Exterior building and signage view from 9th Avenue of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA.

Exterior building and signage view from 9th Avenue of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA.

Voters approve $1.74 billion bond for Harborview Medical Center

King County voters are saying yes to upgrades at Harborview Medical Center.

Prop. 1 would authorize King County to issue up to $1.74 billion in general bonds to fund public health, safety and seismic improvements at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. Harborview is the only Level 1 trauma center in Washington state.

Improvements at Harborview would include new construction and renovating existing buildings to increase critical health care capacity, update and expand infection control capability, and increase capacity for behavioral health services including for substance use and mental health treatment. It would also include seismic upgrades to help the buildings withstand earthquakes.

As of Tuesday evening, the proposition was passing with 77.5% of the vote countywide.

The measure would cost the owner of a $600,000 home about $75 per year. The measure requires 60 percent approval from voters.

The county owns the 413-bed hospital, which is run by UW Medicine. Harborview is the state’s only Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma and burn center and the county’s only public hospital.

Harborview operates at almost 100% capacity daily, according to a supporters of the ballot measure. As a result, the medical center lacks surge capacity to address significant incidents or large-scale medical emergencies, and the older facilities are in dire need of improvement. On any given pre-COVID day, up to 50 beds (12%) were unusable because of the need for patient isolation procedures. COVID-19 has emphasized the need for Harborview to modernize its infrastructure to support responding to infectious diseases.




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