Area lawmakers hope to provide temporary funding to ease a financial crisis at Grays Harbor Community Hospital.

“People can’t afford to be without a hospital,” said Sen. Kevin Van De Wege, D-Sequim. “We’ve intervened before and, now, once again we’re trying to preserve the sole community hospital for area residents.”

Van De Wege’s Senate Bill 6601 would increase the reimbursements to patients eligible for Medicaid at the state’s three sole community hospitals.

“There is plenty that we’re unhappy with concerning the management of the hospital and the precarious position in which they have put their institution and the health needs of the communities who rely [on] their services,” said Sen. Dean Takko, D-Longview and a cosponsor of the bill. “But regardless of how we got here, people must have a hospital within a reasonable distance.”

Sen. Judy Warnick, R-Moses Lake, whose legislative district contains one of the two other sole community hospitals in the state, also cosponsored the bill. The third sole community hospital is in Port Angeles.

“The hospital did not communicate their dire situation in a timely fashion, so our only hope at this late time is to shift to a budget proviso for temporary funding,” Van De Wege said. “With the legislative cutoff deadline only hours away, the logistics of hearing and passing a new bill out of committee are daunting.”

Van De Wege said the effort has the support of area lawmakers in the House as well, including Reps. Steve Tharinger, Mike Chapman and Brian Blake.