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CHI Franciscan to close Vashon Health Clinic

CHI Franciscan Health, which has operated the medical clinic at Sunrise Ridge for three years, announced on Friday the 6th it will cease operations there August 5 2016.

Franciscan officials delivered the news in person on Friday morning to clinic staff. They have also sent letters, this week, to clinic patients.

Tim Marsh, vice president of operations with the Franciscan Medical Group, was one of those who came to the island to deliver the news.

“The clinic has faced ongoing challenges” he said. “Closing the clinic was a difficult business decision; however, operational expenses have been exceeding revenue, making the clinic unsustainable.”

Physicians and other staff at the clinic are being given the opportunity to apply for open positions throughout the Franciscan system, Marsh said, and patients can follow their providers or transfer care to the nearest Franciscan clinics that have room to accommodate them, in West Seattle and Port Orchard.

The news is coming as a shock to many islanders. Members of the Vashon-Maury Health Collaborative (VMHC) — which formed four years ago to improve health care on Vashon — have known the Franciscans did not intend to stay long-term and have reached out to medical systems in the region to see if any might be interested in running a clinic on Vashon — and avert a health care crisis on the island.

Two other entities have expressed interest in opening a clinic on Vashon, including UW Medicine, one of the members of the group Tag Gornall said. These conversations are still in the early phase with no specific clinic site mentioned.
VMHC members include Tag Gornall, John Jenkel, an attorney, and Tim Johnson, who has a business background and currently managers Granny’s Attic.

VMHC hopes to hold a community forum on the issue in the near future.

For more information about the VMHC, see its website at and click on the “Visualize Health Care” tab.

*Adapted from a story in The Beachcomber and information from CHI Franciscans.