Viewpoint: 'All eyes are locked on MultiCare' as it takes reins at Washington hospital

Talk is cheap, the Yakima Herald-Republic's editorial board wrote in a Jan. 20 opinion article, and MultiCare is not the first healthcare company to enter Washington's Yakima Valley with "big promises of better services." 

But they have high hopes that the Tacoma, Wash.-based health system's recent acquisition of Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital will pull the hospital out of the red. The transaction was finalized Jan. 17, and the new "MultiCare Yakima Memorial Hospital" became the 12th acute care hospital on the health system's roster. 

At the halfway mark of 2022, the hospital had lost more than $28 million, according to the editorial board. Other local healthcare options have been dwindling — three years ago, Yakima Valley's 150-bed Astria Regional Medical Center shuttered, and just last month, the nearby Astria Toppenish Hospital closed its family maternity center. Residents are running out of places to seek care, making MultiCare's revival of Yakima Memorial vital. 

The editorial board is "rooting with all [their] hearts" for MultiCare to succeed, they wrote. It seems prepared, as the state's largest locally governed health system with more than 20,000 employees. And MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson has already promised to zero in on staffing — one of the hospital's deepest pitfalls. 

"All eyes are locked on MultiCare at the moment," the editorial board wrote. "As we've said before, it all sounds encouraging from here." 

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