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Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Gary S. Kaplan, MD
Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO

SEATTLE – (Sept. 17, 2018) — CHI Franciscan Health and Virginia Mason today announced their plan to open and operate a new obstetrics (OB) program offering inpatient birth and nursery services in Seattle’s First Hill neighborhood. The birth center, located in Virginia Mason’s Jones Pavilion, would bring together the expertise of two leading western Washington health care organizations to provide first-in-class birthing and nursery services. It is slated to open in 2020, pending approval by the Washington State Department of Health (DOH).

“Seattle continues to grow at an unprecedented rate and we’re committed to ensuring our communities have access to the highest quality care and services,” said Ketul J. Patel, CEO of Tacoma-based CHI Franciscan Health, part of Catholic Health Initiatives. “Partnering with Virginia Mason to open a new birth center will meet the growing need for obstetrics care that families deserve and expect.”

“Offering OB and nursery services is important for patients and prospective patients in our region who are looking for options about where to receive care,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan, MD, who emphasized that respecting each organization’s secular and faith-based aspects is a key part of the collaboration between CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason. “Providing OB services at Virginia Mason will not change our approach to care nor reduce in any way the services we provide.”

Seattle is the second-fastest growing city in the United States, due in large part to new residents moving to the area from other parts of the nation and world. The population of the central Puget Sound region, which includes Seattle, will increase by 1.8 million people by the year 2050, according to a recent report by the Puget Sound Regional Council. Concurrently, the birth rate for Seattle and King County has been trending upward for several years. In 2016, for example, a total of 30,953 births occurred in King County, up from 29,918 in 2010.

CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason’s OB program will ensure the youngest new residents are welcomed safely. The model of collaborative care would feature providers, certified midwives and other expert staff from CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason.

The planned OB unit would open with private birthing suites and a Level II Special Care Nursery to care for the most fragile newborns. The unit would be located on the 14th floor of the Floyd & Delores Jones Pavilion at Virginia Mason.

Last year, CHI Franciscan delivered nearly 9,000 babies in the Puget Sound region. The health system offers personalized birth plans that respect patient choices for childbirth, pain management, feeding methods, and more. CHI Franciscan’s childbirth preparation classes help develop birth plans and support other important decisions. Additional support includes a doula program at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, breastfeeding support with lactation consultants, and midwifery services. These services will also be available in the planned CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason OB unit.

“I am very excited about bringing OB services to Virginia Mason,” Dr. Kaplan said. “I firmly believe it will become one of the most significant milestones in our organization’s history.”

Virginia Mason has filed a letter of intent with the Washington State Department of Health that informs the agency of the plan. A certificate of need application will be submitted to the state in October.

About CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason’s Clinical Partnership and Strategic Affiliation
CHI Franciscan and Virginia Mason formalized their clinical partnership and strategic affiliation in March 2017. The two organizations remain distinct and separate but work together to expand care services in the region. Virginia Mason joined CHI Franciscan’s accountable care organization, Rainier Health Network, to connect patients with more than 3,000 providers available between the two organizations. The two also partner to deliver radiation oncology services at Highline Medical Center in Burien and St. Francis Hospital in Federal Way. It was recently announced that CHI Franciscan and CityMD will open a new urgent care center at the Virginia Mason Bainbridge Island Medical Center.

About Virginia Mason Health System
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 500 physicians; outpatient medical facilities and services in Seattle, Bainbridge Island, Bellevue, Edmonds, Federal Way, Kirkland, Issaquah and Lynnwood; 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; Benaroya Research Institute, which is internationally recognized for autoimmune disease research; Virginia Mason Foundation; and Virginia Mason Institute, which trains health care professionals and others around the world in the Virginia Mason Production System, an innovative management method for improving quality and safety.

Virginia Mason Health System also includes Virginia Mason Memorial, a 226-bed hospital serving Yakima Valley in central Washington since 1950. Virginia Mason Memorial includes primary care practices and specialty care services, including high-quality cardiac care; cancer care through North Star Lodge; breast health at `Ohana Mammography Center; acute hospice and respite care at Cottage in the Meadow; pain management at Water’s Edge; an advanced NICU unit that offers specialty care for at-risk infants; advanced services for children with special health care needs at Children’s Village; and The Memorial Foundation.
Media Contact:
Gale Robinette
Media Relations Manager
Virginia Mason Health System
(206) 341-1509

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