Valley Attempts to Dissolve Agreement with UW Medical

According to the Renton Reporter, the commissioners of King County Public Hospital District 1, which owns Valley Medical Center, passed a resolution Oct 1 seeking legal action against UW Medicine to resolve their disagreement regarding the validity of the Strategic Alliance formed on June 30, 2011.

The original agreement between the two organizations was approved by a 3-2 vote by then sitting commissioners.  However, newly elected commissioners, including Commission President Paul Joos, contend that the elected Hospital District Commission turned over management of Valley Medical Center to an un-elected Board of Trustees.

The Board of Trustees is comprised of 13 members, including the five Hospital District Commissioners and eight members appointed by UW Medicine CEO, Dr. Paul Ramsey.

The Hospital District Commission President Paul Joos publicly stated that a survey of over 500 voters had recently been conducted and that it demonstrated public support for the Commission’s position.   “In taking this action the commission is simply following the will of the people,” he said.

He also indicated that they have been trying to work with the UW Medicine to resolve their issues but that “UW Medicine has been completely unwilling to negotiate”.

Dr. Paul Ramsey, CEO of UW Medicine,  said in an interview with Renton Reporter that he has met with Commissioners or sat with Joos on a “number of occasions” to talk about the “key needs” of Valley Medical.  He also pointed out that the Strategic Alliance was “developed very carefully” by attorneys from both UW Medicine and the Public Hospital District 1.

Lisa Jensen, chairman of the 13 member alliance Board of Trustees, conveyed the Board of Trustees’ concerns to the Commissioners at their meeting on Oct 1st regarding the survey that was just completed at the behest of the hospital district commission.   The survey has authorized by the hospital district in a resolution passed in July.

Joos said “we are willing to sit down and try and resolve these issues, rather than taking a risk the courts will impose a governance structure neither UW Medicine nor the Commission support.”

The resolution passed by the Hospital Commission on Oct 1st lays out two options:

—  Ask a judge to rule that the Hospital Commission did not have the power to turn over its legislative responsibilities to an un-elected board

—  Obtain an injunction to prevent the Board of Trustees from exercising the elected commissioner’s responsibilities