WHS partners with three other health systems on care initiative

Washington Health System announced Monday afternoon that it and three other independent, nonprofit health systems in the region have formed a partnership called Bridges Health Partners.

WHS has joined forces with St. Clair Hospital, Butler Health System and Excela Health System to establish a clinically integrated network that, according to a news release, intends to provide a better quality of patient care at a lower cost.

The partnership, according to the release, “is a strategic response to health-care reform and transition of reimbursement models by federal, state and managed care payers, which encourage health-care providers to maintain patients’ overall good health.

“Bridges Health Partners is a physician-governed network of aligned community providers focused on patient experience, efficiency, quality and outcomes improvement. This effort supports moving away from individual, fee-for-service medicine, believed to be a contributing factor in rising health-care costs.”

Charles R. Vargo, interim executive director, said in the release: “How health care is organized, delivered and reimbursed is transforming toward population health management, which is why we are excited to launch Bridges Health Partners. Population health management means that primary-care physicians, specialists, community providers and hospital services familiar with a patient’s unique needs work together to improve his or her health over a lifetime.”

Bridges Health Partners is set up to serve individuals at outpatient, inpatient and community-based locations in 13 counties: Washington, Greene, Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Fayette, Indiana, Lawrence, Mercer, Venango and Westmoreland.