. June 26, 2003 - Washington state is joining the campaign to build an advanced cardiovascular care center to rival any in the world. Lawmakers recently approved - and today Governor Gary Locke signed - a $4 million appropriation to support the new Seattle Heart Alliance.
The alliance is headed by Swedish Medical Center, which wants to bring local heart programs together to create an integrated, internationally recognized high-tech heart and vascular research and treatment institute in Seattle. Supporters say the institute could have an impact on the Pacific Northwest similar to that of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
"Our vision is that Seattle will become the destination for specialized heart care, just as it is for cancer," said Richard Peterson, Swedish Medical Center's president and CEO
. "Washington state clearly appreciates the value an internationally recognized heart institute would bring."
The $4 million appropriation is in the state's two-year capital budget. Lawmakers who support the concept say a world-class heart institute would have far-reaching benefits both by increasing the quality of care and as an economic catalyst for the region.
"Seattle has so many elements for a world-renowned heart institute already in place - some of the world's finest cardiac physicians, forward-looking leadership and a unique location on the Pacific Rim," said Rep. Ed Murray, D-Seattle. "If the state can provide seed money for a project like this, we should not hesitate."
Added Sen. Dino Rossi, R-Issaquah, "This project is an example of the kind of things we need to be looking for to build our economy. It builds on our strengths and helps meet an important need."
"We really appreciate the support of the Legislature and Governor Locke," Peterson said. "Collaboration and community support are very important. Our initial conversations with leading citizens in the region and with other hospitals have largely been very positive. We believe the concept is so compelling that a number of medical centers will be enthused about joining the alliance."
The new heart institute would be located at Swedish Medical Center/Providence Campus in Seattle. The estimated budget for the facility is about $100 million, not counting the value of the property that Swedish is contributing to the venture. While a working name of "Seattle Heart" has been given to the facility, that could change based on marketing plans and discussions with other participants.
The Seattle Heart Alliance will spend the balance of this year in active discussions with organizations and individuals that may wish to be involved, Peterson said.
"The need to build a local alliance to support a world-class heart and vascular care institute is great," Sen. Patty Murray said. "Heart disease is the number one cause of death in this country. We're lucky to live in the Pacific Northwest where some of the best heart research is going on. Building on this tradition is a critical step to improve the standard of care, spur the regional economy and create jobs."
Area hospitals that have a working relationship with Swedish, including Valley Medical Center in Renton and Stevens Hospital in Edmonds, have already expressed significant interest in the alliance, according to Peterson.
Advisors to the project to help develop community support include Dave Sabey, CEO of Sabey Corp.; Tom Foley, former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives and former U.S. Ambassador to Japan; Bob Craves, President & CEO of the Washington Education Foundation, co-founder of Costco and chairman of the state Higher Education Coordinating Board; Rick Redman, chairman of Sellen Construction and 2002 chair of the United Way of King County campaign; Jim Whittaker, co-founder of REI and the first American to summit Mt. Everest; and Rick Yoder, owner of the Wild Ginger Restaurant in Seattle.
"A world-class heart institute will benefit this region tremendously," Peterson said. "We already have excellent resources in our community and this is an opportunity to take them to the next level and give Seattle, the Pacific Northwest and the Pacific Rim a program of national and international stature. And it is a vision that others in our community share."
Swedish Medical Center is the largest, most comprehensive, not-for-profit health provider in the Pacific Northwest. Swedish is comprised of three hospital campuses (First Hill, Providence and Ballard), Swedish Home Care Services and Swedish Physicians - a network of 11 primary-care clinics. In addition to general medical and surgical care, Swedish is known as a regional referral center, providing specialized treatment in areas such as cardiac care, oncology, orthopedics, high-risk obstetrics, neurological care, sleep medicine, pediatrics, organ transplantation and clinical research.
To read a related article published in the June 20, 2003 issue of the Puget Sound Business Journal, click here.
To read a related editorial published in the July 5, 2003 issue of The
Seattle Times, click here.
To read a related article published in the May 14, 2004 issue of the Puget
Sound Business Journal, click here.