Tacoma-based MultiCare’s partnership expands reach in Snohomish County

MultiCare and Overlake say they will “invest significantly to meet the growing health care needs of the Eastside and North Sound communities.”

  • By Wire Service
  • Wednesday, May 22, 2024 3:01pm
  • Local News
Logo for news use featuring Snohomish County, Washington. 220118

By Debbie Cockrell / The News Tribune

Tacoma-based MultiCare health system and Bellevue-based Overlake Medical Center & Clinics on Tuesday announced an affiliation expanding the reach of both.

In a joint announcement Tuesday, the systems said, “Overlake and its network of clinics will comprise the new North Sound region of MultiCare’s statewide network and will be the North Sound region’s flagship health system.”

The affiliation was described in the announcement as a “sharing of resources and expertise through measured integration.”

The agreement is subject to regulatory approval, with an anticipated closing date this fall.

Under terms of the affiliation, Overlake will retain its name and logo as well as its Board of Trustees, leadership team, medical staff structure and Overlake Foundation.

The health systems’ official announcement also noted, “Any gifts made to the Overlake Foundation will continue to support Overlake and the community it serves.”

The affiliation expands MultiCare’s reach into King and Snohomish counties, and the system’s already established network of 12 hospitals and 300 clinics across the Northwest.

According to the announcement, the two health systems “will invest significantly to meet the growing health care needs of the Eastside and North Sound communities. Together, the organizations will provide ever greater access to the excellent clinical care for which Overlake is known.”

The news is the latest in expansions MultiCare has launched in recent years to expand its statewide footprint beyond its Pierce County base. Among other additions, the health system added Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital to its network roster in 2023. Earlier this month, it announced a new neighborhood emergency department planned for Union Gap.

On Tuesday, MultiCare CEO Bill Robertson and Overlake president and CEO J. Michael Marsh spoke with The News Tribune in an online interview.

Robertson said that combining forces with Overlake is a win both for patients and staff.

For patients, “We’re very excited about the opportunities that we have together to create something that neither of us could have probably created on our own,” Roberston said, “in the interest of better access to care for the North Sound.”

For MultiCare’s staff, “We have employees that live up in the communities around Overlake,” he said. “And once we’re done, Overlake will become accessible to our own employees,” through its health benefits.

Marsh said Overlake had been looking for “transformational partners” for two years “to help us be successful in an ever-changing health-care environment.”

Marsh said Overlake serves about 200,000 unique patients a year, with 25% already coming from outside its immediate community.

“One of the things that really drew us to MultiCare was the fact that it was a secular, Northwest-focused, nonprofit organization, with a similar mission to ours,” Marsh added.

“Overlake and MultiCare aren’t looking to fix one another,” Marsh noted. “This is a case where you have two strong organizations who are coming together to become stronger and support one of the largest and fastest-growing communities in the state — most of King County and Snohomish County.”

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