Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan Health announce new collaborations

Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan Health announced two new collaborations this week designed to improve access for Washingtonians.  The collaborations have grown out of a clinical partnership and strategic affiliation that began in March 2017. The two systems maintain distinct and separate operations but are working together to expand care services statewide.

First, the two announced the planned 2019 opening of a new urgent care center on Bainbridge Island in conjunction with CityMD. The center  will see patients seven days a week, from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Friday, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

CityMD is a nation-wide company with seven current locations in the Northwest. Its focus is convenient walk-in access for the treatment of minor illnesses and injuries to help reduce over-use of non-emergent emergency department care, ultimately reducing overall health care costs. The site will be co-located at Virginia Mason’s new Bainbridge Island Medical Center, which opened in June. Said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD of the partnership,

“We are delighted that CityMD is coming to Bainbridge Island. Staffed primarily with board-certified emergency medicine doctors, all area residents including our existing patients  will have higher acuity access without having to leave the island. Such access can also prevent unnecessary visits to the emergency department.”

In addition to the urgent care clinic, Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan Health announced a plan to begin a new obstetrics program, at  Virginia Mason’s Jones Pavilion in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. The facility is planned to open in 2020, pending approval by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH). The unit will feature private birthing suites and a Level II Special Care Nursery to care for the most fragile newborns. The providers will focus on providing a collaborative model of care that will feature providers, certified midwives and other expert staff from CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason working together for the value and benefit of the patients.

Experienced at OB care, last year CHI Franciscan delivered nearly 9,000 babies in the Puget Sound region. In support of the medical birth services, the center also plans to offer a doula program, breastfeeding support with lactation consultants, and midwifery services.

“Seattle continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and we’re committed to ensuring our communities have access to the highest quality care and services,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of Tacoma-based CHI Franciscan Health, part of Catholic Health Initiatives. “Partnering with Virginia Mason to open a new birth center will meet the growing need for obstetrics care that families deserve and expect.”

Dr. Kaplan also lauded the OB center announcement stating,

“I am very excited about bringing OB services to Virginia Mason, I firmly believe it will become one of the most significant milestones in our organization’s history.”

Virginia Mason has begun the regulatory process of approval by filing its letter of intent with the Washington State Department of Health. It will submit the more formal certificate of need application in October. The letter and application are not posted yet, but should appear soon on the department’s website here for review.