2 Wash. hospital systems to combine forces

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SEATTLE (AP) — Two of Western Washington’s largest hospital systems have announced a plan to create a new nonprofit entity to operate an even larger health care system in the state.

Leaders of Swedish Health Services and Providence Health & Services described their “innovative affiliation” Wednesday as one driven by economic necessity. They stressed that the move is not a merger or acquisition.

The Seattle Times reports (http://bit.ly/nhC3su) that Swedish Health Services operates five hospitals in King, Snohomish and Kittitas counties. Also included in the new entity would be Providence Health & Services operations in King, Snohomish, Thurston and Lewis counties. In those counties, Providence operates three hospitals and 21 senior and community-service programs.

The planned affiliation will undergo regulatory review.

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Information from: The Seattle Times, http://www.seattletimes.com