Swedish/Issaquah price tag reaches $365 million

June 28, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

Swedish/Issaquah is designed to change ideas about health care across a broad spectrum, from how patients heal to how a hospital uses energy.

The innovations did not come cheap.

The cutting-edge facility in the Issaquah Highlands cost $365 million — $165 million for the medical office building scheduled to open July 14 and another $200 million for the hospital phase due to open in November. The price tag includes the 18 acres Swedish Medical Center purchased for the campus.

Swedish financed the construction project by tapping into reserves and selling 30-year bonds. The nonprofit health care system did not use any public money to build the facility.

Kevin Brown, Swedish senior vice president and chief administrative officer, said the highlands facility benefited from a $100 million fundraising campaign meant to fund capital projects throughout the hospital system.

The hospital system is also in line to receive between $2 million and $4 million in grants and rebates from Puget Sound Energy for energy efficiency steps, although the figure is not yet firm.

Brown said operating revenue in 2012 should be about $100 million, but the hospital is not expected to start generating enough revenue to cover operating costs for a couple of years after opening.

Swedish executives expect the highlands facility to handle about 100,000 unique patient visits next year.

By contrast, Swedish’s emergency room along Northwest Sammamish Road has about 20,000 patients per year. The emergency room is due to relocate to the highlands hospital July 14.

The volume of patients expected to use the hospital reflects the area Swedish intends to serve. In addition to Issaquah and Sammamish, hospital executives said the facility is likely to be used by patients from elsewhere on the Eastside.

“People are appreciative of having the care close to home, and we’re continuing to hear the messages about wanting to have these services close to where they live,” Brown said.

Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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