Military Families in WA Soon Will Pay More for Non-Catholic Care

Recently Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) and Providence Health Services announced that they would affiliate.  Here’s a link to the PacMed/Providence spin on the deal.

PacMed, which operates nine medical clinics around the Puget Sound area, provides care for military members and their families under a contract with Tricare, a military insurance program run by the government.  

Tricare has different types of plans, but generally there are two main plans — Tricare PRIME and Tricare Standard.  Because we live in Washington State with such a large military presence, military members and their families in WA have access to enhanced medical services through Tricare PRIME, which is an HMO-type program.  With Tricare PRIME, as with most HMO type programs, your provider options are limited, but you can get 100% coverage without copays or deductibles.  The Tricare PRIME options are available in limited geographic areas.

Pacific Medical Centers provides these enhanced health care services in the Puget Sound area for active duty family members and retired servicemembers and their families. Active duty servicemembers are seen by military doctors on base.

You can learn more about Tricare PRIME here and here

Before news of the takeover of Pacific Medical Centers by Providence, if a military-connected family member or veteran needed a hospital or specialty care, Pacific Medical Centers contracted with Virginia Mason and would refer patients there.    

A retired military person might pay more for Tricare Standard so he or she can go directly to Virginia Mason for medical care rather than having to go to Pacific Medical first and get a referral.  But many retired military (especially enlisted and their family members) are not in a position to afford Tricare Standard and will instead elect Tricare PRIME and thus be limited to Pacific Medical Centers (and soon Providence) for their health care.  Which means that now, members who opt for Tricare PRIME will be limited to Providence for hospital or specialty care.

The bottom line is that with the Providence “affiliation” with Pacific Medical Centers, active duty family members and retired members and their families will have to pay more for specialty or hospital services if they want care that is unrestricted by religious doctrine.

It’s troubling enough that civilians would see health care options restricted because of the unchecked expansion of health care that is subject to religious oversight.  It’s an outrage that military families here in Washington should find their care options limited to providers of a specific faith tradition when they need hospitalization or specialty care.  When government and/or tax dollars are involved, patients have a right to be free of religious oversight and/or interference, and no one, especially our military families, should ever have to pay a financial penalty for choosing a nonreligious provider.

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6 thoughts on “Military Families in WA Soon Will Pay More for Non-Catholic Care

  1. Karl

    From your link – SEATTLE – “a secular affiliation”
    Today Pacific Medical Centers (PacMed) announced its intention to enter a secular affiliation with Providence Health & Services. This affiliation brings together PacMed’s successful model of delivering high quality coordinated care at an affordable cost and Providence’s history of delivering compassionate, quality care across the Northwest. The goal of the affiliation is to reduce the cost of health care for patients, employers and government insurers, while improving health outcomes for patients.

    1. catholicwatcher Post author

      It’s not “my” link. It’s a link to the spin – that’s how PacMed/Providence is positioning it, but what it actually does is limit the care PRIME members can get for specialty and hospital care to Providence, which proudly proclaims that it follows the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care.

  2. KAC

    Under the guise of “improving health care delivery” (which may be accurate but it’s also intentionally misleading), the march of “consolidation” resulting in monopolies has become a fixture of 21st century American commerce. Of course, given that this is healthcare, a dusting of altruism and a veneer of enhanced consumer/patient/customer “choice” are requisites. Nonetheless, this process is especially insidious and dire in the case of theocratic health care.

    Now that the tentacles of Providence have ensnared recipients of yet another civil government program, perhaps this might catalyze a general investigation of the effects of this shift of emphasis (from data-driven and scientifically supported healthcare to the theocratically modified version) and the ramifications of this change on patient health and practitioner liability. I’d also give the obligatory nod to the mixing of church and state here, but that’s essentially a lost cause in this case.

  3. Sherman Hu

    Dear Editor,

    Your recent posting on “new moral” and “military families” have been eye-opening and further validated the desperate intent/action, which religious healthcare organizations fight against the new healthcare law, and desperately trying to preserve its territory.

    What we learned that new healthcare law is going to wipe out the religious theory in healthcare system replacing with sciences.

    How backward the religious healthcare organizations! Do we need to have bible manage our health. What a joke!

    As a member of American Civil Liberty Union (ACLU), I am, and we’re fully supporting your activity.

  4. Judith Hance

    If I had not already left PacMed a few years ago (mainly due to poor service), I would have to do so now. I have made a pledge to myself not to participate in a system that denies FULL coverage to ALL patients for ALL services. Now the system I chose, the University of Washington, seems to be on the verge of taking the wrong path. Care at UW and Seattle Cancer Care Alliance had been wonderful. Am I to end up without any care because of Catholic takeovers? If I must end up at Virginia Mason or the system most of my friends are on, so be it. but I love my doctors!! Who would know such a thing could happen in the great northwest?

  5. Sherman Hu


    Catholic healthcare system is the “Clear and Present Danger” to our healthcare, it’s far more dangerous than any events happening in today’s world.

    As we continue to expose them, no, they will have a chance to take over our healthcare system.

    The reason why they’re desperately acquiring the non-religious healthcare organizations is that the new healthcare law will provide full coverage for all patients and to accept all patients, furthermore, the healthcare law will focus on science and need of individual cares, not the religious deed.


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