Construction of new Sunnyside hospital could start in fall, add more jobs

Contact: Dawn O'Polka 509-837-1543

Ariella Tomlin, Reporter, KIMA

SUNNYSIDE, Wash. -- More than a year later, Sunnyside Community Hospital is finally bringing its vision of a new multi-million-dollar facility to life. Construction could start as early as this fall thanks to recent funding from the state and other sources.

Sunnyside joined Yakima Regional Center and Toppenish Community Hospital as part of the new Regional Health system earlier this year. Steady patient growth has been the biggest factor for a new facility that could transform healthcare in the valley.

“Regional Health is very excited about the progress that Sunnyside Community Hospital has made,” said Regional Health President John Gallagher. But with more than 560 employees landlocked on 2.8 acres, more space has been necessary to meet the needs of patients.

“The hospital acquired 50 acres out on the freeway at the Wanita exit for a master facility planned campus,” said Gallagher. A modern, open, and spacious campus design will be a reality funded by several sources.

Hospital officials said $120 million has been invested by the Sunnyside Community Hospital Association, as well as a $2 million loan from the state and money from the county and city. “It'll be really focused on out-patient services along with in-patient as well,” said Gallagher.

Despite 75 percent of services now trending toward out-patient care, hospital officials said quick accessibility is key. The new facility will have 58 patient beds - more than doubling the hospital's current capacity.

“Having someone who can just run across a walkway and be immediately available at our patients' bedsides is very important,” said Sunnyside’s Chief Nursing Officer Cynthia Lewis. New in-patient services will also come to the new facility, including behavioral health care and a rehab and detox unit, adding to more than a dozen specialized areas of healthcare already available at the hospital.

“It supports the care delivery process and our focus on the community, which is what we're all about in healthcare; that's why we're all here,” said Lewis. Job growth is another aspect of the new facility, with 32 positions being added, joining nearly 100 registered nurses at the hospital. Improving access and bringing more healthcare closer to home for families.

“We can continue to focus on the communities and reinvest back in those communities to improve the health and lives of the families,” said Gallagher. Regional Health employs more than 1,400 healthcare workers at its three hospitals. Regional Health officials said they are also seeking funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The hospital's design is currently being reviewed by the state Department of Health.

Posted June 09, 2017


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