UW Medicine to take some PeaceHealth patients

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Seattle — UW Medicine has inked its affiliation with PeaceHealth, making the public-hospital system the primary referral for patients needing complex care beyond what PeaceHealth can provide.

While the not-for-profit, Catholic health-care system will send its patients to taxpayer-funded UW Medicine facilities for tertiary and quaternary care, the two won't share ownership or policies, officials said Friday.

Tertiary and quaternary care are categories of more complex treatment beyond what most physicians and clinics offer -- skin-cell transfer or treatment of pelvic fractures requiring difficult surgery, for example.

PeaceHealth is based in Clark County. The organization has nine hospitals and physician groups in Alaska, Washington and Oregon, as well as a Medicaid health plan called Columbia United Providers.

The deal doesn't lock PeaceHealth patients into going to UW Medicine hospitals for complex care if they want to go elsewhere; it just makes UW the first referral.