BELLINGHAM — PeaceHealth, a Pacific Northwest not-for-profit health-care system, is closing a Bellingham clinic and ending certain services, resulting in the elimination of 32 local jobs.
Across PeaceHealth’s 10 communities it serves in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, and its headquarters in Vancouver, Washington, 251 positions have been eliminated, according to an email from Beverly Mayhew, senior director of marketing and communications for PeaceHealth’s northwest network.
In Bellingham, the 32 terminated positions come from changes in the Allergy & Immunology Clinic, the Sleep Lab and the Outpatient Palliative Care program.
The Allergy & Immunology Clinic will close permanently, although a date has not been chosen yet, according to Mayhew. The clinic at 4545 Cordata Parkway, Suite 1C, is not accepting new patients, and current patients can continue to receive care from the clinic until further notice.
“We recognize that patients will require transition plans specific to their condition, physicians and clinic staff have prioritized patient needs and identified appropriate clinical options for each type of patient. The options for asthma and allergy care locally range from continuing with another allergist or with primary care providers.
“Fortunately, there is an excellent community-based allergist at the Bellingham Asthma, Allergy & Immunology Clinic, and primary care providers at PeaceHealth Medical Group and other family medicine clinics are well versed in allergy care,” Mayhew’s statement read.
Bellingham’s Sleep Lab will also stop providing overnight sleep lab services on May 15, eliminating some jobs. The lab will still provide sleep consultations and home sleep studies, and will help patients find alternatives for overnight sleep lab services.
PeaceHealth is also eliminating some caregiver roles within the Outpatient Palliative Care program in Bellingham, but will continue to offer care for patients in various ways.
“We will continue to support patients with complex care needs using a new model which includes care navigators, coupled with support from our home health team and, if appropriate, our hospice caregivers. Every effort will be made to minimize the impact to patients through this transition by identifying their specific needs and aligning appropriate services,” Mayhew wrote.
PeaceHealth credits the job eliminations to the costs of health care rising slower than what it was earning for the care being provided, according to Mayhew.
“To make sure that we can continue to sustain our mission into the future, we conducted a comprehensive review of all services and operations. The result is growth in some areas and reductions in others.”