By LESLIE KELLY | For the Independent
A morning Port Orchard Rotary meeting gave members the opportunity to ask an official of Harrison Medical Center about the future of medical services in the Port Orchard area.
While Mindy Markely, Ortho Service Line administrator for Harrison, was at the meeting to talk about Harrison's new Orthopeadic Center at Harrison Medical Center which will open later this month, she got asked a couple of semi-related questions.
One Rotarian asked whether Harrison will keep its 24-hour Urgent Care office open in Port Orchard when Franciscan Health Services has one just down the road in Gig Harbor.
Harrison and Franciscan are affiliating medical services and recently got the go-ahead from the State of Washington Department of Health to do so. The process is now underway.
Another question Markley was asked was whether a patient who is seeing a Franciscan clinic orthopedic surgeon, and wants to have othorpedic surgery at the new Harrison Otho Center, would be allowed to do that. That question came about because Franciscan has other orthopedic surgical centers in the Port Orchard area.
Markely said she couldn't answer those questions, but both Scott Thompson, spokesman for Franciscan Health Services, and Jacque Goodwill, director of marketing and communications for Harrison Medical Center, later addressed the questions.
Thompson said no changes are anticipated at any of the clinics that either medical provider now operates.
The Prompt Care that Franciscan has in Gig Harbor will remain open and so will the Urgent Care in Port Orchard that operates under Harrison," Thompson said. "The medical clinics that we both have in Port Orchard will remain in operation as they are now."
Goodwill said the process of joining the two medical providers is an evolutionary process.
"It's happening over time," she said. "There are a lot of questions out there and we're addressing them as they come up. But for us, what remains at the center of every decision we make is the patient - what's best for them and how they will best be served."
As for a patient getting to choose where to have surgery, that will remain a decision that the patient can make, along with their doctor's help, said Thompson.
"There are no restrictions on that," he said. "Any of our doctors are free to refer to any surgical center or to any specialist that they feel will be best for the patient."
Goodwill said Harrison believes that what makes the best sense for the patient is what should happen.
"If a patient prefers going to a Gig Harbor surgical center, that's where they can go," she said. "If a patient prefers to come to, say, the Ortho Center at Harrison in Silverdale, then that's what we'll do."
Goodwill said that it is so early in the transition, and both medical providers are still in the process of drafting the strategic plan for the affiliation, sometimes questions are coming up that haven't been addressed.
"Foremost, we put the patient at the center of everything," she said. "We want healthy people and that is why we are affiliating with Franciscan, because their philosophies are them same - to provide great medical care - and we share the mission of having healthy communities."
Franciscan's Prompt Care is at 4700 Point Fosdick Dr. NW in Gig Harbor. Harrison's Urgent Care is at 450 S. Kitsap Blvd., Port Orchard.
Prompt Care hours are Monday-Friday, 10 a.m.- 7 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 9 a.m.- 5 p.m.
Urgent Care is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.