Regional Hospital in Tukwila has signed a letter of intent to affiliate with Tacoma-based Franciscan Health System. Regional Hospital is a 40-bed nonprofit Long-Term Acute Care hospital that offers extended critical care, including respiratory care.

Once the affiliation is approved by state regulators, Regional will move from Highline Medical Center’s Specialty Campus in Tukwila, where it has leased space, to its main campus in Burien. Highline became part of Franciscan earlier this year. Leaders of the two nonprofit health systems expect to complete the affiliation process as early as summer of 2014.

“By joining Franciscan, we can continue to offer our highly specialized, long-term care services to critically ill and injured patients throughout the Pacific Northwest,” said Anne McBride, Regional’s Chief Executive Officer. “We look forward to partnering with Franciscan to enhance the management of patients who need advanced acute care services.”

“Franciscan is developing a comprehensive range of services to ensure patients receive high quality and efficient care at the lowest possible cost as they move from clinics to hospitals and back into the community or other facilities,” added Joe Wilczek, Chief Executive Officer, Franciscan Health System. “We will benefit from the expertise of Regional Hospital to improve the management of our critically ill patients and reduce those who are readmitted after a hospital stay.”  

Regional Hospital specializes in offering extended critical care and is considered a leader in mechanical ventilator weaning (or life support) for patients experiencing respiratory complications or failure. These conditions can result from a serious illness such as stroke or from a catastrophic injury such as spinal cord injury and paralysis.

The letter of intent is the first step in the affiliation process. The final affiliation agreement must receive approval by both the Regional and Franciscan boards. Also, the affiliation and relocation of Regional will require review by regulatory agencies.

At Highline’s main campus, Regional Hospital will operate as a “hospital within a hospital” and maintain its own CEO, chief medical officer and board of directors.  It will continue as a nonprofit, secular institution, as it has been since 1994.