Providence, PacMed to join in partnership

  • Tue Feb 4th, 2014 4:21pm

By Jim Davis <i>HBJ Editor</i>

Providence Health &Services plans to join together in a “secular affiliation” with Pacific Medical Centers, which has nine clinics including one in Lynnwood and another in Canyon Park.

The goal is to reduce the costs of health care for patients, employers and government insurers.

“On its own, PacMed cannot drive broad changes in the way that health care is delivered,” said Harvey Smith, president and CEO of PacMed, in a statement. “We need to collaborate with an organization that has sufficient resources and a similar community-minded mission and vision to succeed. Not just any partner, but the right partner.”

Providence Health &Services is a nonprofit Catholic health organization based in Renton that has 32 hospitals including Providence Regional Medical Center Everett. It was drawn to PacMed because it is an organization that delivers high quality care at an affordable cost, said Dr. Rod Hochman, Providence’s president and CEO, in a statement.

“We are very excited about a potential affiliation with PacMed. It directly aligns with our core strategy to create healthier communities by collaborating with innovative partners. Only by working together will we improve health care and make it more affordable,” Hochman said.

Providence partnered with Swedish Health Services in 2012 in a similar affiliation.

Terms of the Providence-PacMed deal include:

• PacMed will remain secular and its physicians and staff will not be subject to the ethical and religious directives for Catholic Health Care Services.

• PacMed patients will have the same access to care as they do today. PacMed will continue to prescribe contraceptives and physicians will continue to perform sterilizations and other procedures as they do today. PacMed currently does not provide abortions, and physicians will continue to refer patients seeking abortions to outside providers.

• PacMed does not fill prescriptions for lethal medications and that will not change. PacMed will continue to act as a “consulting physician” to any patient who considers physician-assisted suicide, but will not act as an “attending physician” or prescribe lethal medications.

• PacMed’s current board of directors will become the PacMed Community Board, which will share governance responsibility for PacMed with Providence’s secular organization.

Once an agreement is reached, both organizations will spend the first 120 days to develop a plan to work together.