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Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Brings World-Class Medical Expertise to Communities Across the Northwest

June 5, 2024

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Care Network

The VMFH Care Network expands access to clinical, educational, operational and research support to independent health systems, hospitals and providers

Today, Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH) launched the Virginia Mason Franciscan Health Care Network (Care Network), providing clinical, business, educational, operational, and research expertise to independent community hospitals and health systems across Washington state as well as Alaska, Idaho, Oregon and Montana. The membership program was created to help hospitals/health systems and larger provider organizations remain independent and marketplace competitive while also enhancing patient care in key communities across the Northwest.

“The launch of the Care Network is one of many steps we are taking to expand innovation and clinical excellence in the region, bringing high quality care closer to home,” noted Ketul Patel, Chief Executive Officer of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and President of CommonSpirit Health’s Northwest Region. “Our desire is to extend the reach of our world-renowned experts–across specialties and hospital operations, research, and more–to make a lasting impact in communities throughout Washington state and beyond.”

Rural hospitals continue to fill a critical gap in health care for the communities they serve while managing many challenges–from staffing to inflation–primarily on their own. According to the American Hospital Association, 71% of the hospital closures between 2017 - 2023 were among rural hospitals.

“Independent hospitals and other health care organizations shouldn’t have to tackle the current economic challenges of today while striving to advance patient care on their own,” noted Tom Kruse, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer for CommonSpirit Health’s Northwest Region & Virginia Mason Franciscan Health. “Our strategy is to help providers bridge that gap, creating a strong, networked community with world-class clinical collaboration so we can collectively support each other while also better serving those who depend on us for care.”

The Care Network includes options for independent health system and hospital affiliations and partnerships for non-hospital health care organizations looking to improve care delivery in VMFH’s broader regional communities. Affiliates and partners will not be owned or operated by VMFH but can leverage its wide range of resources. Additionally, VMFH will help organizations network with each other, encouraging the further sharing of knowledge and expertise. 

Key contracted services include telehealth and virtual care, peer-to-peer guidance, interim executive and leader placement, consulting expertise and mentoring, group purchasing, and more. Organizations that are a part of the Care Network will also have access to the VMFH Mission Control transfer center, clinical studies, and clinician development and education. 

The ultimate goal is to create a highly-aligned network of health care organizations committed to improving outcomes and care delivery in communities across the region, while partnering to ensure they have the strength and performance to be successful. Learn more about the Care Network.

About Virginia Mason Franciscan Health

Virginia Mason Franciscan Health (VMFH) is an integrated health system serving the Puget Sound region, including 10 hospitals and 300 care sites. Founded in 1891, VMFH embraces its long history of caring for the most vulnerable, especially the poor and underserved, and meeting the evolving health care needs of the vibrant, diverse communities it serves. VMFH is a proud home to the Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the United States designed specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS, and the Benaroya Research Institute, an internationally recognized institution for autoimmune disease research. VMFH is part of CommonSpirit, one of the nation’s largest health systems, dedicated to advancing health for all people.