Lake Chelan Community Hospital stalls groundbreaking on new facility

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CHELAN — A new Lake Chelan Community Hospital that’s been on the books for three years must now wait at least six more months before groundbreaking.

The hospital board voted Tuesday to delay the start of the $44 million project, which was due to launch this spring, saying hospital revenues dropped 7 percent last year and need to be stabilized first.

Without that, CEO George Rohrich said, the new hospital might not be able to meet its mortgage payments. Voters approved a $20 million bond for the project in 2017, with the rest coming from the hospital, its nonprofit foundation, and from grants.

Officials say the expanded hospital is needed to serve Chelan’s seasonal tourists and vacation home owners. The Columbia Valley Community Health clinic in Chelan is already expanding for the same reasons.