Newcastle Valley Medical Center could offer more services

May 6, 2011

By Tim Pfarr

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Valley Medical Center — which has a clinic at 7203 129th Ave. S.E. in Newcastle — signed a letter of intent in January to form a strategic alliance with UW Medicine. The alliance would likely make UW Medicine resources readily available to Valley Medical Center patients.

UW Medicine operates Harborview Medical Center, the UW Medical Center, and numerous other hospitals and clinics across Western Washington. It is also an affiliate of the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance.

The two organizations are working out the details of the alliance this spring, and the alliance could take effect as soon as July, Valley Medical Center spokeswoman Kim Blakely said.

Dr. Jamie Park, director of Newcastle Primary Care and Valley Medical Center’s clinic network, said the alliance would make more specialists and specialized procedures — such as open-heart surgery — more readily available to Valley Medical Center patients.

“UW is pretty clearly the best fit for us,” Park said. “They have things that we need, and we have some things that they need.”

When it comes to scheduling appointments, the process would be much easier, and records could be relayed electronically.

“If we have this affiliation with the University of Washington, it will just be a matter of picking up the phone or getting on a computer to schedule an appointment,” she said.

Without the alliance, Park said it can be a weeklong process to get an appointment with UW Medicine.

“I don’t think people realize how big it is for the quality of care,” he said. “Increasing the access is really great.”

UW Medicine would benefit from having a larger patient base, and although Park said he doesn’t foresee its specialists working at the Newcastle clinic, specialists could spend time working at the Valley Medical Center’s Renton hospital. That could allow Newcastle patients to trade trips to Seattle for trips to Renton.

Valley Medical Center CEO Rich Roodman offered praise for the planned alliance.

“Valley Medical Center brings community focus, a personalized and contemporary patient environment, and a history of great clinical outcomes and technical innovation,” he said in a news release. “Combining these features with the excellence of UW Medicine’s clinical, teaching and research programs would certainly be a benefit to the residents of southeast King County.”


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