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PacMed and Providence Have Already Found Success as We Pass 120 Day Affiliation Milestone

Published September 15, 2014

Dear colleagues,

It’s been four exciting months, and the affiliation between Providence Health & Services and Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) is going beautifully—and already producing positive results!

The long-term vision for our affiliation has always been to change how health care is organized, delivered and paid for. It’s a lofty, idealistic goal, yet one we believe is important and timely. In all our efforts, however, we remain committed to our essential mission as health care providers: committed connections to our patients and the consistent delivery of thoughtful, high-quality care.

To influence health care delivery and costs, we are focused on strategically aligning our expertise and resources where effective, sharing best practices, finding opportunities to expand existing programs, and sharing administrative services and tools. As we pursue these strategic goals, we want to enhance both organizations’ ability to make long-term contributions to the health and wellness of our communities.

The transition team has worked hard to ensure a thoughtful, well-planned integration. Progress in several areas has already revealed several exciting opportunities:

Improving efficiency, service and costs by aligning administrative/shared services- Examples include sharing liability, other insurance and internal legal counsel. We are also actively collaborating on opportunities to leverage supply contracts and data centers. As recently shared, we plan to align our Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) software in June 2015, which will help us manage core business processes such as accounting and HR, track resources and track things like job applications, orders and payroll. With streamlined tools and infrastructure, we all can better serve our patients and support our internal teams.

Reaching new patients- We are already expanding the scope of US Family Health Plan, a special Department of Defense–sponsored plan for military beneficiaries that PacMed has administered locally for 30 years.We are researching how many existing Providence patients are eligible for USFHP but have not chosen this excellent plan and hope to transfer them to USFHP coverage.The transition team is also working on both local and broader expansion plans to benefit both organizations.

Caring for local communities- Combined, we span a large geography, with one of the most comprehensive physician networks in western Washington and expertise in virtually every specialty and subspecialty. This positions us perfectly to provide care for some of the most underserved communities in our region. Also, by referring between our organizations, we are able to provide more integrated health care, which we know creates better clinical outcomes. Another bonus is our ability to help people to get more of their health care needs met closer to home or their workplace.

Better serving local employers and payers- Together, we are better positioned to access the full potential of the products and services we can offer to employers, payers and patients. We are already innovating and gaining interest, such as our new arrangement with Boeing, and we intend to extend new options to other employer groups.

September 1 marked the end of the 120-day integration-planning period. Since the affiliation’s inception on May 1, we have explored and designed thorough, thoughtful changes to move us closer to reaching affiliation objectives.

We now enter a more in-depth phase of additional planning and implementation. The strong cultures of Pacific Medical Centers and Providence Health & Services, fundamental to their individual successes, are also crucial to our shared success. Our mutual respect and appreciation continues to drive collaboration.

The transition committee will continue to provide direction and input on points of strategic alignment, opportunities to expand existing programs, new products and product lines, refined or new approaches for both organizations to deliver on their potential and promise to our patients, and gained efficiencies through shared services and other models. The committee and various focused workgroups will work to ensure careful management of the ongoing transition, while still enabling both organizations to remain nimble and ready to act on market opportunities.

As we implement new strategies and maximize the economies of scale created by the affiliation, we move closer to our goal of keeping exceptional care accessible for our communities. We appreciate your patience and trust as we all undergo the changes and growth that are part of our new strategic adventure. We are proud of this new connection—and of you and your efforts to support a new approach to health care delivery.

Mike Butler
President, Operations & Services
Providence Health & Services

Harvey Smith
Transition Committee Chair
Pacific Medical Centers