OLYMPIA - Providence St. Peter Hospital and the state have more time to work on an appeal settlement about performing angioplasties before the two sides meet in a public hearing, an official with the state Department of Health said Wednesday.
A public hearing had been set for this month; it has been pushed back to mid-December. That gives the state Department of Health and the Olympia hospital more time to possibly reach a settlement on a DOH decision that awarded Capital Medical Center the right to perform angioplasties on an elective basis, DOH Health Professions and Facilities director Steve Saxe said.
Capital Medical Center, a for-profit hospital also in Olympia, performs the artery-clearing procedure on an emergency basis but in October was awarded the right to perform the elective procedure. Providence, a nonprofit hospital, appealed that decision in November, saying it would reduce hospital revenue vital to providing charity care.
“I know we’re hoping to reach an agreement that works for everybody,” Saxe said Wednesday.
Capital Medical Center interim Chief Executive Joe Sharp declined to comment Wednesday, and Providence spokeswoman Deborah Shawver declined to comment on the settlement discussions between the hospital and the state Department of Health.
“We will pursue our appeal if we need to, but the general hope is to reach a settlement,” she said.
It wasn’t clear Wednesday how a settlement of the appeal might affect Capital Medical Center. The hospital has had the option of performing angioplasties while the decision is being appealed, Saxe said.
If the two sides reach a settlement before December, then affected parties such as Capital Medical Center have 30 days to comment on the decision. The two sides then can finalize the settlement or continue negotiations after the 30-day period, Saxe said. If a settlement can’t be reached, the appeal will be heard before an administrative law judge at DOH’s Tumwater offices in December, he said.
Capital Medical Center sought the right to perform the elective angioplasty procedure last year as a way to offer its patients more convenience, rather than send them about seven miles to Providence, hospital officials said. The elective angioplasty procedure is thought to generate about $1.5 million to $2 million in annual revenue.
The disagreement about angioplasty procedure strained relationships at times between the hospitals. After Capital was perceived as making an effort to take business from Providence, St. Peter’s opened a family medical practice on the city’s west side, just as Capital was opening a renovated family practice of its own. At the time, former Capital Medial Center Chief Executive Michael Motte called the move predatory. Providence officials defended the new clinic, saying there was a need for more family doctors in the area.