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National Group Aims to Implement Change to Improve Quality and Lower Costs

SEATTLE - (May 26, 2011) — Virginia Mason Medical Center has joined the High Value Healthcare Collaborative (HVHC) founded in December by Mayo Clinic, Denver Health, Intermountain Healthcare, Dartmouth-Hitchcock, Cleveland Clinic, and The Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The collaborative was formed to improve health care, lower costs, and move best practices out to the national provider community. In addition to Virginia Mason, seven other major health systems will join the collaborative.

In signing on, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Baylor Health Care System, Beaumont Hospitals, MaineHealth, Scott & White Health Care, Sutter Health, UCLA Health System and University of Iowa Health Care demonstrate their commitment to the collaborative process, which includes sharing care pathways, costs and outcomes data with their partners and the public as they adopt best practices and new, expanded standards of measurement.

Gary S. Kaplan, MD, chairman and CEO of Virginia Mason, says the opportunity to collaborate with these leading medical institutions is a logical and valuable step in Virginia Mason's journey to become a major part of the effort to transform health care in the United States. "We have been working less formally with many of these organizations for years," says Kaplan. "But the collaborative will help us establish close working bonds and spread best practices throughout the country."

Dr. James N. Weinstein, director of TDI and president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, says, "We believe that physicians and health care leaders are in a key position to implement meaningful change that makes care safer, more efficient, more effective and more attuned to each patient's needs and preferences. At the same time, based on our research and individual experience, we know that by doing this we actually lower costs."

Virginia Mason and the other new partner members were selected by the founding collaborative group based on a nomination and review process. Criteria included having strong research and quality improvement processes, a robust health information technology (HIT) infrastructure, a commitment of personnel, operational and financial resources, and demonstrated experience in collaboration across institutions. They will be assimilated over the next several months to assure a smooth entry into participation in the focus areas of the collaborative.

Currently, the collaborative is working together in nine increasingly prevalent condition/disease-specific areas that have been shown to have wide variation in rates, costs and outcomes nationally. These are: total knee replacement, diabetes, asthma, hip surgery, heart failure, perinatal care, depression, spine surgery and weight loss surgery. Additional high variation, high cost conditions that affect diverse populations will be added over time.

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/VMcares or follow @VirginiaMason on Twitter.

For media inquiries, contact:
Michelle Peterson, (206) 583-6581

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