Group Health And Providence Form A New Company In Spokane

Group Health Cooperative and Providence Health Care signed an agreement yesterday to form a new company in Spokane, Washington. The jointly owned organization will align health care providers from Group Health, Providence and Columbia Medical Associates in an effort to better serve patients by coordinating care and communication and providing access to 132 primary care physicians.

“First and foremost, this comprehensive physician organization allows us to better care for our patients,” says Mike Wilson, chief executive of Providence Health Care in Eastern Washington. “By improving coordination and communication among care givers who utilize the best evidence-based medicine, we will be able to improve quality.

Neither a merger nor an acquisition, this venture brings a health plan with its own physicians together with a Catholic hospital system, marking an innovative approach to address a national shift from the current fee-for-service payment model to a more universal payment method that rewards patient health outcomes.

According to Kaiser Health News, this marks the first time Group Health will be opening their services to other health plan holders. Kelly Stanford, vice president of market development for Group Health Cooperative, had the following to say:

Group Health and Providence are equally committed to finding local solutions to fix our broken health system by creating a patient-centered, clinically integrated delivery organization to care more effectively for residents of our community and the surrounding region.

By drawing on the strengths and capabilities of both organizations and through new models of payment to providers, our integrated physician organization will achieve three goals – enhance patient health, improve the patient care experience, and decrease the overall cost of care.

All three of the companies posted an identical release to their respective websites, which stated the following:

Beginning in January 2013, the organization will initially serve Providence employees and Group Health patients who receive care from providers working at Providence Medical Group, Group Health, or Columbia Medical Associates clinics.

Once fully operational, the physician organization will be offered to other health insurance companies and health care purchasers as a provider network option in the health care products offered to enrollees.