Swedish and Providence Join Forces to Improve Health Care

October 06, 2011

These are some of the most challenging times in our country’s history for both health care and the economy. As Greater Seattle’s largest nonprofit provider, we believe it is Swedish’s responsibility to lead the region through these difficult times and serve the community no matter what the circumstances. Today, I am very proud to announce that Swedish is leading the way in partnership with Providence Health & Services. Both of our boards recently approved an innovative plan to join forces and form a new integrated health system to serve Western Washington.

There are still many details to be worked out, and the affiliation is pending regulatory review. But when finalized, our new system will dramatically improve health care for the region and serve as a local solution to the nation’s health-care crisis.

What makes our affiliation so innovative is that it is not a merger or acquisition. Rather, it is a unique structure that will allow us to work together to coordinate care for the region while respecting our individual identities and heritage.

In other words, Swedish will still be Swedish. We are keeping our name and will not become a Catholic organization. Likewise, Providence will still be Providence. They will keep their name and maintain their Catholic identity.

What will change, however, is that we will closely collaborate to coordinate care seamlessly for patients from Centralia to Seattle to Everett by:

  • Harnessing the power of electronic health records to better serve patients and improve clinical outcomes
  • Using our collective data to drive rapid quality and safety improvements
  • Sharing resources to assure underserved communities have access to the continuum of care, including subspecialized care and innovative research
  • Working together to implement best practices and gain operating efficiencies so that we can reduce costs and make health care more affordable for government payers, commercial insurers and employers.

A partner with a shared mission

Knowing that greater collaboration is the future of health care, Swedish has been seeking the right partner for a few years. We evaluated many different options, from local independent providers to major out-of-state systems. But at the end of the day, there was only one partner that made sense.

Like us, Providence is a mission-driven organization. Together, Swedish and Providence already provide a staggering $205 million per year in uncompensated care and other community-benefit activities for Western Washington. Imagine how much more we can do – and how many more lives we can improve – by working together.

Providence owns and operates health-care facilities across five states, and we believe our patients can benefit from the expertise and resources that come from being connected to a larger network. Another important factor is that Providence has been serving Western Washington for 155 years and is headquartered in Renton. We see the value in partnering with another long-time Washington organization and understand the important role that plays in supporting the local economy.

The role of philanthropy: Swedish will maintain a separate Foundation

Philanthropy has, and will continue to be vital to the missions of both organizations. Through this innovative affiliation, Providence and Swedish will maintain their individual foundations, and they will continue operate separately. That means gifts made to the Swedish Foundation will only go to Swedish, and gifts made to the Providence foundations will only go to Providence.

Some things will change, but the best things about Swedish will stay the same

Even with all the positive change on the horizon, what excites me most about this partnership is that the best things about Swedish will stay the same. Thanks to our great staff, physicians, volunteers, and community supporters, Swedish has had a profound impact on the health of Western Washington for 101 years. And that won’t change. In fact, with our new partnership, we will make an even bigger difference for many more years to come. To learn more about the proposed affiliation, please visit www.providenceandswedish.org.

