Swedish Medical Center officials to come to Port Angeles

PORT ANGELES — Top officials from Swedish Medical Center will make site visits to Olympic Medical Center next month to discus a potential affiliation with the three North Olympic Peninsula hospitals and specifically with OMC.

Dr. Rod Hochman, chief executive officer at Swedish, and Chief Administrative Officer Marcel Loh will meet with OMC staff and commissioners June 7.

A public presentation is planned that day at 6 p.m. in Linkletter Hall in the basement conference area of the Port Angeles hospital, 939 Caroline St.

“We are working on a final umbrella affiliation agreement,” said Eric Lewis, OMC’s chief executive officer, at Wednesday’s commissioners’ meeting.

“We had hoped maybe to get that done by June 15. It’s probably not going to be done that quickly,” he said.

“We’re looking at maybe July or August,” Lewis said.

Community forums

OMC will hold community forums in Port Angeles and Sequim to explain the affiliation’s nuts and bolts, which are still being negotiated, and gather feedback from the public.

Dates for those forums have not been set.

“We will do that before we ask the board for any action on a potential affiliation agreement,” Lewis said.

On June 21, Dr. Tom Wood, Swedish chief medical information officer, will make a presentation for OMC medical staff and management on Epic electronic medical records, which Swedish would help the hospitals install.

‘That will just give us more information on Epic and answer people’s questions,” said Lewis.

OMC, Jefferson Healthcare and Forks Community Hospital each have approved memorandums of intent to form a tertiary partnership with the Seattle-based Swedish Medical Center.

Patient referrals

The nonbinding documents set the stage for a potential affiliation with Swedish for patient referrals, clinical services and technology improvements.

If a formal affiliation agreement is reached this summer, the three Peninsula hospitals would refer patients to Swedish for specialized care they can’t get locally.

In return, Swedish will refer patients back for follow-up care and help the local hospital implement major improvements such electronic medical records.

Patient choice and physician choice would remain.

Swedish wants to expand its network to other hospitals in the future, Lewis said. The agreement with the Peninsula hospitals would be used as a model.

“We’re drafting an agreement that would be a standard agreement, but it has to fit hospitals the size of Forks, the size of Olympic Medical Center or even hospitals far larger than Olympic Medical Center,” Lewis said.

“It’s something that Swedish is spending a lot of time on, and so are we. But we will get it done, and we are making good progress on it.”

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Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at 360-417-3537 or at [email protected]

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