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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Deer Park Hospital closing

Deer Park Hospital will close early next year as predicted after failing in recent years to admit enough patients.

Executives and board members of Providence Health & Services reviewed data that showed the hospital north of Spokane admitted on average less than one patient a day.

About 95 percent of the Deer Park area residents in need of hospitalization are admitted to Holy Family Hospital or other Spokane medical centers, making the closure decision practical, albeit still unfortunate, said Thomas Corley, president of Holy Family.

Deer Park Hospital’s 79 employees, including about 60 who work full-time, have been encouraged to apply for jobs at other Providence properties, including Holy Family and Sacred Heart Medical Center.

Some in the community of 3,500 had tried to reverse what turned out to be an inevitable decision.

“Deer Park has the best and worst of both worlds,” said Providence spokeswoman Liz DeRuyter, noting that the hospital sits a mere 18 miles from Spokane and its four major hospitals complete with specialist care and the latest medical technology.

The 24-bed hospital was a $6 million to $7 million a year enterprise within Providence.

Though it lost $264,000 last year, its financial performance was not the major factor in the closure decision, said Skip Davis, chief executive of Providence’s operations in Eastern Washington. In fact, Deer Park was $724,000 on the plus side in 2004, and showed a $550,000 gain in 2003.

Providence officials have been looking for several years at the Deer Park situation and concluded after a study in 2007, however, that the hospital was greatly underused with little chance of regaining patients.

Davis said the building would be maintained and perhaps used as Providence tries to expand outpatient and primary care services. Other uses may be space for physical therapy, laboratory services and maintaining the helipad for MedStar air ambulance.