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Virginia Mason Franciscan Health launches state's first hybrid ER and urgent care center

Press releases may be edited for formatting or style | August 08, 2022 Business Affairs
SEATTLE and TACOMA, Wash., Aug. 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- Today, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH) announced it will build the state's first hybrid ER/urgent care center in Bremerton, Wash. It will be the first of multiple hybrid facilities VMFH plans to open in the Puget Sound region over the next four years using Intuitive Health's innovative care model of offering emergent and urgent care in a single location.

The unique nature of the hybrid ER/urgent care model eliminates the guesswork for patients unsure of where to go for care. A patient can simply present to the facility and a board-certified emergency physician will examine and triage them to the appropriate level of care based on their need. Patients will only be billed for the level of services they actually receive, which helps manage their costs.

"The healthcare industry is experiencing unprecedented challenges including rising costs of care, staffing shortages and capacity issues in our emergency departments that have all been exacerbated by the pandemic," said Ketul J. Patel, CEO, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. "To address these ongoing challenges, health systems have a responsibility to develop new ways to improve health for everyone in the community, including innovative solutions for care delivery. We are proud to launch the state's first hybrid ER and urgent care facility."

It is estimated that more than 30% of ER visits in the United States are for non-urgent conditions. These unnecessary ER visits divert resources away from patients with potentially life-threatening conditions, increase wait times and drive up health care costs for everyone. The new hybrid ER/urgent care facilities will funnel non-urgent cases away from hospital-based emergency rooms as well as provide additional capacity and access to high-quality emergency care throughout the community.

"Our innovative care model simplifies the patient experience – patients no longer need to choose between the emergency department and the local urgent care center," said Thom Herrmann, CEO of Intuitive Health. "Virginia Mason Franciscan Health's new combined Emergency and Urgent Care facilities will expand the health system's ambulatory footprint across the Puget Sound and ultimately allow them to care for more patients, closer to home."

The Bremerton hybrid ER/urgent care center will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, equipped with onsite lab equipment and a radiology suite with X-ray and multi-slice CT scanners. Bremerton was selected as the first location, following the transition of St. Michael Medical Center from Bremerton to Silverdale. Work on the new facility is underway and slated to be completed in spring 2023.

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