Virginia Mason Health System is joining Rainier Health Network, CHI Franciscan’s clinically integrated network of health care providers in the greater Puget Sound region. 

The two entities recently signed a letter of intent to create a clinical partnership and strategic affiliation, while remaining separate organizations.

Adding Seattle-based Virginia Mason to the accountable care organization is a strategic affiliation for Tacoma-based CHI Franciscan Health that will expand its footprint into the core King County population center.

“Through our clinical partnership and strategic affiliation, we will continue to find innovative ways to provide the highest quality, affordable care as CHI Franciscan Health grows throughout the Puget Sound,” said Ketul J. Patel,  chief executive officer.

Rainier Health Network is a group of hospitals and CHI-employed physicians and providers that work together to offer care and consists of approximately 2,250 physicians and providers; with the addition of Virginia Mason that number will grow to more than 3,000. Additionally, the expanded network will cover more than 160,000 patients in western Washington, including Highline and Kitsap County.