Search Virginia Mason News

SEATTLE – (March 22, 2016) – Virginia Mason Hospital and Seattle Medical Center has been designated as the Center of Excellence for total joint replacement surgery by the Washington Health Care Authority (HCA) as part of the state agency’s continuing efforts to pay for value instead of volume.

Virginia Mason, with a total joint replacement program rated among the best in the nation, was the only medical center in the state selected.

Beginning in January 2017, individuals enrolled in the Public Employee Benefits Board (PEBB) Program Uniform Medical Plan will be able to choose Virginia Mason for knee and hip replacement. HCA is also reviewing options to create an incentive, such as no deductibles or co-insurance, for PEBB enrollees to choose Virginia Mason. Total joint replacement is historically one of the costliest and most variably priced medical procedures in the nation.

“We are delighted to have been chosen by the Health Care Authority as the Center of Excellence for this important program,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD. “At Virginia Mason, we are committed to providing high-quality, appropriate care at a predictable cost.”

“Our teams are renowned for their expertise and success at helping to improve our patients’ quality of life,” added Lyle Sorensen, MD, chief of orthopedic surgery at Virginia Mason.

In the Center of Excellence model:

  • Virginia Mason uses evidence-based best practices as recommended by the Bree Collaborative, a state program that seeks ways to improve health care quality, outcomes and affordability.
  • Virginia Mason assumes financial risk for preventable surgical complications and infections.
  • Virginia Mason’s clinical team coordinates patient care and encourages shared decision-making with the patient.
  • HCA reimburses in what is called a “bundled payment,” one sum for the entire range of care, including diagnosis, surgery and rehabilitation.

“This is another big step in our state’s move toward value-based purchasing,” said HCA Chief Medical Officer Dan Lessler, MD. “Total joint replacements can improve quality of life for our PEBB program members, but this procedure also has potential for serious complications and poor outcomes. We are focused on expecting high-quality, evidence-based care for our members, not just paying for services.”

HCA chose Virginia Mason following a competitive bidding process that included a requirement for demonstrating high-quality outcomes.

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

Back to Search