Reinvention continued for Harrison Medical Center

An aging population — of both patients and doctors, a tendency to check into Seattle and Tacoma hospitals, and a need for funds to supplement care for indigent clients are some of the reasons Harrison Medical Center is looking to reinvent itself.

The hospital unveiled Vision 2010, a five-year strategic plan, in May focusing on the “regional” in the medical center’s strive for redefining its community role.

Harrison also commissioned two firms for a master plan for possible facility expansion. Representatives from Rice, Fergus, Miller in Bremerton and the Seattle office of international architecture and design firm NBBJ, laid out a general overview of their study at a Kitsap Regional Coordinating Council meeting Tuesday morning.

Setting its sight on becoming the region’s leading health care provider, Harrison will keep Kitsap County as its primary service area but will reach further out as well.

“On the 11th of January I hope we begin to get a sense of what the vision would be like in three (options): Centralizing everything in Bremerton, centralizing everything in Silverdale, or centralizing everything somewhere else,” Scott Bosch, Harrison president and CEO, told council members during the presentation.

Even when the master facilities plan, which intends to look ahead to 2030 and beyond, draws conclusions, any potential facility expansions will be implemented in phases. Harrison has $60 million the project set aside at this time, but $400 million is the likely sum for a complete facility renewal.

The planning process is not yet advanced enough for the architects to evaluate specific sites for potential new buildings but State Highway 3 was mentioned as providing easy access from all parts of the region.

Considering population and geography, Central Kitsap is the hub of the county. Adding to the equation is the fact Harrison Silverdale was designed to accommodate additional square footage.

Under one model being reviewed, Harrison would become a “hub and spokes” medical center with one main campus and satellite facilities.

There are, however, other physical and regulatory criteria to consider before the master facilities plan can be made concrete.

“Here’s the dilemma,” Bosch said. “Gig Harbor (hospital) is getting built; competition forces in Seattle are growing.”

Harrison’s capacity is being challenged as well. These realities make the master facilities plan a timely endeavor.

Bosch gave an assurance the current East Bremerton Harrison facility would not be abandoned in a hub-spokes model. However, that building is “landlocked” in the midst of a mostly residential community, making improved access and any further expansion challenging, said spokeswoman Patti Hart in a phone interview.

Harrison administrators hope to improve their dialogue with the community and with physicians and other medical workers as well.

“We have the least risky, most effective open heart surgery in the state and nobody knows it and it’s our fault,” Bosch said at the presentation.

“We also have to have the right facilities to attract and retain (staff),” he added.

The master facilities plan is in its research phase. The next steering committee meetings with Harrison board of directors members, administrators and physicians, will be held Jan. 11 and Feb. 22.

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