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Best Hospitals in Washington: Most Affordable Hospitals

March 10, 2014
Finding Health Insurance, Health
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With enrollment under the Affordable Care Act approaching100,000 in Washington, many newly insured individuals will be seeking health services. In doing so, Washingtonians should spend the time to research where they can get the most affordable, highest quality care.

NerdWallet Health built a Best Hospitals tool to help patients investigate the cost of hospital care in their local areas. Using this data, we analyzed the 100 most common treatments at 47 hospitals in Washington to find the most affordable hospitals. We asked the following questions:

1) Which Washington hospitals offer the highest number of affordable treatments?

2) What are these treatments?

3) How satisfied are patients of these hospitals?

The Most Affordable Hospitals in Washington

1. Olympic Medical Center—Port Angeles, WA

Complete with a Level 3 trauma center, emergency services and a state-of-the-art surgical suite, this 80-bed hospital serves more than 70,000 residents of Clallam County. A rural public hospital, Olympic Medical Center is owned by the community it serves and is dedicated to providing excellent care and offering the best of modern medicine, which is shown in its 70% patient satisfaction rate. Not only is Olympic Medical accredited by the Joint Commission for providing high standards of health care, but it also provides affordable treatments for seizure, congestive heart failure and fainting.

2. Central Washington Hospital—Wenatchee, WA

Central Washington Hospital began in the early 1900s with the merging of two existing hospitals to provide a wider variety of health care services for the rural community. In 2013, Central Washington Hospital expanded further, affiliating with Wenatchee Valley Medical Center to form Confluence Health and to provide an even wider array of inpatient and outpatient services and up-to-date technology. Dedicated to giving patients top-tier and compassionate care, Central Washington Hospital appears to deliver, to the tune of an 82% patient satisfaction rate. For affordable treatments in respiratory failure, vascular operation and dehydration, this hospital is highly recommended.

3. Island Hospital—Anacortes, WA

Since 1962, Island Hospital has provided health and wellness care for the residents of west Skagit County, north Whidbey Island and the San Juan Islands. A public district hospital, Island Hospital is owned and governed by local citizens who work to tailor the hospital to the specific needs of the community. In 2012, the hospital opened its state-of-the-art Medical Arts Pavilion, filled with the latest medical technology and complete with physical therapy services, a cancer care center and wound care. Island Hospital boasts the highest patient satisfaction rate on our list—84%—and is affordable for treatments for stroke, tuberculosis and heart rhythm disorder.

4. Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital—Yakima, WA

Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital is a 226-bed state-of-the-art facility owned by a private nonprofit group (the Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Association) and which serves people of all socioeconomic backgrounds. Indeed, for more than 60 years, Yakima Valley Memorial has provided quality health care for the residents of Yakima, with a 73% patient satisfaction rate. Yakima Valley Memorial offers a range of comprehensive services, such as psychiatric care, critical care and cancer care, and provides affordable treatments for asthma, high blood pressure and drug poisoning.

5. Grays Harbor Community Hospital—Aberdeen, WA

Founded in 1890 by seven Dominican sisters as St. Joseph’s, and later known as Aberdeen General, this hospital faced closure due to a financial crisis in 1945. But the community—labor, industry, business and volunteers—worked tirelessly to save the hospital, and in so doing provided the reasoning behind it its current name. A 200-bed facility offering cardiac rehabilitation, imaging and a wound healing center, Grays Harbor has a patient satisfaction rate of 64% and provides affordable treatments for heart attacks, injuries to cartilage in the knee and sepsis.

6. Samaritan Healthcare—Moses Lake, WA

Serving the people of the Columbia Basin for more than 60 years, Samaritan is a public district hospital that features a mother and baby center, diabetes education, urgent care and diagnostic imaging. The hospital’s patient satisfaction rate is 60%, and affordable treatments include those for fluid in the lungs, internal bleeding and kidney damage. As the local population grows quickly, Samaritan maintains its stated vision to be the best rural district hospital in America.

7. PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center—Bellingham, WA

Founded more than a century ago by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace, and now part of the nonprofit PeaceHealth system that serves the health care needs of communities in Washington, Oregon and Alaska, this hospital has a medical staff of more than 400 physicians and a patient satisfaction rate of 75%. The St. Joseph facility includes a cardiovascular center, a stroke program, a joint replacement center and a neurosurgery department. Affordable treatments include those for angioplasty and staph infections.

8. Wenatchee Valley Medical Center—Wenatchee, WA

This is the other half of Confluence Health, along with Central Washington Hospital, the No. 2 hospital on our list. Wenatchee Valley Medical Center was founded in 1940 by three physicians with the notion of offering easy access to specialists under one roof. Patients are highly pleased with the services provided at Wenatchee Valley, with a satisfaction rate of 80%. For the services and for affordable treatments for pneumonia, hip and knee replacement and spinal fusion, Wenatchee Valley is a great option.

9. Virginia Mason Medical Center—Seattle, WA

What began in 1920 as an 80-bed hospital with only six physician offices, is now a 336-bed acute care hospital with more than 450 physicians. Virginia Mason Medical Center offers a variety of integrated health services, and was ranked the fifth-best hospital in Washington by U.S. News and World Report, acclaimed it for its high performance in six specialties, including geriatrics and urology. Affordable treatments include those for hernia and diagnostic cardiac catheterization, and the patient satisfaction rate is 80%.

10. Kadlec Regional Medical Center—Richland, WA

This nonprofit opened in 1944 as a local hospital and has since grown to become a regional medical center. Kadlec boasts the only neonatal intensive care unit in the region, as well as growing open-heart surgery and interventional cardiology programs. You can find affordable treatments here for anemia and surgery to the hip or thigh bone, and the patient satisfaction rate is 80%.

Ranking Hospital Name Location Most Affordable for Common Diagnoses/Treatments Such As: Patient Satisfaction
1 Olympic Medical Center Port Angeles Seizure, congestive heart failure, fainting 70%
2 Central Washington Hospital Wenatchee Respiratory failure, vascular operation, dehydration 82%
3 Island Hospital Anacortes Stroke, tuberculosis, heart rhythm disorder 84%
4 Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital Yakima Asthma, high blood pressure, drug poisoning 73%
5 Grays Harbor Community Hospital Aberdeen Heart attack, injury to cartilage in the knee, sepsis 64%
6 Samaritan Healthcare Moses Lake Fluid in lungs, internal bleeding, kidney damage 60%
7 PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center Bellingham Angioplasty, staph infection 75%
8 Wenatchee Valley Medical Center Wenatchee Pneumonia, hip and knee replacement, spinal fusion 80%
9 Virginia Mason Medical Center Seattle Diagnostic cardiac catheterization, hernia 80%
10 Kadlec Regional Medical Center Richland Surgery to hip or thigh bone, anemia 80%


Affordability: Using CMS Medicare Provider Charge Data, we calculated which of 47 hospitals in Washington has the lowest price for each of the 100 most common medical procedures, and then summed the number of times that each hospital had the lowest price. The data are for services billed for Medicare patients.

Procedures/diagnoses: For the procedures that each hospital was least expensive, we presented the most commonly known.

Patient satisfaction: Patient satisfaction rates were obtained from HCAHPS, a nationally administered survey on patient satisfaction. “Satisfied” was taken to be patients who reported, “I would definitely recommend this hospital” on this survey.

Hospital characteristics: Individual hospital websites and U.S. News & World Report Best Hospitals.

Washington flag photo courtesy of Shutterstock.