Wenatchee Valley Medical Center (WVMC) and the Douglas County Hospital District #2 have entered into an agreement for WVMC to begin providing health care services at the Waterville Clinic site. This decision came after the hospital’s board of commissioners spent several months looking at alternatives to allow continued provision of primary care and urgent care services in Waterville, given the current operations’ significant financial losses. Although the hospital district is funded in part by tax dollars, the Waterville Clinic has been impacted by changes in the health care industry, as well as low patient counts. Without a change, health care services in Waterville would have ceased by the end of 2012.
Wenatchee Valley Medical Center has had a longstanding relationship with the Waterville Clinic and this provides an opportunity to expand on that partnership and offer additional services to the community. In addition to the services currently being offered at the Waterville Clinic, pharmacy, digital x-ray, vaccinations and infant care will be available with the opening of Wenatchee Valley Medical Center: Waterville. The goal is to make primary health care services easily accessible and convenient for residents of the Waterville area. The Douglas County Hospital District will continue to run the ambulance services, as they are currently.
The Waterville Clinic will close on October 31, 2012 and Wenatchee Valley Medical Center: Waterville will open at the same location on November 1, 2012. Derek Whitehall, PA-C, has been hired as the primary provider and will serve the Waterville community full time. Physicians from WVMC will continue seeing patients in Waterville on a regular basis.
Dr. Peter Rutherford, Chairman and CEO of Wenatchee Valley Medical Center said “Over the years, the goal of WVMC has been to build a regional health care network that delivers high quality, safe, efficient and cost-effective care for the residents of North Central Washington. We felt it was important for the residents of Waterville to continue having access to primary health care and a pharmacy, without needing to travel for that care.”
Mysti O’Brien, on behalf of the Douglas County Hospital District #2 board of commissioners, added “Losing our local rural health care would have been a tragedy! We are looking forward to this expanded partnership because there are many wonderful and exciting new things coming to our clinic. Thank you to the public who came out to our board meetings in support of our clinic.”