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Fortune 500 Companies Team with Virginia Mason Jan. 5-6
 
SEATTLE (Jan. 3, 2012) — When several large self-funded employers and a big insurance carrier in the Pacific Northwest sat down with Seattle's Virginia Mason Medical Center in 2004, they delivered some startling news. In spite of long-standing relationships and good outcomes, the cost of using the medical center's services and doctors was too high. If something didn't change, they would consider excluding Virginia Mason from their network of health care providers.
 
Rather than just slash the bill, Virginia Mason saw it as an opportunity to work with these employers to create something better. The result was a 7-step approach built on purchasing power, customer needs, evidence-based care and transparency. The entire relationship would be predicated on a new definition of quality as defined by the employers: better, faster and more affordable.
 
Focused on the most common employee complaints, such as lower back pain and common headache, these "Marketplace Collaboratives" have become a blueprint for improving quality as the pathway to lower costs and were recently detailed in the October 2011 issue of Health Affairs.
 
Now, CEOs and executives from some of the nation's largest companies will gather in New York City Jan. 5-6, to learn from the experience of Boeing, Intel and others to purchase better, faster care for their own employees and actually lower their total health spend.
 
"The secret to health care reform isn't legislation, it is transparency and collaboration," said Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO, Virginia Mason. "Employers should demand transparency from health care providers about the cost and quality of care, just like they do from every one of their vendors. Health care providers should focus on delivering what is important to their customers. This summit will give CEOs realistic, pragmatic and straightforward advice on how to apply value-based purchasing in their market places today."
 
The CEO Summit will take place at the Waldorf Astoria from 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 5, and from 7:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 6. Complete information, including the full agenda and a list of presenters and their biographies, can be found by clicking here.
 
Media coverage is welcome. If you are interested in covering the CEO Summit or speaking with any of the presenters, please contact John Gillespie, Virginia Mason Media Relations, at (206) 341-1509 (office), (206) 402-2822 (mobile) or by email at john.gillespie@vmmc.org.
 
About Virginia Mason Medical Center
Virginia Mason Medical Center, founded in 1920, is a nonprofit comprehensive regional health care system in Seattle that combines a primary and specialty care group practice of more than 440 physicians with a 336-bed acute-care hospital. Virginia Mason operates a network of clinics throughout the Puget Sound area, and Bailey-Boushay House, a skilled-nursing facility and chronic care management program for people with HIV/AIDS. The medical center is affiliated with Benaroya Research Institute at Virginia Mason, internationally recognized in autoimmune disease research. Virginia Mason is known for applying manufacturing principles to health care to improve quality and patient safety. For more information, visit Facebook.com/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.
 
For media inquiries, contact:
 
John Gillespie
(206) 341-1509 (office)
(206) 402-2822 (mobile)
john.gillespie@vmmc.org

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