CHI Franciscan Health and Virginia Mason formalized their strategic affiliation today through the signing of a definitive agreement, making official a partnership first announced last November.

“Both of our organizations have a strategic focus to deliver unparalleled clinical quality, superior patient experiences and exceptional care,” said CHI Franciscan Health CEO Ketul J. Patel. “Together, we will leverage our mutual strengths and further develop our partnership to benefit communities throughout the Puget Sound.”

According to a joint statement, both organizations are continuing to explore “several opportunities where their collaboration will benefit communities throughout the Puget Sound.” That includes jointly offering new programs to new and existing markets in the Puget Sound Region.

The two have already began to collaborate, with Virginia Mason joined the CHI Franciscan accountable care organization last month. Called Rainier Health Network, it includes approximately 3,000 physicians and health care providers in King, Pierce and Kitsap, Snohomish, Skagit, Thurston and other counties.

 “I’m excited about this affiliation and what it means for Virginia Mason, CHI Franciscan and all the patients we will serve as we collaborate to provide the highest quality health care,” said Virginia Mason Chairman and CEO Gary S. Kaplan.