New Swedish hospital to create over 1,000 jobs

Forget the Federal stimulus package.

In addition to unveiling plans Sept. 29 at Issaquah City Hall for a new 175-bed community hospital, Swedish representatives from promised their own economic booster shot by forecasting over 1,000 jobs would be created there by 2012.

Swedish Senior Vice President Kevin Brown said during a presentation on the project that a “conservative” estimate showed at least 202 jobs would be created by the end of next year, gradually increasing as newly constructed offices are built and filled by nurses, doctors and other hospital staff. By 2012, he predicted 1,097 jobs would be staffed as a direct result of the new Issaquah Swedish Medical Center. Over 750 of those jobs were directly related to health care services.

“It’s a huge economic stimulus for the community,” he said.

Brown also added that the large influx of jobs would have an “indirect” effect on the local economy by attracting more jobs through associated retailers, nearby restaurants, hotels and city government. He cited a study that showed new hospitals create an average of 2,500 jobs in the surrounding community.

The presentation was part of an “open house” presentation of new plans to build their third medical center in the region on 18 acres of land in the Issaquah Highlands. Brown was joined by Swedish/Issaquah Director of Operations Chuck Salmon and Director of Medical Services Dr. John Milne.

In addition to laying out the new facility’s improvements and design features, the presentation was also noteworthy as plans were announced to keep the existing Swedish/Issaquah ER & Specialty Center open under a new name, “Swedish/Lake Sammamish”.

The current facility reported 91,708 visits overall in 2008. One of the hospital’s most popular services, emergency care, is on track to surpass 24,000 visits this year — over a 135 percent increase since opening in 2005.

An audience of approximately 50 people filled the city’s council chambers to listen. Councilmember Maureen McCarry noted most of the crowd appeared to be from out of town, evidence the project is drawing interest from the entire region.

Two out-of-town visitors listening in were Kirkland residents Joel and Sarah Seidel, who were delighted by the plans for a new area medical center. They said they split their time between their Kirkland home and another residence on Stretch Island, but always return north for their medical needs.

“We’re really lucky to have such good choices,” Sarah said. “We’re lucky we live in the Seattle area because of the choices we have for good medical care.”