UW News

December 28, 1999

UW Academic Medical Center affiliates with First Choice Health Network

The University of Washington Academic Medical Center has signed a participation agreement with First Choice Health Network, Inc., which promises to significantly improve access to health care for thousands of Washington residents.

More than one million First Choice Health members — roughly one of every six citizens in the state — will now have access to health care through the UW’s network of primary-care neighborhood clinics, as well as through Harborview Medical Center and UW Medical Center.

“The public has told us that they want greater access to our hospitals and clinics,” said Dr. John B. Coombs, UW associate vice president for clinical systems and networks and associate dean of the School of Medicine. “By being part of First Choice Health Network, we are ensuring that the public will have increased access to the high-quality services provided by UW Physicians.”

“Adding these premier teaching hospitals and research system to our growing network of health care providers continues the development of our multiple-choice health care options for our members,” said First Choice Health President and CEO Gary Gannaway. “We’re thrilled to affiliate with an organization that also shares our mutual commitment to public service to the statewide community.”

The participation agreement is effective Jan. 1. It is structurally similar to agreements with other public entities that participate in First Choice, including Stevens Memorial Hospital, Evergreen Hospital and Valley Medical Center.

The UW Academic Medical Center includes the UW School of Medicine, Harborview Medical Center, UW Medical Center, and UW Physicians’ neighborhood clinics. All units are committed to improving the health of the public by advancing medical knowledge, providing outstanding primary and specialty medical care to citizens of the region, and preparing tomorrow’s physicians, scientists and other health professionals.

First Choice Health Network, Inc. is the largest and fastest growing preferred provider organization (PPO) in Washington state. First Choice Health is owned by doctors and hospitals located throughout Washington state, all of whom help implement the company’s mission of patient-centered health care.