By BETSY TAYLOR
Providence Health & Services and PeaceHealth will collaborate on a health and wellness center in Vancouver, Wash., after signing a letter of intent on Oct. 26 to work together on innovative ways to provide health care in the communities they serve.
The two Washington-based Catholic nonprofits say the health and wellness center is the first of multiple initiatives between them. The center will offer primary care, specialty pediatric care, rehabilitation and fitness services. It will be built on land Providence Health & Services owns in Vancouver.
Dave Underriner, chief executive of Providence Health & Services' Oregon region, and Beth O'Brien, chief operating officer for PeaceHealth, said the health and wellness center will operate as a Catholic nonprofit entity. The health care systems intend to be partners in the health and wellness center, but they said it's too soon to say how much each will invest in the collaboration. The center is expected to open in 2017.
Underriner said, "I think it's a new design around how to serve a community and focus on the whole person." He said the idea is to offer a variety of services related to both wellness and health care, including fitness, nutrition and disease management services under one roof.
O'Brien said the health care systems are comparing their respective assessments of unmet needs in the Vancouver area as well as talking to health officials, community organizations and payer groups about needed services and reimbursement for those services. She said an important part of the work will be forming new relationships in the community. "Some of that work is yet to be charted."
Underriner said the systems are researching preventive care and wellness programs to see what has proven effective in other markets.
O'Brien said the center's primary care and specialty care services likely will be reimbursed by health insurance, and the partners will explore what preventive care and wellness services may be covered by insurance. Consumers likely will pay out-of-pocket for some services.
The health care systems compete in the Vancouver/Portland-area market. PeaceHealth owns PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver and Providence Health & Services owns Providence St. Vincent Medical Center and Providence Portland Medical Center both in Portland, located about a dozen miles from Vancouver.
Providence Health & Services and PeaceHealth also plan to explore jointly providing community benefits, which could include health screenings or education.
The health care systems haven't yet said what other markets hold potential as sites of future collaborations.
Providence Health & Services, based in Renton, Wash., includes 34 hospitals, 475 physician clinics and other health and educational services. It employs about 76,000 people in five states: Washington, Oregon, Alaska, California and Montana.
PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., includes 10 hospitals, a group practice with about 800 providers and has 16,000 employees in Washington, Oregon and Alaska.
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