Hospital bed decision possible by Christmas for MultiCare in Covington, Valley Medical and Auburn Regional

MultiCare, Valley Medical Center and Auburn Regional Medical Center may get a Christmas present with a number for hospital beds inside.
The three health care facilities have been waiting for a decision from the state Department of Health about hospital beds allowed for each entity.
MultiCare is requesting approval from the department for 58 beds for a hospital it is proposing to construct in Covington on the site where its Urgent Care facility is located.
Valley asked for 60 beds at its Renton hospital and Auburn Regional requested 70 beds.
Each facility submitted a certificate of need outlining the reason for the beds and value to health care in the area.
Mark Thomas, an analyst with the department's certificate of need program, said during a phone interview Friday the plan is to complete the work by Christmas if possible.
"We are backed up on a number of applications," Thomas said. "We hope to be caught up by the first of the year."
Thomas said concerning the decision on the requests from MultiCare, Valley and Auburn Regional "efforts are being made to get it out before Christmas."
The decision was scheduled to be released Oct. 7 following a public meeting at the Kent Library Aug. 5. The department filed a 30-day extension delaying the decision to Nov. 8.
Thomas said the department was not able to meet the Nov. 8 extension because of the amount of work involved and the decision is now in "late status."
Bart Eggen, executive director at the department, said in August this was the first time the department received certificate of need applications for beds from three competing medical facilities.

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