Virginia Mason to purchase Edmonds Family Medicine

The deal to buy the independent clinic could be completed in January.

EDMONDS — Edmonds Family Medicine, an independent medical clinic serving south Snohomish and north King counties since 1975, has announced it is being bought by Virginia Mason Health System.

The Seattle-based organization has more than 500 physicians. It operates a 336-bed hospital in Seattle and a 226-bed hospital in Yakima and has clinics throughout the Puget Sound region, including one in Lynnwood which opened in 1991.

The nonprofit medical group was founded in 1920 by two physicians.

The acquisition could be completed in January, said Dr. Gary S. Kaplan, the organization’s chairman and chief executive. The price was not disclosed.

“In Edmonds Family Medicine we found colleagues of like mind and common purpose,” Kaplan said.

The purchase will help the organization’s growth strategy “and position us more favorably in a highly competitive market,” Kaplan said.

Marcy Shimada, chief executive of Edmonds Family Medicine, said one of the reasons the clinic started thinking of joining another health care organization was that it had become hard to recruit physicians and other providers.

A lot of candidates didn’t feel comfortable joining an independent practice. “They felt it was safer to take a job with a larger organization,” she said.

At the same time, there weren’t enough doctors to meet patient demand, she said.

The clinic felt it needed to find a way to better serve its patients. “If that means being a part of something larger, then that’s what we needed to look at,” she said.

“We liked the idea of how we would fit with Virginia Mason,” Shimada said.

The two organizations accept many of the same health insurance plans. “Where’s there’s a difference, it’s our belief and hope we can get that worked out so there’s no disruptions for anybody,” Shimada said.

The Edmonds clinic has about 40,000 patients. Its staff include 23 physicians and five physician assistants, with a full-time equivalent staff of 103 people.

The clinic’s goal is to recruit more physicians so patients aren’t waiting as long for appointments, something Virginia Mason has said it will help with, Shimada said.

The agreement with Virginia Mason took less than three months to complete. It was unanimously approved by the clinic’s medical staff shareholders on Nov. 3, she said.

Last year, the Virginia Mason Health System had a total of 1.3 million outpatient visits and 22,535 inpatient hospital admissions.

The purchase of the Edmonds clinic follows a wave of purchases and consolidation in the health care industry, both locally and nationally.

The county’s former independent hospitals in Edmonds, Arlington and Monroe all have joined other medical groups.

Last year, The Everett Clinic was bought by DaVita HealthCare Partners for $405 million.

The purchase of the Edmonds clinic leaves Western Washington Medical Group as one of the last large independent medical groups in Snohomish County.

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

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