City council delays approval on Walla Walla General Hospital conversion project — 6 insights

The Walla Walla City Council delayed drafting a letter in favor of Providence Medical Group's certificate of need application for its Walla Walla General Hospital conversion project, the Union Bulletin reports. All organizations are based in Walla Walla, Wash.

Here's what you should know:

1. The city council approved Providence Medical Group's plan to convert Walla Walla General Hospital into an outpatient surgical facility, but would not sign off on a letter to support the hospital's CON application at its most recent meeting.

2. The council instead unanimously approved a measure to have newly installed Mayor Barbara Clark draft a letter of support to be presented at the council's Jan. 24 meeting.

3. Providence approached the city council in December seeking the letter. The council was weary of issuing support out of fears of overstepping its regulatory power. Some council members felt uneasy supporting an issue with three council members nearing the end of their terms.

4. Mayor Clark took particular issue with Providence's stance on prohibiting birth control-related surgeries. Her sentiment was echoed by two other council members. After the debate, the council voted 6-1 to reaffirm its support for the renovation project, and the council then unanimously approved a motion to redraft the letter of support.

5. A letter of support from the city council is not required for CON approval, but Providence officials feel it would boost their application to show the community supports the project. The short delay is not expected to delay the CON application process.

6. If approved, Providence would convert Walla Walla General Hospital into an ASC.

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