BELLINGHAM - PeaceHealth, the health care system that includes St. Joseph hospital, plans to combine with another Catholic health organization, the hospital announced Friday, Aug. 17.
PeaceHealth, based in Vancouver, Wash., signed a letter with Catholic Health Initiatives of Englewood, Colo., agreeing to become "equal partners," the hospital's statement said. Catholic Health Initiatives would combine its seven Washington and Oregon hospitals with PeaceHealth's nine hospitals in those two states and Alaska.
PeaceHealth's ninth hospital, in Friday Harbor, will open later this year. Catholic Health Initiatives operates the Tacoma-based Franciscan Health System, with five hospitals.
By joining forces, the two systems hope to improve health care access and create a more financially secure organization, the statement said. The new system should be in place by June 2013.
Reach RALPH SCHWARTZ at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 360-715-2266.