Walla Walla will become a one-hospital town July 24 with Monday’s announced closure of Walla Walla General Hospital.
A planned absorption of Adventist Health Service’s Walla Walla General Hospital into Providence Health & Services’ Providence St. Mary Medical Center has been halted and will not go forward, Adventist Health said in a news release today.
“Adventist Health received word that unexpected regulatory challenges have arisen which could linger for an undetermined duration of time and could ultimately prohibit the anticipated transfer of membership,” spokeswoman Judy Leach said in the release.
“Because of this new development, Adventist Health and Providence Health & Services have ceased planning for the transfer of membership and Adventist Health has announced its intention to instead close facilities effective Monday, July 24.”
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Hospital employees were told Monday morning.
The closure means 72 fewer hospital beds and Providence St. Mary as the only acute care hospital in the Walla Walla Valley. Walla Walla General was founded in 1899.
The closure will include all Adventist Health services in Walla Walla — the hospital as well as Adventist Health Home Care Services and Adventist Health Medical Group.
It will not affect Wheatland Village Retirement Center, officials said.
Walla Walla General has faced mounting financial challenges over the last decade, during which time Adventist Health has explored multiple options to provide a sustainable model for the hospital, Leach said.
“This included facility upgrades, exploring new services, and seeking out other partners and alliances that would help make the hospital financially viable,” she said.
Adventist Health has invested more than $68 million to the hospital in recent years, added Joyce Newmyer, president of Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region and Board chair for WWGH.
Leach said it is anticipated many employees and physicians will pursue local job options, but that Adventist health has position openings at 19 other hospitals in the Western United States.