Commissioners of King County Hospital District No. 1, which operates Valley Medical Center, are seeking to modify their Strategic Alliance Agreement with UW Medicine to ensure it meets legal compliance.
Because of concerns about the legality of the alliance, the commissioners hired former Supreme Court Justice Phil Talmadge to review the agreement to determine if there were any legal problems. Talmadge concluded that the agreement illegally transfers responsibility from the district’s elected Board of Commissioners to an unelected Board of Trustees who are not accountable to the voters of the hospital district.

Earlier this month, commissioners approved a resolution that authorizes President Dr. Paul Joos and Vice President Anthony Hemstad to negotiate with UW Medicine to revise the agreement.

“The agreement between UW Medicine and Valley Medical was reached in under five months,” Joos said. “I believe making the necessary modifications will take significantly less time. I know we can reach an agreement if everyone is committed to resolving the legal problems identified by Mr. Talmadge. The last thing the commission wants is to have a long drawn out legal process that ends up in the Supreme Court.”