Harrison expansion will bring big changes to Silverdale area

Harrison Medical Center’s Silverdale campus as it currently looks. - Contributed photo
Harrison Medical Center’s Silverdale campus as it currently looks.
— image credit: Contributed photo

Within five years, Harrison Medical Center’s campus in Silverdale will fill 32 acres near where Highway 303 and Ridgetop Boulevard meet.

That was the message Jim Alvarez, executive director of support services for Harrison Medical Center, brought to the Central Kitsap Community Council last week.

“We call it our Vision 2020,” said Alvarez. “It’s the next evolution of Harrison.”

With a 20-minute PowerPoint in hand, Alvarez took the council through the steps Harrison had taken to get to the decision to place all their acute care in Silverdale.

He said the hospital has always had a strategic plan and generally updates it every five years. He said hospital leaders looked at combining acute care in Silverdale in 2010, but didn’t think the time was right.

However, most recently, when the strategic plan was updated, and Vision 2020 was created, the time seemed to be right to make the move.

“In 2010, the Silverdale campus wasn’t large enough,” he said. “It was deemed too expensive. But now, we have the land, and with the resources of Franciscan Health System, we have the financial ability to do this.”

Harrison completed an affiliation with the Franciscan Health System several months ago. Alvarez said in a question-and-answer session following his report that Franciscan has told Harrison that it will provide the capital for the expansion in Silverdale which is expected to be about $210 to $230 million.

“Health care in 2020 will be radically different,” he said. “We’re seeing changes every day. It just makes sense for all of our acute patient care to be in one place.”

Now, he said Harrison operates with emergency rooms at both locations, kitchens, laboratories …“it just doesn’t make sense.”

The duplication of services is expensive and in today’s health care world, that has to change, he said.

“When you think about the fact that equipment has to replaced, you begin to see that that means double the costs when we have labs and kitchens at both locations,” he said.

Too, he said, situations happen where someone is taken to Bremerton’s ER after an accident, but they need to be seen by an orthopedic physician or surgeon, and so they have to be transported to Silverdale for that.

“This solves those kinds of situations,” Alvarez said.

Another major hurdle is that patients now need single rooms and most patient rooms at Bremerton are double occupancy. He said they looked at converting the rooms at Bremerton to single bed rooms, but the costs of that were prohibitive.

And with the current patient counts, what is needed is about 250 beds, which can be accomplished at Silverdale.

“Inpatient care is down about 20 percent in the last few years,” he said. “More procedures are going to an outpatient basis. But at Silverdale, we will have room to build a second tower of patient rooms if that’s needed in the future.”

Alvarez showed a design concept which placed patient rooms in a tower located in the center of the campus. He said all the expansion will be between Highway 303, Ridgetop Boulevard and Myhre Road. A parking garage will be added. He said the hospital is currently studying whether another off ramp from Highway 303 to the hospital campus will be needed. The cost of that would be covered by Harrison in traffic mitigation agreements.

The planning, architectural work and construction is expected to happen within the next four years. What’s still to be decided is what services will stay in Bremerton, and he said Harrison is currently putting together a committee to take a look at that. Almost certain, is that an urgent care and some primary care offices will stay in Bremerton

Their recommendations will go to the hospital’s board of directors by October.

Alvarez said according to the statistics that the hospital has, 86 percent of its patients come from outside the downtown Bremerton area.

“So Silverdale would be more convenient to both our patients and the aid cars,” he said.

In another matter, the council was told that its committee on the Central Kitsap Community Campus has completed its master plan for the campus and that plan will be discussed by the Kitsap County Planning Commission at 6 p.m. July 15 at the county administrative building in Port Orchard. There has been a public hearing set on the plan for 6 p.m. Aug. 5 in Port Orchard.

Several council members noted that the public hearings on the campus and on the county’s sign ordinance should be held in Silverdale because residents in Silverdale are the most affected by both.


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