To expand their not-for-profit plans while preserving the plans' independence, Kaiser Permanente and Group Health Cooperative of Puget Sound will join forces as Kaiser/Group Health in a mergerlike partnership.
Last week, Group Health's 64,400 voting members approved the arrangement by a vote of 10,813 to 2,701.
The affiliation, which boosts Kaiser's Northwest division to more than a million enrollees, is a model Kaiser wants to duplicate across the country.
A new not-for-profit company will oversee Group Health in Seattle, Group Health Northwest in Spokane, and Kaiser Permanente Northwest, based in Portland. Each organization will retain its name, assets and operations, and Group Health will keep its consumer governance structure.
Phil Nudelman, president and chief executive officer of Group Health, will be president and chair the 11-member board of Kaiser/Group Health. He'll report to David Lawrence, M.D., chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.
The deal must be approved by the boards of Kaiser and Group Health and cleared by the Internal Revenue Service.
Kaiser/Group Health forces in Northwest
Enrollees: About 1.1 million
1996 revenues: $1.9 billion