In June 2016, CHI Franciscan Health initiated a certificate of need request with the Washington State Department of Health for permission to build the unfinished fifth floor at St. Anthony Hospital. They received approval for the $15.6 million expansion project Nov. 30.

John Elswick, division director of planning, design and construction who manages current CHI Franciscan projects, including the St. Anthony expansion, said the bids will go out in January and selection of a contractor and subcontractors should be confirmed in early February.

Construction should start in April, pending approvals from DOH Construction Review Services and the Gig Harbor Building Department. Projected completion of the St. Anthony expansion is early 2018.

In the six years since it opened in 2009, St. Anthony Hospital has experienced a continuous high-occupancy rate. Currently, an emergency room patient at St. Anthony will spend about 312 minutes in ER before being admitted. This is about 45 minutes longer than the average wait time in hospitals across the state. Patients are frequently transferred to St. Joseph or other Tacoma hospitals because no beds are available.

Despite restrictions imposed by the limited number of beds and high demand, the care and treatment of patients at St. Anthony have earned favorable reviews.

In December 2016, the medical industry’s National Research Corporation named two CHI Franciscan hospitals—St. Anthony and Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton—2016/2017 Consumer Choice Award winners. The annual award is given to high quality hospitals across the United States based upon health care consumer survey results.

David Shultz, market president for the Peninsula region of CHI Franciscan facilities, stated, “We expect to see a 3 percent growth in the Gig Harbor population in the coming years, especially in the elderly population, which makes the need for excellent health care services even greater.”

Completion of the fifth floor will add 25,000 square feet of space and increase patient capacity by 40 percent. Thirty-two beds will be added, bringing the total number of beds for patient care to 112. Shultz said the new space will be classified as medical/surgical, and that it may be necessary to open the new area in two 16-bed stages to maintain a staffing ratio of one nurse to five patients as more staff is hired.

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