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Posted on Sep 24, 2015

Quincy leaders reach out to Confluence Health

Several local leaders, including those representing Quincy Valley Medical Center, have invited Confluence Health to visit the community to talk about what the Wenatchee-based medical provider can do for Quincy.
The written invitation, which was initiated by the Port of Quincy, is expected to be sent to Confluence Health in the coming days. The invitation was supported by several local leaders who gathered at a special meeting on Sept. 2.
Jeff Davis, vice president of business development and special projects for Confluence Health, confirmed on Tuesday that the medical provider has an interest in serving Quincy. However, no conversations have taken place about what Confluence’s presence may look like, Davis said.
“We don’t have an interest in Quincy Valley Medical Center. We have no interest in in-patient care in any form or fashion,” Davis said. “We do have an interest in Quincy.”
More than 30 people attended the leadership meeting. They represented such organizations as the Quincy Valley Medical Center, the port, the Quincy School Board, Grant County Fire District No. 3, the Grant County Health District, Quincy Community Health Center, the Quincy City Council, Grant County commissioners, the Moses Lake Community Health Center and the Quincy Valley Chamber of Commerce.
Minutes from the meeting state that port commissioner Brian Kuest opened the floor to discuss “Confluence interest in establishing in Quincy.” Comments were given about not only the importance of the hospital to the community but its financial struggles and the district voters’ unwillingness to support a special hospital district levy last November, according to the minutes.
The minutes also state the group agreed to “invite Confluence to meet and describe what their plan for Quincy is.”
After the levy was turned down by the community, it became apparent that the community needed to address the question of what kind of quality healthcare is needed in Quincy that is sustainable and affordable, Kuest said of why the port initiated talks with Confluence Health.
“It is going to have to be a blending of efficiencies that make a quality healthcare (system) for Quincy,” he said.
Kuest, who the group charged with writing the letter, said he planned to bring a letter before the port at its Wednesday meeting before sending it to Confluence Health. Kuest expects that several agencies, including the port, City of Quincy and the hospital, will sign the letter. He hopes Confluence Health will accept the community’s invitation in the coming month and schedule a presentation with the Quincy leadership group.
Medhi Merred, CEO of Quincy Valley Medical Center, said the hospital is open to any options that build a stronger, more viable healthcare model in the community while retaining physicians in Quincy.
“I am always open to looking at other options,” Merred said.
He and the hospital board members also appreciate the input from the local leaders, Merred added.
Confluence Health, an affiliation between Central Washington Hospital and the Wenatchee Valley Medical Clinic, currently is in the process of exploring an affiliation with Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake, Davis said. It also is building a primary care clinic in leased space in Ephrata. Confluence Health has 23 locations in 11 cities that are as far north as the Canadian border and extend to Moses Lake and Royal City, Davis said.
Meanwhile, the hospital’s warrant line with Grant County is at $3,058,000, Merred said.
County commissioners last year set the warrant line cap at $3 million and warned any warrants submitted over that cap may not be paid.
County Treasurer Darryl Pheasant said the county is waiting to see if the hospital administration follows through on promises to make more cuts to bring that warrant line down. While some cuts have been made, hospital revenues this summer were down, Pheasant said.
The county also is waiting to see if any action comes from a future meeting with Confluence Health, he added.
Part of the reason the hospital is over the county’s cap is because concert season at the Gorge Amphitheatre required additional staffing on concert weekends, Merred said. The hospital expects to be below that cap by November, after at least $500,000 in property tax revenue arrives from the county in late October, he said.
At this time last year, the hospital’s warrant line was at $4.2 million, so the hospital is making progress, Merred added.
“We are asking for their patience,” he said of the county.

 

— By Jill FitzSimmons, editor@qvpr.com

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