The Washington Health Alliance serves to build a strong alliance among patients, doctors, hospitals, purchasers, health plans and others to promote health and improve quality and affordability by reducing overuse, underuse and misuse of health care services.
Our vision is that by 2017, physicians, other providers and hospitals in the region will achieve the top 10 percent in performance nationally in the delivery of quality, evidence-based care and in the reduction of unwarranted variation, resulting in a significant reduction in medical cost trends.
The Washington Health Alliance was formed in 2004 and was formerly known as the Puget Sound Health Alliance. Motivated by the desire to stem the rising cost of health coverage for public employees, then King County Executive Ron Sims was the driving force behind its formation. The Alliance’s creation came about through recommendations from King County’s Health Advisory Task Force, which was formed in 2003 to address rapidly rising health care costs. This task force brought together Dr. Ed Wagner from the MacColl Institute, Dr. Alvin Thompson from the University of Washington and benefits representatives from purchasers, providers and academic experts to reduce the misuse of care and improve quality, rather than cut benefits or shift costs to King County employees and their families. Sims was joined by Margaret Stanley, who became the Alliance’s first executive director.
Since the Alliance’s founding in 2004, membership has grown to include more than 175 state, county and private employers, union trusts, health plans, hospitals and physician groups, government agencies, community based organizations, educational institutions, pharmaceutical companies and individuals.
The Alliance has an executive director and nine staff members, who together guide the Quality Improvement Committee (QIC), Clinical Improvement Teams (CIT), Consumer Engagement Committee (CEC) and other committees. They convene and facilitate meetings with participating organizations, develop and implement initiatives and help steer the shift toward value-based purchasing in Washington.