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Public hearing next Tuesday on Wesley Homes proposed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center

Wesley Homes’ proposed health care center, far right, would be attached by way of a sky bridge to the north end of the west wing of Eby Lodge, along 320th St. SE.   - Courtesy rendering/Insite Architects
Wesley Homes’ proposed health care center, far right, would be attached by way of a sky bridge to the north end of the west wing of Eby Lodge, along 320th St. SE.
— image credit: Courtesy rendering/Insite Architects

The Washington State Department of Health's Certificate of Need Program presents a public hearing Tuesday on Wesley Homes Lea Hill retirement community's proposed skilled nursing and rehabilitation center.The meeting begins at 1:15 p.m. at the Algona-Pacific Library, 255 Ellingson Road, Pacific.

The plan is to build a $6.6 million, 36-bed skilled nursing facility, offering skilled nursing services in private suites, "enhancing the spectrum of care available to Auburn residents and the surrounding communities."

The applicant, Seattle University, is the entity Wesley Homes is buying the beds from, according to Sue Singer, co-chair of the capital campaign, which is working to raise $2 million of the estimated $10 million construction cost through philanthropy. The campaign has raised $1.4 million to date.

The state demands a Certificate of Need for construction, development or establishment of the following healthcare facilities: hospitals; nursing homes; kidney dialysis centers; Medicare or Medicaid home health agencies; Medicare or Medicaid hospice agencies; ambulatory surgical centers; and hospice care centers

There should be a decision by Sept. 12.

While the Certificate of Need is required, Singer said, "a public hearing on it is held only by request." A Bellevue resident has asked for the hearing.

"Hopefully it's just a formality because it's pretty obvious we need those beds," Singer said of the public hearing.

According to the Washington State Department of Health's website, a Certificate of Need process is about ensuring that facilities and new services proposed by healthcare providers are needed for quality patient care within a particular region or community.

According to Wesley Homes, the private suites design is intended to allow patients, caregivers and visiting families and friends to engage in private conversations and enjoy quiet times. The privacy and dignity provided in the new health center will be distinctive in a skilled nursing facility, especially one that is not-for-profit and is affordable.

The Lea Hill Health Center will be certified under the Medicare and Medicaid programs, with registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants providing around-the-clock care under the supervision of the resident's physician.

The facility will offer a leading-edge configuration of living areas in two "neighborhoods" of 16 to 20 individuals, with shared living space and kitchens. Personal caregivers are to staff the neighborhoods.

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