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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Tuesday, February 18, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Rockwood will vacate Sacred Heart campus

Won’t fight eviction notice

The Spokesman-Review

Rockwood Clinic officials have decided to clear out of office and clinical space on the Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center campus instead of fighting the hospital’s June 30 eviction notice.

In a series of meetings this week with staff, Rockwood executives said a temporary solution may be to perform outpatient surgeries within Deaconess Medical Center, according to employees.

Deaconess parent company Community Health Systems Inc. recently acquired Rockwood and the clinic’s physicians increasingly have been sending patients to Sacred Heart’s rival. The moves prompted Sacred Heart to cancel its lease agreements with Rockwood.

The move of the surgery center operations — traditionally one of the most profitable for medical care providers — would begin taking shape during the next seven weeks, employees say.

Already Rockwood has found new office space for its obstetrics and gynecology practice, which will move this weekend from the Sacred Heart Doctor’s Building to the fourth floor of the Deaconess Medical Office Building at 801 W. Fifth Ave.

In a prepared statement, Rockwood CEO Dr. Kevin Sweeny said it was the first of several upcoming moves for Rockwood. Clinic officials declined to elaborate.

Sacred Heart vice president Sharon Fairchild reiterated that Rockwood’s patients and doctors are welcome to continue using Sacred Heart’s own outpatient surgery. She said a detailed plan is being sent to Rockwood executives and surgeons – including a schedule with blocks of time reserved for Rockwood.

Fairchild said Sacred Heart’s offer of outpatient surgery time and space includes the ability of Rockwood surgeons to use their own surgical staff, rather than relying upon Sacred Heart employees.

“We really believe this is a fair offer designed to accommodate their needs,” Fairchild said. “This would provide excellent patient care and give their employees a bridge to the changes through a dedicated schedule.”

Rockwood officials hadn’t seen the current offer, but have said in the past that their outpatient surgery volumes are too great for Sacred Heart to absorb in its outpatient surgery center.

Deaconess officials declined to comment on how Rockwood’s outpatient surgery needs would fit into the hospital’s operating schedules and whether job duties and hours for employees might change.

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