Kadlec announces affiliation with Providence Health and Services

KADLEC HEALTH SYSTEM NEWS RELEASE -- Kadlec Health System and Providence Health & Services today jointly announced they have signed final definitive agreement to form an affiliation. The secular (non-religious) affiliation will bring together two highly respected not-for-profit health care systems driven by their strong missions to serve all members of their communities, especially those who are poor and vulnerable. Through this affiliation, the organizations believe they can ensure the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities are better served through their collaboration and innovation.

"Kadlec has long recognized that its ability to meet the community's needs in the changing health care environment would require an affiliation with a system with the expertise and financial resources to keep up with the needs of the region. As we evaluated potential partners, Providence was clearly the best fit with its service-driven mission and efficient resources," said Rand Wortman, Kadlec Health System president and chief executive officer.

Kadlec will join Western HealthConnect, the secular (non-religious) organization formed to allow Providence to remain Catholic and secular affiliates to remain secular. This is the same model successfully used for the affiliation with Seattle-based Swedish Health Services and Pacific Medical Centers, both non-religious organizations. Kadlec Regional Medical Center will remain a separate 501(c)3 organization.

Providence first brought health care to Washington in 1856 and continues to operate hospitals, clinics, skilled nursing facilities, home health and hospice services, and supportive housing throughout the Northwest.

"Providence has a rich history of providing vital health services in communities large and small throughout the Northwest and western United States," said Wortman. "As we began to talk, we discovered our missions are similar: to provide high quality, compassionate care to every patient we serve."

"Kadlec has been the centerpiece of health care services in the Tri-Cities area," said Rod Hochman, MD, president and CEO of Providence Health & Services. "We have tremendous respect for the work Kadlec has done to meet the expanding health needs of the region and increase access for all patients. We look forward to a partnership that will allow our organizations to preserve not-for-profit health care in our communities."

The affiliation will ultimately increase access to services and inpatient care at Kadlec and ensure it is able to meet the needs of the Tri-Cities and surrounding communities.

"The health care industry is facing unprecedented change. While Kadlec currently is in a strong, stable position, we recognize the current delivery and financing of health care is not sustainable, and significant pressures will be placed upon stand-alone hospitals and their clinicians to manage the health of entire populations," said Wortman. "We have a responsibility and a need to reduce the cost of health care. Our board of directors believes the best way to ensure a viable not-for-profit health care system for the region indefinitely into the future is to affiliate with a partner like Providence."

"Collaborating will help increase our capacity to serve this region, which is great news for our community," added Wortman.

Background on the proposed affiliation.

- To allow secular affiliates to remain secular and Providence to maintain its Catholic identity, a secular (non-religious) organization was created - legally referred to as Western HealthConnect. This is the same model successfully used for the affiliation with Swedish Health Services and Pacific Medical Centers, both non-religious organizations.

- This model will allow Kadlec to remain a separate 501(c)3 organization.

- Kadlec will remain secular (non-religious). Its physicians and staff will continue to follow their processes for ethical decision-making and will not be subject to the ethical and religious directives that apply to Catholic organizations.

There will be no change to reproductive health services and patients and will have the same access to care as they do today. Kadlec will not be a Catholic organization. It will continue to offer the same services, including contraceptives and sterilizations. Kadlec currently does not provide elective pregnancy terminations and that will not change. Physicians will continue to refer patients seeking those procedures to outside providers. In circumstances wherein a woman's life is in danger or there is an ectopic pregnancy, clinicians follow best practices of surgical and non-surgical treatment options.

Kadlec does not fill prescriptions for lethal medications and that will not change. Patients, families, nurses, physicians and any member of a care team are encouraged to explore fully all treatment options for terminally ill patients. As part of that discussion, a patient may request life-ending medication allowed under Washington law and the patient can be provided with a referral. Kadlec will continue to provide end-of-life care that addresses the physical, emotional and social needs of the patient and his or her family but will not participate in a patient's suicide.

- Both Providence and Kadlec serve all patients - from all walks of life - with high quality, compassionate care, regardless of beliefs, gender or gender identity, sexual orientation, marital status or any other circumstances; this will not change.

- Kadlec's current board of directors will become the Kadlec Regional Medical Center Community Board, which will share governance responsibility for Kadlec with Western HealthConnect.