Poll measure would authorize property taxes for $1.74 billion Harborview Medical Heart enlargement


King County voters will resolve within the Nov. 3 election whether or not to spend $1.74 billion on renovation and enlargement tasks at Harborview Medical Heart in Seattle. Proposition No. 1 would approve bonds to fund the tasks on the hospital on First Hill and would authorize property-tax will increase to repay the bonds over 20 years.

Owned by the county and operated by UW Drugs as a instructing hospital, Harborview is the one Degree 1 trauma and burn middle for Washington, Alaska, Idaho and Montana.

Its mission contains serving susceptible populations, and the hospital has performed an important function within the Seattle space’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic — accepting sufferers from the preliminary outbreak at a Kirkland nursing house, changing an intensive care unit right into a COVID-19 unit and changing a homeless shelter right into a COVID-19 restoration middle.

“We’re speaking about COVID in the present day, however who is aware of what’s subsequent,” Paul Hayes, Harborview’s govt director, stated in an interview final week.

The tasks would come with a $952 million new medical tower with single-bed rooms and a brand new emergency division; seismic upgrades; renovations to clinics and workplaces; and a brand new constructing devoted to behavioral well being.

Prop 1 additionally would create area for 150 respite beds, which assist homeless individuals recuperate after hospital stays relatively than returning to the streets; solely 34 can be found now. An Involuntary Therapy Act Court docket on the hospital, which handles noncriminal petitions to detain individuals with psychological sicknesses and which has seen case volumes soar, could be enlarged.

The tax will increase would range, yr to yr, with the most important occurring between 2026 and 2036. The typical hike could be 8 cents per $1,000 of assessed worth, and the homeowners of a house of median assessed worth would pay about $75 per yr, on common.

The brand new Harborview bond measure would exchange a measure from 2000 that has value the median house about $13 per yr, on common.

Per state regulation, bond measures like Prop 1 should win 60% approval.

Hospital’s wants

Based in 1877 and moved to First Hill in 1931, Harborview now has 413 inpatient beds and is ruled by a county-appointed board of trustees.

Even earlier than COVID-19 emerged, county and Harborview officers have been saying the hospital wanted to be renovated and expanded, describing circumstances there as outdated and overcrowded.

Most affected person rooms at Harborview have two beds separated by curtains; the occupants share bogs and listen to one another obtain remedy. There are double-bed rooms even within the hospital’s intensive care and burn items, which lack particular sections for youngsters. Many emergency division sufferers are assigned to open bays, whereas others make do with beds in hallways.

“Our mortality statistics are world class, however you may are available with horrible trauma and also you’re going to be sharing a room and it’s going to be noisy,” stated Dr. John Lynch, Harborview’s infection-control director.

The pandemic has squeezed the hospital much more. When Harborview’s COVID-19 unit displaced an intensive part, beds needed to be cleared elsewhere. The hallways are scattered with provide carts.

Day and evening, Lynch’s workforce swaps sufferers round to maintain viruses from spreading, waking them as much as transfer them between rooms. The work is like enjoying Tetris with human lives, he stated.

“Individuals from the ICU take beds within the emergency division, which implies we now have sufferers within the ready room, and the very last thing you need in a pandemic is individuals hanging out collectively,” he stated in an interview Tuesday.

To that time, a COVID-19 outbreak in a surgical unit has killed one affected person and contaminated three others, Harborview introduced Friday. Ten staffers have examined optimistic and extra are quarantining as a consequence of potential exposures. “We’ve got a variety of shared areas and a variety of very sick individuals,” Lynch stated Friday, suggesting much less cramped circumstances for staffers might need prevented transmission.

A planning group convened to check potential enhancements beneficial the bond measure earlier this yr. County Govt Dow Constantine despatched the proposal to the Metropolitan King County Council, which voted unanimously to ship the measure to the poll.

Whereas Harborview’s development plan wouldn’t add beds, the brand new tower’s single-bed rooms would permit the hospital to maintain extra beds occupied. The hospital has sufficient demand to make use of all of its beds however in the present day should depart as much as 50 vacant day-after-day to maintain sick sufferers remoted, per an infection protocols.

The ten-story tower could be constructed on park area overlooking Interstate 5. Harborview’s outdated tower, an Artwork Deco landmark, could be renovated for administrative functions, and an current clinic constructing could be demolished to offer new park area.

The brand new tower would render care “in a extra environment friendly and efficient means, in an atmosphere designed to advertise therapeutic,” Hayes stated. Every affected person room would accommodate trendy tools and visitors, he stated.

The seismic upgrades are also important, Lynch added. “You don’t wish to should shut down Harborview” throughout an enormous earthquake, he warned.

Pending voter approval, work on the varied tasks might begin by 2023.

Unopposed marketing campaign

The county voter information assertion supporting Prop 1 is attributed to Constantine, College of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce and Harborview nurse Katy Brehe. Nobody volunteered to put in writing an announcement opposing Prop 1 for the voter information, and there’s been no organized marketing campaign in opposition to the measure.

Prop 1 has been endorsed by the union SEIU 1199NW, which represents nurses, technical staff, social staff and different staff at Harborview, and by the Seattle Constructing and Development Trades Council. Endorsers additionally embody the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and quite a few native Democratic Celebration organizations.

Harborview Well being for All, a political committee created to assist Prop 1, had raised greater than $790,000 as of Oct. 13. The marketing campaign’s largest donors embody Susan Brotman, whose late husband co-founded Costco ($50,000); businessperson Michael Garvey ($50,000); SEIU 1199NW ($25,000), the Washington State Constructing and Trades Council ($25,000); Microsoft ($25,000); and PEMCO Insurance coverage ($25,000).

The marketing campaign spent $32,000 on polling in August and just lately started working a video commercial this month on cable tv and social media.

Prop 1 is prone to move with the required 60% approval, in accordance with the marketing campaign’s polling. When EMC Analysis surveyed 639 seemingly voters by landline, cellular phone and textual content, 66% of respondents expressed assist whereas 29% expressed opposition and 5% stated they didn’t know.