HealthLeaders-InterStudy, the leading provider of managed care market intelligence, reports that Seattle's sprawl away from the Puget Sound shoreline is growing as health systems try to tap into the growing Eastside. According to the latest Seattle Market Overview, Swedish Medical Center and Overlake Hospital Medical Center have been vying for state approval of a new hospital in Issaquah along the interstate 90 corridor.
"This once-rural area is becoming saturated with more affluent and more conservative suburbanites, and the hospitals serving the area want to invest in it to accommodate the growth," states Mark Cherry, market analyst for HealthLeaders-InterStudy and author of the report.
In January 2007, after two years of repeatedly trying to obtain approval for construction of a new hospital, a King County Superior Court judge directed the state to reconsider Swedish Medical Center's proposed 175-bed hospital in Issaquah.
Previously, the Department of Health in May 2005 had rejected proposals from Swedish as well as Overlake, which had proposed a 120-bed hospital in the same area. While Swedish filed a petition for judicial review in the Superior Court, Overlake opted not to, figuring if the judge remanded it back to the state, it would consider both of the applications. However, that does not seem to be the case, as the Swedish facility is the only proposal currently being reconsidered.
Overlake hospital officials have vowed to fight the judge's January 2007 ruling that only Swedish's proposed hospital be reconsidered by the state. Overlake already has a significant presence in the Issaquah area, with an urgent-care center, a women's center and about 90 physicians practicing locally. With a current hospital facility located in Bellevue, Overlake is the only Level III trauma center on the Eastside.
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