliation
CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason said their partnership will create a regional health network that will expand health care access and improve quality and safety across the Puget Sound region.

Virginia Mason is a nationally known secular nonprofit with a 336-bed hospital in Seattle, outpatient medical centers in seven communities, a 500-physician group practice, a research institute, a training institute and other sites around Puget Sound.

Plans call for CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason to remain separate organizations, with each maintaining its own operations, finances and identity. CHI Franciscan will maintain its faith-based status, and Virginia Mason, its secular status. There will be no joint operating structure, said Patel.

The organizations will connect their clinicians, so that they can learn from one another. Together they will develop and share best practices. Patel said it is too early to know exactly how the partnership will take shape. Over the next several months, representatives of the organizations will be meeting to begin to define how they will work together, what the areas of focus will be and how the partnership will function, from a practical standpoint.

The projects will impact CHI Franciscan facilities in Washington state's Puget Sound region.

This is CHI Franciscan's second major affiliation in Seattle. The system has a 50-50 partnership with CityMD, an urgent care company, to build urgent care centers around Tacoma and Seattle.

Mental health investment
CHI Franciscan and the five-hospital not-for-profit secular health system, MultiCare Health System, plan to jointly build a $41 million, 120-bed psychiatric hospital. The partners will erect the facility at MultiCare's Allenmore Hospital campus in Tacoma. The Washington State Department of Health has approved a certificate of need for the project.

The two nonprofit Tacoma systems have formed a 50-50 joint venture to build and operate the psychiatric hospital. It is not yet known when construction will begin.

Patel said community health needs assessments have shown that there are a large number of patients in acute need of mental health services and a significant lack of facilities and providers available to meet the need in and around Tacoma. According to information from CHI Franciscan, all Washington hospitals are seeing an increase in patients with behavioral health needs, and many of them also have medical and surgical needs.

Both CHI Franciscan and MultiCare have psychiatric services in the Tacoma area. CHI Franciscan's St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma has a 23-bed mental health unit that treated about 1,200 patients during the fiscal year that began in July 2015.

Patel said Washington state facilities must keep patients with acute psychiatric needs in the emergency department or in inpatient beds until the hospitals are able to transfer them to another facility specializing in psychiatric care. According to information from the system, CHI Franciscan had about 890 requests for a psychiatric consult from patients in St. Joseph's emergency room or on a nursing unit in the fiscal year that began in July 2015. Some of those patients were admitted to St. Joseph's mental health unit. In cases in which that was not the ideal option for the patient, hospital social workers contacted other facilities with inpatient psychiatric beds to admit the patient. St. Joseph's mental health unit has an average stay of six to seven days. Patients with longer-term inpatient needs normally go to Washington's Western State Hospital.

Patel said the new facility CHI Franciscan and MultiCare are developing should help ameliorate concerns with escalating psychiatric needs in the community, and strained infrastructure. "We're trying to tackle the core issue of these behavioral health needs," he said.


Copyright © 2017 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.

Copyright © 2017 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.