CareUnity August 2012
August 1, 2012 - Group Health and Providence announce creation of a new integrated physician organization
SPOKANE, WA–Providence Health Care (PHC) and Group Health Cooperative have signed an
agreement to form a new jointly owned company that will create the region’s most
comprehensive physician organization. The new organization will work with other health
insurance companies and health care purchasers to manage care for patients across the region
with more coordinated, seamless and affordable care.
The two entities will form a new limited liability corporation (LLC) that allows physicians from
both organizations to work together in innovative ways to improve the overall delivery of
health care services in Spokane. This is not a merger or an acquisition.
“First and foremost, this comprehensive physician organization allows us to better care for our
patients,” says Mike Wilson, chief executive of Providence Health Care in Eastern Washington.
“By improving coordination and communication among care givers who utilize the best
evidence‐based medicine, we will be able to improve quality. At the same time, we will help
patients access the right kind of care at the most appropriate time and in the most appropriate
setting. The result will be better health outcomes for patients, less duplication, and an overall
reduction in cost,” says Wilson.
The new organization will be made up of health care providers from Group Health Physicians,
Providence Medical Group (PMG) and Columbia Medical Associates (CMA). At the center of the
integrated physician group are 132 primary care physicians who will serve as the medical home
for patients throughout the region. These primary care physicians will coordinate patient care
among specialists, urgent care centers and hospitals, including Providence Sacred Heart
Medical Center & Children’s Hospital and Holy Family Hospital. Altogether, the organization will
be the largest coordinated delivery system in the region, with access to nearly 400 physicians
and advanced practitioners.
Patients will notice a better health care experience because the providers from whom they seek
care have committed to practice medicine collaboratively – by developing joint clinical
programs, adopting best practices in evidence‐based medicine and engaging in shared decision
making with patients. When care is better coordinated, quality is improved and unnecessary
tests and visits are avoided, which help bring health care costs down and make care more
The provider organization will initially serve Providence employees and Group Health patients
who seek care from providers working at Providence Medical Group, Group Health or Columbia
Medical Associates clinics beginning in January 2013.
Once fully operational later this year, the physician organization will be offered to other health
insurance companies and health care purchasers as a provider network option in the health
care products offered to enrollees.
"Group Health and Providence are equally committed to finding local solutions to fix our broken
health system by creating a patient‐centered, clinically integrated delivery organization to care
more effectively for residents of our community and the surrounding region,” says Kelly
Stanford, vice president of market development for Group Health Cooperative. “By drawing on
the strengths and capabilities of both organizations and through new models of payment to
providers, our integrated physician organization will achieve three goals – enhance patient
health, improve the patient care experience, and decrease the overall cost of care,” continues