By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News
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“We just feel like we're in a better position to do it,” hospital CEO Mike Glenn said.
Glenn and Dr. Joe Mattern, the hospital's chief medical officer, briefed between 20 and 25 at the luncheon meeting about what Jefferson Healthcare offers and services that would be expanded once a proposed 50,000-square-foot expansion is built on the hospital's property in Port Townsend.
The hospital's current administrative services building, built in 1929, will be torn down to make room for the new facility, Glenn added.
Jefferson Healthcare administrators will not ask hospital district property taxpayers for increases in levy rates, he added.
Instead, a $15 million to $20 million loan will be sought through a U.S. Department of Agriculture program designed to help rural communities, Glenn said.
“We're not going to the community to ask for a publicly supported bond,” Glenn said.
The facility, estimated to cost about $20 million, will expand most of the hospital's services, including emergency room, oncology and orthopedic care, Glenn explained.
After three community forums on hospital expansion held in Port Townsend and Port Ludlow — with two more to come — Glenn said oncology, or cancer care, and orthopedic care were two of common services residents wanted expanded.
The final two community forums are slated for Aug. 5 in Quilcene and Aug. 28 in Chimacum.
The hospital has experienced growth during the past three years in both revenue and wages paid to hospital staff, said Glenn, who is former CEO of Olympic Medical Center and triggered major expansion projects in Port Angeles and Sequim a decade ago.
Since 2011, hospital revenue has increased by about 8 percent from about $60 million in 2011 to $64.8 million in 2012, Glenn said.
Wages have grown 9 percent since 2011, from about $28.3 million then to roughly $31 million in 2012, Glenn said, in addition to the hospital adding 22 full time employees in that time.
“In essence, a $2.6 million business that employs 22 [full-time employees] emerged in 2012 by virtue of Jefferson Healthcare being busy,” Glenn said, adding that inpatient days increase 34 percent since 2011.
Glenn said hospital administration expects to hear from the Agriculture Department on its loan application by Aug. 15, which will set the stage for bringing a final go ahead on the project to the Hospital Board in Sept. 18.
Construction is expected to begin July 2015, Glenn added, with completion slated for December 2015.
Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.