- Associated Press - Thursday, April 21, 2016

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. (AP) - Sky Lakes Medical Center and Oregon Health & Science University announced a partnership to launch a $50 million project for a new clinical and education building.

The facility will host clinical care, provide training to students in OHSU’s Family Practice Residency Program and be the academic center for OHSU’s Campus for Rural Health.

President of OHSU Joe Robertson said the collaboration formed last fall, but Wednesday marks the announcement of the new building plans and fundraising campaign to make program goals a reality.

“We envision a building that will be a place for primary care to be delivered in an educational setting,” Sky Lakes CEO Paul Stewart said, “where a variety of health care providers will participate in the clinical care while they are participating in their educational training program.”

The new building, to be located on the west side of the Sky Lakes campus, will also consolidate Sky Lakes’ clinics around Klamath Falls.

“We have been opening primary care clinics but they are kind of scattered and diffused, and implementing transformational changes in how care’s delivered became more difficult and complex when it’s in small clinics scattered all over.” Stewart said.

“So we had the idea that it would be great to consolidate some of our primary care in close proximity to the residency clinic.”

Sky Lakes, OHSU and Oregon Institute of Technology Foundation have formed an organization for fundraising the project. The three foundations are working together to reach $50 million and begin breaking ground to build the 88,000-square-foot building by 2018.

Sky Lakes has pledged $15 million to kick-start the fundraising campaign. OHSU has also committed at least $5 million.

Oregon Institute of Technology Foundation is part of the organization for fundraising on the project. OIT may also be part of the education component of the project, but there’s nothing formal yet.

Stewart said he hopes the partnership will be the springboard to create new programs, for example adding a doctorate in physical-therapy degree with OHSU and OIT as partners.

He said adding more programs can lead to more jobs in the community.

“Not just jobs directly but more intellectual stimulation in our community. OIT is a great asset and OHSU is a great partner. Overall, I think this is going to make our community more attractive and easier to attract other businesses, students and others to come to our community,” Stewart said.

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Information from: Herald and News, https://www.heraldandnews.com


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