SEATTLE — Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc.'s pending acquisition of Seattle's Group Health Cooperative drew one step closer to reality today with final approval by Washington State Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler. The approval was the last major hurdle before Kaiser Permanente extends its integrated model of care and coverage in the state of Washington.
The Commissioner’s approval clears the way for both organizations to take the remaining actions necessary to close the transaction on Feb. 1, 2017. Upon close, Group Health, with its more than 650,000 members, will become a part of Kaiser Permanente.
"We are pleased about the approval of our acquisition of Group Health Cooperative," said Bernard J. Tyson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Permanente. "We are proud and honored to be soon caring for and covering the health needs of the wonderful people and their communities in the State of Washington. We are bringing Kaiser Permanente's commitment and resources to a respected, mission-driven institution to deliver 21st century health and health care."
Kaiser Permanente, one of the nation’s leading integrated health care organizations, has committed to invest in the facilities, technology, workforce and member experience to ensure the best possible health care and coverage for the people and communities in Washington. At closing, Kaiser Permanente will also transfer approximately $1.8 billion to a newly-established not-for-profit community foundation — Group Health Community Foundation. This organization will be independent of Kaiser Permanente, but Group Health’s legacy of caring, innovation, excellence, equity and inclusion will live on in this new foundation.
“We are honored by the Commissioner’s approval and excited to build upon Group Health’s strong legacy by serving the families and communities of Washington with high-quality and affordable health care,” said Susan Mullaney, president designate, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan of Washington. “Our members can look forward to investments in the clinics, technology and people that deliver the care and services which translate to better health.”
In December of 2015, Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. and Group Health Cooperative announced that a definitive agreement had been signed. Group Health then held a series of town hall meetings and discussions throughout the State of Washington regarding the proposed acquisition, engaging Group Health members as well as other individuals in the community.
“Today marks the culmination of thousands of hours of consideration, analysis and discussion amongst the Group Health Board of Directors, our leadership team, our members throughout the state and now ultimately, the tireless work of the Commissioner’s office. This work is in service to ensuring the best for our members and our communities as a whole,” said Scott Armstrong, president and chief executive officer of Group Health Cooperative. “Consumers in our state will be even better served with the strength, talent and resources of what will soon become Kaiser Permanente of Washington.”
The review and approval process has included the voting membership of Group Health overwhelmingly voting to approve a resolution supporting the acquisition of Group Health by Kaiser Permanente. The Commissioner’s office conducted a thorough review of the proposed transaction, and held several public town hall meetings across the State of Washington and a formal public hearing earlier this month. Federal and other state regulators also evaluated and approved the proposed transaction.
Group Health Cooperative offers a unique health care system, care delivery and insurance coverage, in order to achieve one goal — affordable, quality health care for all. Our innovative practices at 25 medical centers and within major Washington hospitals have earned national recognition for medical quality, disease prevention, and evidence-based treatments. These priorities have remained the same since we began serving patients in 1947. As a nonprofit organization, Group Health helps more than 650,000 patients throughout Washington State achieve better health. Our focus on preventive care, combined with medical education and a nationally recognized research institute, advances health in the community. Group Health supports events, programs, and organizations that share this commitment to strengthening health in our communities. For more information about Group Health, visit www.ghc.org.
Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America’s leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, Kaiser Permanente has a mission to provide high-quality, affordable health care services and to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve more than 10.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the-art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health.