News and Information

June 14, 2012

Group Health, Franciscan Will Innovate To Improve Health Care In South Sound

Group Health Cooperative and Franciscan Health System have agreed to take an innovative approach to a five-year contract renewal reflecting both organizations' shared commitment to broadening their partnership beyond the acute-care setting and to exploring innovative models for care delivery.

Physicians and staff at both organizations will collaborate to improve coordination of services; evaluate new models for care delivery; maximize the utilization of electronic health records; and explore co-developing insurance products and other resources that can enhance access, quality and safety. Both organizations will also reach out to share best practices and improve care coordination with leading providers in the South Puget Sound region.

"We could not ask for a better partner than Group Health, which is recognized as one of the leading providers of coordinated patient-care services in the nation," Franciscan Chief Executive Officer Joe Wilczek said. "We look forward to continuing to work with Group Health and other providers in the community to create opportunities for better care delivery, better outcomes, and better health."

Group Health has been working in Seattle, Spokane and Snohomish County with leading providers to extend a model of care focused on patients and improved quality.

"Our goal is create the right systems and support to create a seamless experience of care and service for our patients at every point of care," said Scott Armstrong, president and CEO, Group Health Cooperative. "It is also in our goal to improve care and health as broadly as we can in the community."

Franciscan Health System, which has hospitals and medical clinics in Pierce, South King and South Kitsap counties, has been a key provider of acute-care services for Group Health clients in the South Sound since 1996. To date, most admissions of Group Health enrollees for inpatient care have occurred at Franciscan's St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma. All five of Franciscan's hospital emergency departments, and several Franciscan Medical Group physicians, also care for Group Health patients.

The new five-year contract takes full effect in January 2013.

Group Health is one of the nation's leading non-profit health systems, recognized for its consumer-governed cooperative origins and innovative solutions for improving care. Established in 1947, Group Health Cooperative, together with its subsidiaries Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, provides health coverage to more than 664,000 residents of Washington state. More than 420,000 members receive care from Group Health Physicians medical group at Group Health Medical Centers locations across the Puget Sound region and Spokane. Group Health advances health in the community through its medical education, charitable foundation, and nationally recognized research institute.

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