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Strengthening Our Physician Network Through Affiliation to Meet Local Healthcare Needs

Published August 4, 2014

Together, Pacific Medical Centers, Providence Medical Group and Swedish Medical Group comprise one of the largest, most comprehensive physician networks in Western Washington. Through our combined medical groups, the network has a strong primary care presence that reaches most communities across the Puget Sound region and offers expertise in virtually every specialty and subspecialty. The network is distinguished by the exceptional quality of care it provides and includes some of the best primary care providers and specialists in the Puget Sound area and the entire country.

Collectively, the PacMed, Providence and Swedish network spans a large geography.  Our combined footprint and range of services are much more competitive than any one organization’s alone and provide the ability to serve some of the most underserved communities in the area. We are currently working on opportunities to increase and improve service to communities by identifying gaps and overlaps in the network’s reach, but ours is now one of the most high-performing networks in the Puget Sound area. South King County, Pierce County and Kitsap County are among several areas that have been identified as counties that would benefit from a greater presence among our network. PacMed has developed a strategic growth plan to address the needs in these specific communities. We are now comparing that work with Providence and Swedish’s growth plans to give us a fuller picture of the entire region and how we can work together to fill the gaps.

Strengthening our network will involve a combination of approaches, including building new clinics, contracting with existing providers in local communities and potentially co-locating PacMed, Providence and Swedish physicians in the same building to ensure we have the right mix of primary care and specialty physicians to meet community needs.

The good news is that in the course of our network development work, we have found a high level of complementarity and little duplication of services. The cultures of the practices are similar in their shared emphasis on patient-centered, high-quality care. We also have been pleased to see our physicians working together and supporting one another’s practices, with exceptional standards for care naturally resulting in referrals. For example, Swedish’s primary care clinic in Northgate is now referring patients in need of specialty care to PacMed’s nearby multi-specialty clinic. This is helping people who live and work in the Northgate community get more of their healthcare needs met closer to home or their workplace.

One of the goals of the affiliation is to expand healthcare access to more military families by increasing membership in US Family Health Plan, administered by PacMed. We are also working to develop innovative new products for employers and payers, such as our new arrangement with Boeing. A well-thought-out, strategic plan for developing our physician network is key to achieving both of these goals, and we look forward to keeping you apprised of these efforts as our planning progresses.