Those seeking medical care in Kitsap County will increasingly receive services offered or touched by one provider: CHI Franciscan Health.
The company is entering a partnership with the physician-owned office called The Doctors Clinic. The partnership will allow The Doctors Clinic to remain physician-owned, while Franciscan takes over back-of-house duties such as negotiating with insurance companies for rates, according to Franciscan chief operating officer Dr. Peter O’Connor.
The two offices had talked about a partnership for more than a year, O’Connor said.
Throughout the arrangement, “We will hire new doctors and continue to grow and build,” said The Doctors Clinic CEO Jay Burghart.
The 80 or so doctors who now work at The Doctors Clinic will remain, Burghart said. Because of the partnership with Franciscan, all doctors must abide by the ethical and religious directives of the Catholic health system.
Such directives forbid doctor-assisted suicide and abortions and are governed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which state “suicide and euthanasia are never morally acceptable options.”
“(Physician) assisted suicide will no longer be a part of services rendered by TDC,” Burghart said.
Sterilization and birth control services will not be affected, O’Connor and Burghart said.
Meanwhile, Franciscan has filed a letter of intent with the state Department of Health to close Harrison Medical Center’s Bremerton location while replacing those beds in neighboring Silverdale with a $484 million phased expansion. Hospital officials anticipate moving patients from Bremerton to Silverdale starting in late 2019 to early 2020.
The move requires state approval. Harrison is licensed for 347 beds across both campuses, of which 253 are in Bremerton, according to the letter of intent.
Elsewhere, Franciscan closed its Vashon Island clinic Aug. 5, according to a letter to patients. Franciscan started operating the island clinic in 2013 after affiliating with Burien’s Highline Medical Center.
The Seattle Times contributed to this report.