Topics: Exercise, Wellness


Shame on you Dr Hochman for selling out Swedish's secular mission to the highest religious bidder. Swedish patients will lose out after Catholic law is implemented into their medical choices, whether they want it or not. And as usual, it's women who will suffer the most. The women in the high-risk Perinatal Medicine clinic who need to terminate dangerous or hopeless pregnancies will be forced to seek care elsewhere, rather than with the doctors they already know and trust, because Providence will dictate they do so. And new mothers who want tubal ligations after they deliver, or anyone seeking modern contraceptives, will also have to look elsewhere. Yet you will no doubt see another raise in your salary. So much for your "commitment to care".
You wrote: "Swedish will still be Swedish. . . and will not become a Catholic organization." You also wrote that the new arrangement will respect "our individual identities and heritage."And yet the truth is that Swedish will kowtow to Providence's religious requirements and will stop providing abortions in its facilities. Swedish might also forbid doctors from fully assisting patients with end-of-life decisions.You may not be adding "Catholic" to your official name, but you'll be a de facto Catholic institution. And women and the elderly will suffer as a result. Thus, this won't improve medical care, as you falsely claim. It will harm it.
I was horrified to read in today's Seattle Times that Swedish will stop providing legal, elective abortions as a result of this merger. Why be two-faced and say Swedish will remain nonreligious? I am STUNNED at this decision and will be posting this far and wide on Facebook.
As the communications director for Swedish, I wanted to point out that this story is being mis-reported. Swedish is committed to assuring access in the community and is working with a community organization that specializes in this type of care to make sure access continues in Seattle and that there is no disruption in service. More specific details about this plan are forthcoming. Stay tuned. Thank you.
"Swedish Statement on Reproductive Health and End-of-Life CareSwedish currently provides a limited number of elective abortions but after the effective date of the affiliation and out of respect for the affiliation, Swedish will not provide elective abortions in its facilities. Swedish will, however, take steps to assure continued access to comprehensive women�s reproductive health services through community organizations dedicated to providing this care."What's next are you going to stop having blood transfusions because you will merge with a jehovah witness organization?I will never use your facilities again and will no longer donate to you.
I am adding my voice to this outrageous sell out of women's right to choose in favor of a bigger market share of the primary care market.You are not listening to your patients but to the almighty dollar. This is a legal procedure and your stopping provision of this service can only be viewed in one way....selling out to the religious beliefs of your new partner.Sham on you.
I have to agree with the other comments, I am very alarmed that Swedish is limiting women health care by no longer providing a LEGAL medical procedure. It does seem that Swedish is adopting the religious practices of Providence. With 10 board members from Providence and only 5 from Swedish, I guess we can expect more of this. Providence has every right to having these policies and I have every right to take my business elsewhere. I was afraid of this when I heard of this new arrangement. My PCP sometimes refers me to Swedish & I will be asking for referrals to Virginia Mason or UW -- but not Swedish because I support a woman's right to choose. Ms Tizon, I am very interested in hearing the more information you say there is to report. When will it be publicized?
Sprout, we announced more details this afternoon. We are working with Planned Parenthood to establish a clinic on First Hill to assure continued access to this service. Here is a link to the news release. http://www.swedish.org/About/Swedish-News/Swedish-is-Working-with-Planned-Parenthood-of-the-
Medicine should be governed by science and not religious and moral temperaments. It is disturbing to see Swedish embark on this route, in my opinion they fail to understand the most basic principle of what medicine is.Personally I will refrain from using their services.Perhaps Dr. Hochman will one day stand in front of a court that elected Sharia law and realize that certain institutions in society has an obligation not to bow to religious temperaments.
The contract with Planned Parenthood - how long are you committed? Can you quietly drop support for Planned Parenthood in a six months? A year? Furthermore, without seeing the details of the contract language, we have no way of knowing whether your funding of Planned Parenthood allows any of that money to go towards elective abortions. It could specifically exclude such services.
bluecellophane - We approached Planned Parenthood because we were looking for a sustainable solution. We believe the new clinic near our hospital will help preserve access for the long term and will be a valuable resource for our patients and women int he community for many years to come. Our monetary support of the new clinic does not exclude elective abortions. - Melissa
Thankfully Seattle has a wealth of high-quality hospitals, because I and my family will be avoiding Swedish after this decision. High quality reproductive care for all women, without religious gags, is not a minor issue or a bargaining chip, it is an essential.
Swedish has looked down on other hospital systems in the Seattle area for years. Not it finds itself without money and in need of a bailout. It won't be long before Providence puts a cross on the building.
I too will be avoiding Swedish because of this decision. It is unfortuante since I have had two children at your facility and do think your Dr. are very good. My 7 family members and I will be bringing our business elsewhere, good thing I have other choices. I don't care if Planned Parenthood is on the premise. How dare you put in peril the reproductive healthcare of women by relegating a solution to a difficult choice to another organization. Next it will be the alleyway.
Alex - In response to your comment, I want to mention that health care is facing some serious new realities given the economy, health-care reform and other industry pressures. To address the health-care crisis, we can no longer rely on the same solutions. We need to think differently. In the future, we will need to collaborate with other providers to meet the health-care needs of the region and that's what this affiliation with Providence is all about. It's about looking ahead and taking steps today to make sure everyone in our region has access to high quality health care for years to come. - Melissa
I have to agree the comments above. While it's you're perogative to curtail health services for women. I find it disturbing and wrong. I'll be taking my buisness elsewhere. And my wife, who was considering employment at Swedish, is now looking elsewhere.
Disappointed - Wanted to make sure you have accurate information about what we are proposing at Swedish. We will continue perform abortions on an emergency basis in our hospitals. For non-emergent cases, a new Planned Parenthood is opening on our campus. It will be just a skybridge away from our main hospital and members of our medical staff will be able to perform procedures there if their patients are in need of this service. Swedish will also continue to offer the full range of birth control services in our facilities. To learn more, please view our Q&A on this topic. http://www.swedish.org/About/Swedish-News/Q-A-on-Reproductive-and-End-of-Life-Issues We hope we can continue to serve you and earn your trust in the future and hope your wife will still consider us as a place to work. Thank you for your comments. - Melissa
I worked at Swedish for forty years as an anesthesiologist. You are not Swedish anymore.
You guys... Are little narrowminded to blame an institution for just one thing that you guys don't like... They offer so much more . I support women choice but that doesn't mean because they adopted another hospital policy changed the people, the service, the quality of care OVERALL. U guys seemed to be misled. If u need an abortion go to somewhere that supports that but if u been going to Swedish and been happy with them for all other care that you received ... How does that changes anything? I'm a little disgusted how this changes people. I really don't understand u people who criticized on one aspect of a sector (abortion) and then generalize it in all sectors (orthopedic, caricature surgery, emergency medicine etc). You may ask me where are you criticing other services in Swedish . Well u abstain from Swedish overall just because of one denominator. And just for the record, I work at providence and I support women right. And I'll gladly go to Swedish on the basis of quality care that they provide not beca...