An important step toward building a new hospital in Lincoln City was taken on Feb. 3, when the property transaction between Samaritan North Lincoln Hospital (SNLH), Samaritan Health Services (SHS) and the North Lincoln Health District (NLHD) was completed.
This action formalizes the intent outlined in a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) signed last September by each of the three entities. In the MOU, the health district agreed to transfer ownership of its hospital facilities and real properties to Samaritan. In turn, Samaritan agreed to construct a new hospital on the existing campus.
“I am thrilled that the property transaction is completed so we can now begin planning and designing our new hospital campus,” said SNLH Chief Executive Officer Lesley Ogden, MD. “Our goal is not only to have a hospital that offers flexible and efficient work space for staff and comfortable surroundings for patients, but to also create a hospital campus that seamlessly integrates outpatient and inpatient services.”
NLHD Board Chairman Terry Buggenhagen agreed that the closing is a pivotal moment.
“This transaction provides a path for Samaritan to design and construct a new hospital on the current campus,” Buggenhagen said. “We are confident that Samaritan can provide a new hospital with appropriate services respecting the needs of the community, advances in technology and medicine, and efficiency developments in design and operation. The new facility will also help our community recruit and retain high-quality physicians and other health professionals.”
The North Lincoln Health District was formed in 1967, with its primary responsibility being the ownership and operation of the local hospital. Its seven-member board is publicly elected and is responsible for the collection of property taxes that help support the hospital’s ongoing operation.
In 2001, the health district entered into a 30-year affiliation agreement with Samaritan Health Services in which the district continued to own the hospital and adjacent properties and Samaritan assumed responsibility for day-to-day operation of the hospital and related physician and outpatient clinics.
“The health district has been, and will continue to be, a valued partner in Samaritan’s ongoing mission of enhancing community and individual health,” Ogden said. “We also will be turning to our community members for their involvement, with ideas, feedback and philanthropic support. Our hope is that we can work together to create a beautiful new facility to serve the needs of our community for decades to come.”
Next steps in the process include arranging financing, searching for the best build/design firm to bring the vision to reality, assessing space needs, researching innovative ideas for campus use and extensive planning.
“It’s very important that we invest enough time in planning for all aspects of this project before we even think about breaking ground,” Ogden said. “We will take our time to do it right so we can be confident that every possibility has been considered.”
Ogden anticipates that planning will continue through 2016 and into early 2017.
An important component in planning is community outreach, she added. A web page is being developed on the hospital’s website: samhealth.org/LincolnCity. It will be dedicated to providing news, updates, announcements about community meetings and more. In addition, Samaritan staff will work closely with the selected architect/builder to provide regular and meaningful updates and plan interactions with the Lincoln City and north Lincoln County communities.