Grassroots group asks that project extension at St. Michael be declined

A petition was submitted to the state Department of Health April 3 requesting St. Michael Medical Center in Silverdale not be allowed an extension to complete its 74-bed second patient tower.

The tower is part of an expansion planned since an issuance of a Certificate of Need from the DOH in 2017, which called for the relocation of 242 licensed acute care beds from the then-existing Bremerton branch of Harrison Medical Center to the Silverdale branch. A total of 336 beds would be located at the Silverdale campus following the two phases of completion.

Additionally, the document specifies that if Phase 2 is not completed within five years after the completion of Phase 1, then “any remaining bed authorization not meeting licensing requirements shall be forfeited.” Phase 1 was completed in 2020.

Originally expected to completed in January 2023, documents say, the last update on the tower was issued last May.

It’s a delay that Susan Young and Save Secular Healthcare WA, a grassroots group that dedicates itself to the pursuit of “affordable, comprehensive and equitable healthcare for all Washingtonians,” said is unacceptable, and the hospital should be held responsible.

Young said her group is asking that the medical center not be allowed to add the 74 beds because there is no place to put them and no way for a second tower to be built by the December 2025 deadline.

The organization filed an official complaint to the DOH March 3. It also has 93 signatures on a petition calling for the Certificate of Need be suspended and revoked. The petition also calls out the hospital for failing to meet charity care obligations and publishing false information on capital spending concerning the project.

Young said a denied extension could open the door to better care in Kitsap. “Our ultimate goal is to open the possibility that another healthcare provider might be able to apply at some point to build a small community hospital in Kitsap County,” she said.

She added her group is worried. “There is concern that rather than hold SMMC accountable, the DOH will quietly grant an extension to SMMC,” she said, “effectively enabling them to retain their monopoly on hospital beds in the county.”