DaVita HealthCare Partners completes Everett Clinic purchase

EVERETT — Don’t look for any big changes Tuesday as the purchase of The Everett Clinic by DaVita HealthCare Partners becomes final. Not even the clinic’s signs will change.

Patients won’t see any difference in making appointments or with insurance issues, said Rick Cooper, The Everett Clinic’s chief executive.

Do look for big changes in the fall, however, as a new clinic in Shoreline — the organization’s first in King County — opens.

Plans call for opening the $17 million, 40,000-square-foot clinic in September. The office, with 80 exam rooms, will have roughly the same number of health care staff as its Smokey Point clinic.

The Shoreline Clinic will open at 1201 N. 175th St., across from Shoreline City Hall. The services planned there include a walk-in clinic, family medicine, pediatric, and internal medicine as well as behavioral health, and specialists in allergy, dermatology, optometry, physical therapy, pulmonary issues, occupational medicine and obstetrics and gynecology.

It’s part of the organization’s plans to double its size in the next four years, which could include expansion into Bothell, Kirkland and Bellevue, Cooper said. Some of that growth may occur through the purchase of existing clinics, he said.

The organization also is taking a look at places to grow closer to home, he said, such as in the Lake Stevens area and eastern Snohomish County.

The ability to grow was one of the key factors in the decision to join up with Denver-based DaVita HealthCare Partners, he said. “Being part of a larger organization with a different business model and more underlying financial strength will allow us to grow and innovate at a pace faster than we could do it alone,” Cooper said. “In the absence of this transition with DaVita, I question whether we would have been able to do it as quickly as we’re doing it.”

The financial terms of DaVita’s buyout of The Everett Clinic have not been disclosed. DaVita first announced its plans to buy the health care organization in September.

Cooper acknowledged that studies such as the Healthcare Pricing Project, show that as consolidation continues in the health care industry charges for services tend to increase.

As one example, Zack Cooper, an assistant professor of health policy and of economics at Yale University, found that in markets where hospitals have a monolopy, prices were about 15 percent higher than in markets where there were two or more more competing hospitals.

“We are very mindful that there is concern about consolidation in health care resulting in greater costs for patients,” he said. Snohomish County has other competing health care organizations, he said, including Kaiser Permanente’s plans to buy Group Health. Cooper said he expects Kaiser to offer lower premiums “and be positive for choice and competition in the marketplace.”

The Everett Clinic has 320,000 patients and has 2,200 employees. It has clinics in Lake Stevens, Marysville, Mill Creek, Silver Lake, Smokey Point, Snohomish, Stanwood, Harbour Pointe and Everett. It had $365 million in revenue last year.

DaVita HealthCare Partners is a Fortune 500 company. It is the parent company of DaVita Kidney Care and HealthCare Partners. It operates medical groups in Arizona, California, Nevada, Florida, New Mexico and Colorado, with some 808,000 patients. Last year, the organization announced an adjusted net income of $828 million.

Although patient appointments at clinics will go on as usual Tuesday, there will be a short ceremony at its administrative offices to celebrate the change, said Everett Clinic spokeswoman April Zepeda.

Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486; salyer@heraldnet.com.

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