PeaceHealth, UW Medicine collaborate on complex care

November 1, 2013

PeaceHealth and University of Washington Medicine have entered into an agreement that makes Seattle-based UW Medicine the preferred provider for complex medical care for PeaceHealth patients in northwest Washington and southeast Alaska.

Under the collaboration, PeaceHealth and UW Medicine will improve the way they coordinate care for patients of PeaceHealth's Northwest Network who require complex tertiary or quaternary care. This could include patients with serious trauma or burns or those who require organ transplant. PeaceHealth Northwest includes hospitals in Bellingham, Friday Harbor and Sedro Woolley, Wash., and in Ketchikan, Alaska.

To improve their coordination of care, PeaceHealth and UW Medicine will invest in an electronic medical record system that links the existing systems of the two organizations; they will improve their protocols for partnering on patient care; and UW Medicine will expand its continuing medical education programs for PeaceHealth clinicians. The partners have not yet quantified the amount they will be investing.

Peter Adler is senior vice president and chief strategy officer for Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth and chief executive of that system's Health Ventures subsidiary. He said PeaceHealth and UW Medicine "share a vision of developing a seamless, coordinated care pathway" so that patients can receive the care they need as close to their own community as possible. Johnese Spisso, chief health system officer for UW Medicine, said the two systems share the common goals of improving health care quality and value, reducing the cost of care delivery and improving the timely transfer of medical information.

The collaboration does not involve the merging of assets, nor does it involve any change in ownership or governance for PeaceHealth or UW Medicine. PeaceHealth will not be compensated monetarily for making UW Medicine the preferred referral destination for PeaceHealth Northwest patients. Adler noted that PeaceHealth clinicians have been referring patients to UW Medicine for decades. What is different now is that the two are investing in improving how they coordinate care.

Adler said the partnership has many similarities with accountable care organizations. While the PeaceHealth-UW Medicine collaboration is not an accountable care organization as certified by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the organizations could jointly agree to seek such certification in the future, Adler said.

He said the partnership makes PeaceHealth and UW Medicine attractive to large, self-insured employers who want their employees to receive care from providers that deliver care efficiently without sacrificing quality. Adler said PeaceHealth and UW Medicine are in conversations with some large employers about being preferred providers for their employees.


Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States
For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3477.

Copyright © 2013 by the Catholic Health Association of the United States

For reprint permission, contact Betty Crosby or call (314) 253-3490.