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SEATTLE – (Jan. 21, 2016) — Physicians must play a deliberate role in shaping the future of health care organizations, declares an article about the importance of physician leadership co-authored by Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD.

“Today, hospitals and physicians are reorganizing themselves in novel ways to take advantage of payment incentives that reward shared accountability for the total health care experience,” states the article for Healthcare: The Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation. “These delivery system changes will take place with or without physician leadership. To optimize change on behalf of patients, physicians must play a conscious role in shaping future health care delivery organizations.”

The article, initially published in 2014, is part of the 2016 Physicians Leadership Series sponsored by the Council of Accountable Physician Practices, an affiliate of the American Medical Group Foundation.

“Today, the tides of change are pushing the health care system toward ever greater shared accountability among physicians, hospitals and payers,” the article states. “Whether that change will ultimately benefit patients — or simply become an exercise in rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic — will depend, in large part, on the skill of those who are leading the movement.”

Dr. Kaplan and his two co-authors concludes that physicians — working in solid partnership with skilled administrators — are essential to ensuring that inevitable change in health care benefits patients, quality and safety.

“Among all providers, physicians have a disproportionate impact on the health care system and therefore have a disproportionate responsibility and opportunity to lead change,” they write.

Dr. Kaplan practices internal medicine at Virginia Mason, in addition to having served as chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason Health System since 2000.

About Virginia Mason
Virginia Mason, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit regional health care system based in Seattle that serves the Pacific Northwest. In the Puget Sound region, the system includes 336-bed Virginia Mason Hospital; a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 480 physicians; regional medical centers in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; Bailey-Boushay House, the first skilled-nursing and outpatient chronic care management program in the U.S. designed and built specifically to meet the needs of people with HIV/AIDS; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others from around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management methodology for continually improving quality, safety and efficiency. Virginia Mason online:

Virginia Mason also includes Yakima-based Memorial Family of Services and Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital, a 226-bed facility serving the Yakima Valley in Central Washington since 1950. Memorial Family of Services comprises primary care practices and specialty care services, including high quality cardiac care, a continuum of cancer care, hospice care, and advanced services for children with special health care needs. Memorial online:

Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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