The deal is reminiscent of Providence's 2012 acquisition of Swedish Health Services. Providence, a Catholic system, will fold PacMed into its secular Western HealthConnect division. That structure will allow PacMed to retain its secular identity.
In that way, PacMed physicians won't be bound to follow the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Healthcare Services, and can still prescribe contraceptives, perform sterilizations and consult on end-of-life decisions under Washington state's Death With Dignity Act, according to a news release.
PacMed does not currently perform elective abortions or administer lethal medications for assisted suicide.
The medical group had been in discussions with potential partners for more than a year before deciding to join Providence. “On our own, Pacific Medical Center is not large enough to drive changes in how healthcare is delivered,” said Harvey Smith, the group's president and CEO.
Mike Butler, Providence's president of operations and services, said the Renton, Wash.-based system was drawn to PacMed because of its high quality, affordable and coordinated care model. “We want to preserve not-for-profit healthcare in our communities,” he said.
The deal requires approval from the Pacific Hospital Preservation & Development Authority, which will transfer its membership in PacMed to Western HealthConnect.
Correction: This story has been updated to correct the type of arrangement that Providence and Pacific are pursuing.
Follow Beth Kutscher on Twitter: @bkutscher/a>