Kadlec gets 55 beds - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Kadlec gets 55 beds

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RICHLAND, Wash. - New information about the controversy over adding beds at two Tri-Cities hospitals.  After two lawsuits and a lengthy wait leaders from the state health department have made a decision.

They've awarded Kadlec Medical Regional Center 55 beds and Kennewick General Hospital zero.

"We do think ultimately there is a need down the road for additional beds, but this provides the near term relief to meet the needs of the patients that need to come here for services," said Jim Hall, spokesperson for Kadlec.

Kadlec originally applied for 114 beds, but the state denied their application saying there was no immediate need for that many.  However Hall says that need will continue to grow.

"For the past year or so we have been operating at a very high occupancy, sometimes as high as 90% full," said Hall.

Kennewick General Hospital also applied for beds but not for their future Southridge location, they were for their current building. The state denied their request. KGH understands the state's denial but will look into the 55 beds awarded to Kadlec.

"We thought there were about 25 beds that would be available in the area, so we need to look at what the state has done with their calculations and understand where the 55 came from," said Chuck Barnes, Kennewick General Hospital.

Both leaders agree this is not about battle of the beds but more about the state's regulatory process. They also add that the community will continue to grow which will mean both hospitals will need more beds in the future.

As for Kadlec they'll re-open rooms in the older part of the hospital that were closed when a new tower was built.