Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson


Seattle - July 19, 2000 - The Washington state Attorney General’s office has completed its review of the proposed sale and merger agreement between Providence Health Systems and Swedish Health Services and will not oppose the plan. The Attorney General's approval of the plan came after the parties agreed to certain modifications in their agreement to ensure continued competition between the two entities.

"Our review indicates health care consumers will not be harmed by this plan," Washington Attorney General Christine Gregoire said. "There are still numerous hospitals operating in the region, and health care consumers in the Puget Sound area will continue to have the same level of medical services they’ve become accustomed to," she said.

The two health care institutions announced the proposed sale/merger plan last March. Under its terms, Swedish will purchase nearly all of Providence’s Seattle-based assets, including Providence Seattle Medical Center and its clinical group; Swedish and Providence

will form a third company, which will provide administrative, financial and information technology services to the two health care providers; and Providence and Swedish will form a "strategic alliance" in which they will seek to form joint ventures to pursue new business opportunities as they arise.

The Attorney General’s Antitrust Division enforces state and federal laws designed to protect consumers and business from anti-competitive practices that could result from monopolization, or mergers which may substantially lessen competition.

The division’s investigation, which has been underway since March, involved the review of hundreds of pages of documents as well as interviews with more than a dozen interested entities involved in the the healthcare marketplace. The division also received input from more than 50 individuals who expressed views on the proposal.