June 19, 2017: Plans announced in April to transfer the control of Walla Walla General Hospital from Adventist Health to Providence Health & Services have been halted.
Adventist Health has announced that the hospital will instead be closed.
In addition to the shuttering of the hospital, Adventist Health Home Care Services and Adventist Health Medical Group will close.
Regulatory hurdles threatened to delay the intended transfer of control or make it impossible.
After learning the depth of the regulatory challenges, Adventist Health decided to close the facilities instead of continuing to attempt the shift of control.
NBC affiliate KNDO23 reported on its website that Walla Walla General Hospital had faced growing financial challenges over the years.
Several options to revive the facility were entertained including facility upgrades and exploration of new services and partners.
Joyce Newmyer, President of Adventist Health Pacific Northwest Region and Board Chair of Walla Walla General Hospital said that Adventist Health had invested $68 million into the hospital during recent years.
“We respect the legacy of this hospital, its place in the heart of our community, and the investments we have all made to sustain it for more than a century. Unfortunately, we must now acknowledge the current healthcare environment creates an unsustainable future for the local hospital.”
Newmeyer added that knowledge of how physicians and staff had served the community for over a century had “made this one of the most heart-breaking decisions we have had to make as a company. There is no way to adequately articulate the value of their contribution over the years.”
Physicians were notified of the decision to close the facility early today.
KNDO23 reported that due to unrelenting demand for health care in the area, physicians and staff are likely to pursue alternative employment locally.
For those able to relocate, opportunities may be available at 19 other Adventist Health hospitals most of which are located in California.