Jefferson Healthcare CEO outlines upcoming expansion project

Mike Glenn.

Mike Glenn.

PORT TOWNSEND — Jefferson Healthcare’s campus replacement and expansion project is slated to start in fewer than six months, and while patients might experience some inconveniences while construction is underway, they shouldn’t expect any reduction in the level of care, said CEO Mike Glenn.

At the end of the process, patients will be able to enjoy a larger facility with new and enhanced services and shorter wait times, he assured listeners during an online Jefferson Chamber Cafe on Friday, adding that the goal is to continue serving the community with as little disruption as what he called “70 weeks of challenge” would allow.

“We had no room to grow, and that kept us from meeting demand and having new services,” Glenn said.

The new facility for the hospital in Port Townsend would provide space to expand in-demand services like dermatology, while having the capacity for the hospital to add ENT and neurology services — two of the most sought-after specialities for which patients must now travel out of the community to obtain.

Ambulatory surgery, geriatric consulting and pulmonology also will be added. Glenn said it would be the first critical access hospital in the state to offer radiation therapy, and as a result patients, would not have to drive to Sequim, Kitsap County or Seattle to seek treatment.

Work on the $83,695,136 project will start with demolition of the 1969 building in September with construction commencing in October. Glenn said he expected the cost to drop. The goal is to complete the project in the first quarter of 2025 and move in late in the first quarter.

The new facility is a design-build project in which all phases of work happen simultaneously as Jefferson Healthcare, its contractor and architectural firm work together throughout the process. In addition, to be more cost-effective, the approach has other advantages over traditional design-bid-build projects.

“There is a continuity in architecture in design,” Glenn said. “We wanted to make the building look line one construction project.”

The hospital board decided not to go out to ask for public funding for the improvements.

The ESSB building, which opened in 2016, will be in use throughout the process as demolition and construction goes on around it.

Funding comes from a number of different sources, including a USDA loan; $4 million from the state Legislature; a $2.25 million federal appropriations request; Jefferson Healthcare’s cash reserves; and $2.5 million the Jefferson Healthcare Foundation has been tasked with raising.

Grant requests of $2.5 million for 2023 and for 2024 are pending, Glenn said.

“New revenue more than covers the financing of the USDA loan, which was how we paid for the ESSB,” Glenn said.

Glenn said Jefferson Healthcare tried to be as responsive as possible to the community, whether that was providing a covered bike rack area at the new hospital or offering patients financial assistance.

He said Jefferson Healthcare has one of the most generous charity care programs in the state, providing $3.3 million in free and discounted care to the community, as well as $3.8 million in uncompensated care.

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Reporter Paula Hunt can be reached at paula.hunt@soundpublishing.com.

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