Virginia Mason Memorial CEO Russ Myers started working at the Yakima hospital 30 years ago as a management analyst. He learned to read the tea leaves and the landscape of medical organizations. That helped enable him to see the signs of Astria's demise months ago and he told KIT this morning that they have been planning for some time to expand services to pick up the slack from the closure of Astria's Yakima hospital.

Myers said expansion will require more personnel and that VMM has already interviewed and hired nearly 50 former Astria employees who are now in various stages of orientation.

In addition, a new Healthy Now Clinic has recently opened in the Pavilion II building just across the street from the hospital. Hours of operation to be 6-10 p.m. Sundays through Tuesdays with a goal of providing the kind of basic medical care that's intended to relieve pressure on the emergency room.

Additional providers and partners of the hospital are  also working to find ways to help.

Myers says he doesn't believe that VMM has an interest in expanding into the Astria on facility at 110 S. Ninth Ave., but says he could see other medical support organizations doing so.

Myers himself is on borrowed time of sorts in this process, since he's retiring soon and his successor, Carole Peet, has been hired. But until she's here, it's all hands on deck, including the CEO.