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SPOKANE'S EMPIRE HEALTH BECOMES FIRST CHOICE PARTNER

       SPOKANE'S EMPIRE HEALTH BECOMES FIRST CHOICE PARTNER
    SEATTLE, Nov. 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Empire Health Services Inc. of Spokane has become an owner and partner in First Choice Health Network Inc. of Washington state.  The agreement was announced today by Clayton Field, president of Seattle-based First Choice.
    "We are immensely pleased to have Empire as a shareholder in our network of preferred providers and members," Field said.  "After nearly a year's study, we all recognize the value and impact of Empire's participation in First Choice's network.  In light of today's increasing demands for quality health care services and in order to succeed in today's competitive environment, it is particularly important that a hospital be an active part of a full-service health care system."
    Empire owns three hospitals in the Spokane area.  They are Deaconess Medical Center, St. Luke's Memorial Hospital and Valley Hospital Medical Center.  Empire also provides health care services to most of Eastern Washington through its three member hospitals.
    Tom White, president of Empire Health Services, today said, "We are pleased to be able to participate as a full partner in the First Choice Health Network.  Our membership in First Choice offers an important option to employers in Eastern Washington as they consider the insurance needs of their employees.  People who live in Spokane will continue to have the choice of getting their health care at any of our three Empire member hospitals, Deaconess, St. Luke's Memorial or Valley Hospital."
    First Choice Health Network Inc. is the fastest-growing and third- largest preferred provider organization (PPO) in the state of Washington.  Governed by an independent board of directors, First Choice was formed in 1984 by six hospitals and about 700 physicians. It now is a professionally managed network of 48 hospitals and more than 3,000 doctors or other health providers.  First Choice offers high-quality health care benefits to 230,000 people working at about 4,000 companies throughout Washington state.
    -0-          11/19/91
    /CONTACT: Clayton Field of First Choice Health Network, 206-292-8255; or Tom White of Empire Health Services Inc., 509-458-5800/ CO:  First Choice Health Network; Empire Health Services ST:  Washington IN:  HEA SU: JH-LM -- SE003 -- 4985 11/19/91 13:29 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Nov 19, 1991
Words:364
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