PeaceHealth and UW Medicine agree to affiliate

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Vancouver-based PeaceHealth, which operates four medical centers in Washington and five in Oregon and Alaska, will form an alliance with academic hospital system University of Washington Medicine, the organizations announced today.

The two nonprofits have signed a letter of intent toward a Sept. 30 agreement to further define the venture, according to a written statement. It said the organizations will remain legally separate with independent governance.

PeaceHealth Chief Strategy Officer Peter Adler called the affiliation "an opportunity to improve care delivery and respond to the changes needed to implement health care reform successfully." He said both organizations are committed to training health care professionals and expanding UW School of Medicine training sites in Washington and Alaska.

The alliance has raised concerns, according to the Seattle Times, which reported some oppose the Catholic church-related health care organization's alignment with a taxpayer-funded organization like UW Medicine.

PeaceHealth's hospitals are in Vancouver, Longview, Friday Harbor and Bellingham, along with four hospitals in Oregon and one in Alaska. Oct. 1 marks the end of PeaceHealth's contract to provide hospital services for Clark County patients insured by Kaiser Permanente Northwest, which has signed an agreement with Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center for hospital services.