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Providence, Group Health Introduce CareUnity

July 03, 2014

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The CareUnity ACO (Accountable Care Organization) in Spokane, WA is an alliance of Group Health Cooperative and Providence Health Care.

Spokane, WA–Group Health Cooperative and Providence Health Care have announced a new name and brand for their jointly‐owned accountable care organization (ACO). Called CareUnity, the new name and brand identity expresses the vision of both organizations— collaborating to deliver care that is in the best interest of the community.

Group Health and Providence formed an ACO in 2012, a group of health care providers in the Spokane area who have committed to deliver coordinated and affordable care across the care continuum, while accepting accountability for the clinical and financial outcomes and overall health status of the patients they serve.

CareUnity works directly with health carriers and self‐funded employers to understand their health care objectives around access, quality, cost and patient experience—and then designs a coordinated care option that will drive improvement to those targets.

“We believe the name CareUnity truly represents the commitment of our two organizations to provide care in a more collaborative way,” says Elaine Couture, chief executive of Providence Health Care in Eastern Washington and chair of the CareUnity Board of Directors. “To offer a better patient experience and make care more affordable, we must change the way providers communicate, coordinate, share financial risk and empower patients. CareUnity focuses on adhering to established, evidence‐based guidelines and finding care pathways and processes that are proven to provide the best health outcomes for patients.”

CareUnity is the region’s most comprehensive ACO, offering the full continuum of care – from health education and prevention, physician visits, hospitalization, rehabilitation therapy and home health services to end‐of‐life care.

CareUnity includes health care providers from Group Health Physicians, Providence Medical Group and Columbia Medical Associates in Spokane. Pivotal to the success of the coordinated physician group are nearly 200 primary care providers who serve as the medical home for patients throughout the region. These primary care providers help to ensure that patient care is coordinated across the entire health system—specialists, urgent care centers and hospitals, including Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital and Holy Family Hospital. Altogether, CareUnity is the largest ACO in the region, with access to nearly 700 physicians and advanced practitioners.

CareUnity currently coordinates care for more than 50,000 patients in Spokane who seek care from providers with Providence Medical Group, Group Health Physicians and Columbia Medical Associates. While many ACOs are designed to serve only Medicare populations, CareUnity and its providers have value‐based contracts with Medicaid, Medicare and commercial purchasers.

"CareUnity is committed to finding local solutions to fix our broken health system by creating a patient‐centered ACO to care more effectively for residents of our community and the surrounding region,” says Kelly Stanford, vice president of Eastern and Central Washington for Group Health Cooperative and president of CareUnity. “By drawing on the strengths and capabilities of both organizations and through new models of payment to providers, CareUnity is achieving three goals – enhanced patient health, an improved patient care experience, and more affordable care.”

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About Group Health

Group Health is one of the nation’s leading nonprofit 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 Group Health Options, Inc. and KPS Health Plans, provides health coverage to more than 601,000 residents of Washington state and North Idaho. More than 420,000 members receive care from Group Health Physicians medical group at Group Health Medical Center 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. For more information, visit www.ghc.org.   

About Providence Health Care

Providence Health Care is the Eastern Washington region of Providence Health & Services, a notfor‐profit Catholic health care ministry committed to providing for the needs of the communities it serves – especially for those who are poor and vulnerable. The health system, which affiliated with Swedish Health Services in 2012, employs more than 65,000 people across five states – Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington. In Eastern Washington, the Providence Health Care network of services includes Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center & Children’s Hospital and Providence Holy Family Hospital– both nationally recognized for quality care, as well as two critical access hospitals in Colville and Chewelah; and a full continuum of services including home health, assisted living, adult day health, skilled nursing care, and PAML medical laboratories. Providence Medical Group of Eastern Washington includes more than 500 physicians and advanced practitioners (physicians’ assistants and nurse practitioners). Its medical staff includes primary care providers, surgical subspecialists and medical specialists. For more information, visit www.phc.org.