Group Health Cooperative

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Group Health Cooperative, more commonly known as Group Health, is a Seattle, Washington based nonprofit healthcare organization.[1] Established in 1945, it today provides coverage and care for about 700,000 people in Washington and Idaho and is one of the largest private employers in Washington. Patients who receive care at its medical centers are provided Web access to their medical records, secure emailing with doctors and nurses and the ability to fill prescriptions online that are mailed to homes without a shipping charge.[citation needed]

Corporate structure[edit]

Group Health was officially registered as a corporation in Washington on December 22, 1945.[2]

Despite being marketed as a cooperative for much of the organization's history, Group Health has never legally presented itself as a cooperative. It is a nonprofit organization with members. Members have always been able to amend bylaws and elect a board of trustees, but have never owned organization assets or directly controlled operations.[3]:14


Group Health's founders included Thomas G. Bevan, then president of lodge 751 of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers at Boeing; Ella Willams, a leader in a local chapter of The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry; Addison Shoudy, R.M Mitchell, and Stanley Erickson, who were pioneers in the American cooperative movement; and other community members who had no strong past affiliation with any particular social group.[3]:14

Group Health Research Institute[edit]

Its research leg, the Group Health Research Institute, formerly known as Group Health Center for Health Studies, works with institutions such as the University of Washington and the National Institutes of Health. For example, in January 2006, the Center released the results of a study that concluded that regular exercise is associated with a delay in the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's disease.[citation needed] GHRI is a member of the HMO Research Network.

Group Health Cooperative Medical Library[edit]

Group Health Cooperative Medical Library was founded in 1969. As of 2011 it subscribed to 8000 electronic journals and had 400 books. It specializes in allied health professions, medicine, health maintenance organizations, health administration, nursing, and pharmacy.[4]

Preventive care[edit]

Group Health is also a leader in providing coordinated and preventive care, including using health information technology and teamwork to support a personal relationship between a doctor and a patient.[citation needed]

Notable staff[edit]

Scott Armstrong became president and CEO of Group Health in 2003. He is a commissioner of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, board chair of the Alliance of Community Health Plans, a board member of America's Health Insurance Plans and the Pacific Science Center, a member of the Community Development Roundtable in Seattle and a fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives. He was named among the top 40 of the "100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare" in 2010 by Modern Healthcare magazine.

Criticism and controversy[edit]

The Seattle Times published an article on February 9, 2012, alleging non-profit insurance outfits, including Premera Blue Cross, Regence BlueShield and Group Health Cooperative, are stockpiling billions of dollars in reserves while increasing their rates at the same time.[5]


  1. ^ Larson EB (22 Oct 2009). "Group Health Cooperative — One Coverage-and-Delivery Model for Accountable Care". New Engl J Med 361 (17): 1620–2. doi:10.1056/NEJMp0909021. PMID 19846846. 
  2. ^ Crowley, Walt (1996). To Serve the Greatest Number. Seattle: University of Washington Press. ISBN 0-295-97587-3. 
  3. ^ a b Crowley, Walt; HistoryLink (2007). Group Health Timeline. Seattle: HistoryLink. ISBN 0-9788302-1-0. 
  4. ^ American Library Directory 2 (64th ed.). Information Today, Inc. 2011–2012. pp. 2568–2576. ISBN 978-1-57387-411-3. 
  5. ^ Ostrom, Carol M. (8 February 2012). "3 Big Health Insurers Stockpile $2.4 Billion As Rates Keep Rising". The Seattle Times. 


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