The Washington state Department of Health has approved an application for a special-care nursing certificate submitted jointly by CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason, which paves the way for the two health care systems to open a new birth center in Seattle.
The planned 20,000-square-foot Virginia Mason Birth Center, to be located on level 16 of Virginia Mason Hospital & Seattle Medical Center’s Floyd & Delores Jones Pavilion, will feature private labor, delivery and recovery rooms; personalized birth plans, a Level II Special Care nursery dedicated to newborns needing intensive care; and childbirth preparation classes.
“The nursery approval represents a major milestone in our partnership and our women’s health offerings to the greater Seattle community," says Virginia Mason Chairman and chief executive officer Gary S. Kaplan, M.D. “We look forward to the work ahead to begin providing a comprehensive set of perinatal services with CHI Franciscan in Seattle next year."
The jointly operated CHI Franciscan/Virginia Mason program is part of a larger pattern of affiliations across the health care landscape. “In a study we did on health care M&A last year, 79 percent of dealmakers said they planned to pursue joint ventures or alliances over pure mergers and acquisitions in the following 12 to 18 months,” said Dan Howell of health care consultancy West Monroe Partners in an interview for a recent Seattle Business magazine feature focused on the consolidation trend in the health care industry. “Joint ventures and alliances allow for both growth and control of referral patterns without all of the integration headaches.”
The joint CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason obstetrics program will utilize physicians; nurses, including certified nurse midwives; and staff from both health systems to provide personalized care to mothers and their newborns. In addition to the new birth center slated to open next summer, the partnership also involves development of a joint outpatient obstetrics and women’s health clinic that is scheduled to open early next year on level eight of Virginia Mason’s Lindeman Pavilion.
“Expanding access to premier women’s and children’s services in Seattle will create more quality care options for families in our communities,” says Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan. "We are proud to be opening the new birth center with Virginia Mason. This is another exciting step for CHI Franciscan as we further expand our clinical expertise throughout the greater Seattle region."
CHI Franciscan is a nonprofit health care system based in Tacoma that employs more than 12,000 at 11 acute-care hospitals and more than 200 clinics in Washington, most located in the Seattle area. Virginia Mason is a regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest through its 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle and Virginia Mason Memorial in Yakima; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 500 physicians; and outpatient medical facilities and services across eight communities in the greater Seattle area.