Yakima Valley Memorial closes clinics, consolidates services to deal with staffing shortage

Closures include Memorial's Ambulatory Endoscopy Clinic, Zillah Family Medicine and Yakima Lung & Asthma
Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
Credit: Emily Goodell, KAPP-KVEW

YAKIMA, Wash. — Yakima Valley Memorial is closing another outpatient clinic to consolidate services and help address a serious staffing shortage at the hospital, which has more than 100 unfilled nursing positions available.

Memorial officials initially shut down their Ambulatory Endoscopy Clinic this summer when the hospital was being overwhelmed by COVID-19 patients. Clinic nurses and other medical staff were transferred to Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital to help with acute care patients, while continuing to perform endoscopic procedures like colonoscopies.

“We’re working hard to resume those services safely while making sure that we can have enough nursing resources to help our main hospital campus,” said Dr. Tanny Davenport, physician executive of medical group operations at Memorial.

Davenport said they’ve made the decision not to reopen the endoscopy clinic, which was located inside Yakima Gastroenterology Associates at 3909 Creekside Loop. That facility will remain open, but endoscopic procedures will no longer be performed there.

RELATED: Yakima Lung & Asthma moves to YVM Hospital campus

“Patients will still contact Yakima Gastroenterology for their consultation appointments,” Davenport said. “From there, they’ll be directed about where they’re going to need to have their endoscopy services.”

All endoscopies will be done at the hospital for the time being, but plans are in the works to modify space at the Memorial Surgery Center at Ridgeview — 2500 Racquet Lane in Yakima — to allow staff there to help cover some of the endoscopic procedures starting in early 2022.

“This will be good for patients because again, we’re resuming services that we had to earlier in the pandemic and increasing access so that they can get their needed colonoscopies or other endoscopies,” Davenport said.”Our goal is to get back to the 6,500 endoscopies we did a year back in 2019.”

Memorial officials said an advantage of having endoscopies done at the hospital or surgery center is that doctors have closer, quicker and easier access to emergency care for their patients if complications arise during the procedure.

Yakima Lung & Asthma, Zillah Family Medicine clinics to close, staff and services to be relocated

Yakima Valley Memorial officials are closing two other outpatient clinics in addition to the Ambulatory Endoscopy Clinic and relocating staff members to utilize their resources more efficiently. Davenport said patients will still have access to all the same providers and services, but in different locations.

“I think the reality in health care now is we need to look at your landscape and see where it makes sense to really not duplicate services and provide them in a single setting if it’s appropriate,” Davenport said.

Yakima Lung & Asthma moved on Monday from its previous location at 303 Holton Ave. to the first floor of Yakima Valley Memorial Heart, Lung & Vascular, which is located on the hospital campus at 406. S. 30th Ave.

RELATED: Yakima Valley Memorial closing its Zillah clinic

“That really was designed not only to improve our patients’ access so they can have better parking, but it also allows our pulmonologists — who are also critical care doctors — to be closer to the campus when needs arise,” Davenport said.

Effective as of Nov. 22, the Zillah Family Medicine clinic at 616 Railroad Ave in Zillah will be closed. The clinic’s staff and sole provider, Dr. Jonathan Davenport, will be moving to Memorial’s Pacific Crest Family Medicine clinic at 311 S. 72nd Ave. in Yakima.

Memorial officials said they do not own the buildings for the Zillah Family Medicine Clinic or Yakima Lung & Asthma, but lease those properties. Officials said not having to pay for those leases will save the hospital money.

Davenport said it’s unknown what the property owners plan to do with properties after medical staff clears out.

“We’ll continue to look at all of our services and see what makes the most sense for our community so that we can still serve our patients,” Davenport said.

However, Davenport said there are no plans at this time to close or consolidate services at any other outpatient clinics.

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