Providence and Swedish Finalize Affiliation Agreement, Join Forces to Improve Health Care For Western Washington

Feb 01, 2012, 13:15 ET from Swedish Medical Center

RENTON and SEATTLE, Wash., Feb. 1, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Officials from locally based Providence Health & Services and Swedish Health Services announced today that the affiliation between both health systems is official. This unique affiliation will allow both organizations to work together to improve health-care quality, access and affordability for residents of Western Washington.

Swedish joins with Providence's Northwest and Southwest Washington operations to create a new organization serving the greater Puget Sound area. This new region includes all of Swedish's operations in King and South Snohomish counties and Providence's operations in King, Snohomish, Thurston and Lewis counties.

Through this affiliation both organizations will collaborate to better deliver health care to the region, while at the same time maintaining their individual identities and heritage. Providence will retain its Catholic identity and name, and Swedish will retain its name and will remain non-religious. While the organizations' names and brands will not be changing and patients won't see any difference in how they access care, by working together, Providence and Swedish can reduce costs and increase quality and access for patients in Western Washington.

"This is an exciting day for both organizations," said John Koster, M.D., Providence Health & Services president and CEO. "Together, we will reach new levels of excellence and will be able to improve quality and access for Western Washington in a way we couldn't as separate organizations."

"At a time of crisis for health care nationally, this partnership will allow us to improve quality and access on a scale that no single organization can achieve on its own," said Rod Hochman, M.D., president and CEO of Swedish. "It will also allow us to lower the cost of health care by sharing resources and best practices. This is an innovative and bold local solution to a national problem."

The affiliation planning process was aided by support from the community, elected officials and regulatory agencies. Their support and review were instrumental in this process.

As a part of the affiliation, Providence and Swedish are announcing key leadership changes, including:

  • Arnie Schaffer will serve as executive vice president, chief executive of the new Western Washington Region. Schaffer previously oversaw Providence's regional operations in Alaska, Washington, Montana and California, and, in his new role, will be responsible for affiliation operations and overseeing integration activities between Swedish and Providence.
  • Rod Hochman, M.D., has accepted a new position with Providence, serving as one of two group presidents for Providence's five-state system. In this capacity, Dr. Hochman will oversee clinical quality, physician services, human resources and communication for the Providence system and will also have accountability for Oregon and Washington operations.
  • Currently serving as chief operating officer for Providence, Mike Butler has been promoted to group president, Providence Health & Services. Butler will oversee management services, finance, strategy and business development, senior and community services and will have accountability for Alaska, California and Montana operations.
  • Kevin Brown will serve as the new chief executive for Swedish Health Services. Brown previously served as Swedish's chief strategy officer and administrator for Ballard, Issaquah, Mill Creek and Redmond.

"The real work lies ahead," said Dr. Koster. "Together, we'll ensure we realize the benefit of shared clinical expertise to develop leading care practices to improve the health of the communities we serve."

Swedish Health Services is a private, not-for-profit organization founded in 1910 with five hospitals, more than 100 primary care and specialty clinics, two ambulatory care centers and 11,000 employees in Greater Seattle, including the Eastside, South Snohomish County and Cle Elum. Providence Health & Services is a Catholic, not-for-profit organization founded by the Sisters of Providence in 1856 with 27 hospitals, 214 physician clinics and almost 53,000 employees across five states. Based in Renton, Washington, Providence Health & Services provides strategic and management services to integrated health care systems in Alaska, California, Montana, Oregon and Washington. In 2009, Providence and Swedish provided a combined total of more than $205 million in community benefit in Western Washington, including $61.4 million in free and discounted care for those who could not afford to pay for care.

To view a short video about this affiliation, visit

SOURCE Swedish Medical Center