Oregon Health & Science University and Salem Health affiliation officially launches

New partnership will be first of its kind in Oregon

Oregon Health & Science University and Salem Health have finalized an agreement to manage their respective clinical services as an integrated health system. The agreement creates OHSU Partners, a joint management company that will officially become operational on Monday, November 16.  

The distinct affiliation model enables the organizations to operate as an integrated system while still being independently governed by their respective boards of directors.  Both OHSU and Salem Health will retain their existing hospital licenses and employees will continue to work for their respective organizations. Salem Health retains its name, but will change its logo to the OHSU flame to reflect the affiliation.

“This affiliation will strengthen our two organizations’ leadership in health care transformation in Oregon by aligning to build a sustainable, community-based health care approach,” said Salem Health President and CEO Norm Gruber.

OHSU President Dr. Joe Robertson said this affiliation reflects a new way to construct clinical partnerships that better retains the value and strengths each organization has developed in service to their patients. “The more common approach of creating alignment through acquisitions too often results in a loss of focus on specific community needs. OHSU and Salem Health have developed what we think is a better approach.”

The OHSU Partners management company will develop an integrated strategy and budget for the system, which will be approved by each board.The affiliation includes the clinical enterprises of each organization. In Salem, this includes Salem Hospital, West Valley Hospital, Willamette Health Partners, Salem Hospital Foundation and West Valley Hospital Foundation. OHSU’s clinical enterprise encompasses OHSU Hospital and Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

This affiliation does not include OHSU’s teaching and research components, but increased collaboration between these programs and Salem Health is likely if it will improve services to patients or advance clinical practice. The OHSU Foundation is not included in the affiliation.



OHSU Partners

OHSU Partners has been jointly created through this affiliation to develop the strategic and financial plans needed to manage the clinical services of Salem Health and OHSU as an integrated system. It will be operated by a small management team. This team includes a site executive for each partner organization who will be responsible for leading strategy implementation at their sites.

This past summer, OHSU and Salem Health announced appointments for the OHSU Partners management team in anticipation of the final agreement. Peter Rapp will serve as OHSU Partner’s chief executive officer and Norm Gruber will serve as its president. Rapp currently serves as a senior vice president and the executive director of OHSU Healthcare. Gruber is the president and CEO of Salem Health. OHSU also appointed Cindy Grueber as the interim site executive for OHSU Healthcare. Grueber is currently a senior vice president and the chief operating officer, OHSU Healthcare. Salem Health has appointed Cheryl Wolfe as its president. Wolfe is currently Salem Health’s chief operating officer.

Affiliation History

In 2013, Salem Health’s Board of Trustees invited a select group of health organizations on the West Coast to discuss potential partnership or affiliation through a Request for Information process.

OHSU was selected as the leading choice for a potential affiliation in the spring of 2014, and the two organizations began more formal discussions. The two organizations already had experience together with successful collaborations in the areas of cancer care and women’s and children’s programs.

The two organizations agreed to a letter of intent in the spring of 2015 which led to this fall’s final agreement to form the affiliation. 

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