Hospital closing 3 outpatient clinics to address staff shortages

Yakima (Wash.) Valley Memorial is permanently closing three outpatient clinics to consolidate services and help address staff shortages, reported Nov. 16.

The hospital is shutting down its Ambulatory Endoscopy Clinic, which initially closed during the height of the delta variant surge this summer so staff could be redeployed to take care of patients. Procedures performed at the clinic, such as upper endoscopies and colonoscopies, were moved to the hospital where they could be supported by operating room staff.

"After carefully considering the best way we can offer these procedures in a safe, sustainable, high-quality manner, Memorial decided to continue performing these procedures at the hospital while modifying the Ridgeview ambulatory surgery center ... which will also take on some of these cases in early 2022," hospital officials said in a Nov. 15 news release.

The endoscopy clinic was in a nearby Yakima Gastroenterology Associates facility, which will remain open but will cease performing endoscopic procedures.

Tanny Davenport, MD, physician executive of medical group operations at Yakima Valley, told that the move will be beneficial for patients because "we're resuming services that we had to earlier in the pandemic and increasing access so that they can get their needed colonoscopies or other endoscopies."

Yakima Valley is aiming to perform 6,500 endoscopies a year, which it did in 2019, according to Dr. Davenport.

In addition, the hospital moved Yakima Lung & Asthma from its previous location to Yakima Valley Memorial Heart, Lung & Vascular on the hospital campus. The move will allow pulmonologists, who are also critical care physicians, to be closer to the campus should their services be needed elsewhere.

On Nov. 22, the hospital also is closing the Zillah Family Medicine clinic, with Jonathan Davenport, MD, its sole provider, relocating to the Pacific Crest Family Medicine clinic in Yakima.

Hospital officials said they have no plans to close or consolidate services at any other outpatient clinics.

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