MYNORTHWEST NEWS

CHI Franciscan, Seattle-based Virginia Mason merge to run 11 hospitals together

Jan 6, 2021, 5:06 AM | Updated: 6:20 am

health care, life expectancy, new health insurance law, Virginia Mason...

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

(AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

Tacoma-based CHI Franciscan, a Catholic nonprofit, and Seattle-based Virginia Mason announced they are merging to form Virginia Mason Franciscan Health.

Together, the new partnership will run 11 hospitals in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, along with nearly 300 clinics and other care centers.

In a press release, the newly-formed group stated that patients would remain with their same care providers and same insurance plans.

The announcement last summer that Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan were contemplating merger has drawn concern from groups like the ACLU, which told KIRO Radio it feared that CHI’s religious affiliation would put a stop to certain health services.

ACLU concerned by Virginia Mason, CHI Franciscan merger plan

“Time and time again, we see in Washington state, when these mergers between religiously affiliated entities occur with secular organizations, the secular entity normally stops providing certain reproductive and end-of-life care,” said Leah Rutman, Health Care and Liberty Counsel with the ACLU of Washington. “And there may also be prohibitions on LGBTQ-related care.”

CHI told KIRO Radio that facilities run by the merged group will not offer abortions or physician-assisted suicide, both of which are considered contrary to Catholic teaching.

However, they did note that doctors would help patients to access those services elsewhere.

“Physicians should continue to exercise their professional judgment with patients and discuss all treatment options,” CHI said in an email. “If a patient seeks services the organization does not offer, we will ensure processes are in place for patients to seamlessly and easily access those services in our community.

The group added that all other women’s health services offered by Virginia Mason would remain in place — including medically-necessary abortions in which the mother’s life is at risk, and access to birth control. Additionally, all LGBTQ care offered currently at Virginia Mason will still be available.

The email also noted that Virginia Mason “conducted a very limited number of direct elective pregnancy terminations and did not conduct physician-assisted death at its hospital.”

Last fall Yakima Memorial Hospital cut ties with Virginia Mason, just a few months after the potential merger was first announced. The merger would have meant that, according to the ACLU, more than 70 percent of hospital beds in Yakima were in religious-affiliated organizations.

MyNorthwest News

Image: A Renton Police Department vehicle...

Julia Dallas

Teen turns himself in after deadly Renton shooting

Renton police were sent to reports of a shooting after a 16-year-old man called in saying he shot someone.

8 hours ago

Photo: Israeli Iron Dome air defense system launches to intercept missiles fired from Iran, in cent...

Tia Goldenberg and Josef Federman, The Associated Press

Israel is quiet on next steps against Iran — and on which partners helped shoot down missiles

On Sunday, Israel's leaders credited an international military coalition with helping thwart a direct attack from Iran.

10 hours ago

Photo: The Gorge Amphitheater campgrounds....

Julia Dallas

Families of Gorge shooting victims suing festival organizers

A lawsuit against Live Nation alleges the entertainment company did not enforce measures to prevent the Gorge shooting.

14 hours ago

Camas, Washington. (Photo: Money.com)...

Bill Kaczaraba

From mill town to top-ranked living destination: Washington city stands out

Once a mill town, Camas, Washington, has earned accolades as one of the premier places to reside in the United States.

15 hours ago

Photo: At 6:39 a.m., Eastside Fire crews extinguished most of the fire at a Snoqualmie business....

Julia Dallas

Crews put out fire that engulfs Snoqualmie business

The flames took over a business in the 8100 block of Railroad Avenue Southeast in Snoqualmie Sunday morning.

17 hours ago

Costco vs. Boeing...

Bill Kaczaraba

A study in contrasts: Costco vs. Boeing

In the state of Washington, two corporate giants stand out: Costco and Boeing. A recent poll conducted by Portland-based DMH Research sheds light on how we perceive these companies and other major players like Amazon, Starbucks, and Microsoft. The study, obtained by MyNorthwest, polled 500 adults across the region. The poll measured residents’ “perceptions of […]

1 day ago

CHI Franciscan, Seattle-based Virginia Mason merge to run 11 hospitals together