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Kaiser Permanente to acquire Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative, add Washington footprint

Kaiser will use the $1.8 billion in proceeds from this deal to fund a Seattle-based nonprofit community foundation.

Beth Jones Sanborn, Managing Editor

Healthcare juggernaut Kaiser Permanente announced Friday they have inked a deal to acquire the Seattle-based Group Health Cooperative in a deal that will expand Kaiser's reach by roughly 509,000 members and add an entirely new region of coverage.

The nonprofit Group Health runs a health plan and several healthcare providers.

Once Group Health's regulators and voting membership officially signs off on the deal, Group Health will be fully integrated into Kaiser, and will run as their new eighth region, the Washington Region. The company said the region will be managed locally, and will enable Kaiser to serve communities along the West Coast from San Diego to Seattle, joining their other regions: Colorado, Georgia, Hawaii, Mid-Atlantic States (Virginia, Maryland, Washington, D.C.), Northern California, Northwest (Oregon, Southern Washington) and Southern California.

[Also: Kaiser Permanente, union avoid mental health workers strike, approve wage hikes]

"After an exhaustive process, we recognized that there was a unique opportunity to accelerate our growth and potential through a vastly deepened relationship with Kaiser Permanente by tapping into their exceptional resources, skills, track record and reach," said Scott Armstrong, president and CEO of Group Health Cooperative, in a statement. "Through this acquisition, we'll better be able to tackle rising healthcare costs and implement even more powerful technologies to serve our members."

Added to Kaiser's already-extensive network will be 25 primary care clinics, 1,000 physicians, 6,900 employees as well as several urgent care and outpatient surgery centers. Kaiser will now serve all of Washington State as well as two counties in Idaho, and said they will use the $1.8 billion in proceeds from this deal to fund a Seattle-based nonprofit community foundation dedicated to community health.

Kaiser says consumers should expect no immediate changes to the coverage and care provided by both companies. 

Twitter: @BethJSanborn