Collaboration is Key

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Collaboration is Key

The Alliance is often recognized for our ability to bring together diverse voices to address an issue or a challenge. Our members tell us that they trust us to tackle the tough questions in a fair and balanced way. They help us get the right folks at the table to have the real conversation, not one that simply continues a dialogue that restates the obvious. When I speak to external audiences, the convening power of the Alliance is one of my main messages. I emphasize that the Alliance’s role as multi-stakeholder convener is pivotal to our mission, and a source of pride for all who are involved in our work.

This convening talent is often one of the main reasons we are asked to share our story nationally. As I told an audience at the recent Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement webinar, we were asked to participate in the King County Vaccine Distribution Effort because “The Alliance has a unique position in the market to see this pandemic from all sides. We want you at the table for your practical insights and for the deep relationships you have in our region and our state.”

I would like to take a moment to share with you how successful collaborations have helped us excel in some of our recent work.

  • During the month of March, purchaser sponsors met with participating health insurance plans in our state to discuss how they are tackling health care’s toughest issues and to identify ways that purchasers and health plans can collaborate on meaningful solutions as part of the biennial eValue8™. eValue8™ is an improvement initiative led by the National Alliance of Health Care Purchaser Coalitions that uses a Request for Information (RFI) format to assess health plan quality across a broad range of domains important to purchasers—employers and union trust leaders. Responding to the RFI for eValue8™ is an enormous undertaking for health plan leaders and we thank Aetna, CIGNA, Kaiser Permanente WA (HMO, and PPO), Premera Blue Cross, and Regence BlueShield for supporting this effort.

The real magic of the eValue8™ process is in the conversations that it prompts between purchasers and plans to encourage better performance and collaboration on improvement strategies together. Karen Johnson, Director of Performance Improvement and Innovation, led the Alliance’s Purchaser Affinity Group in culling through the findings and selecting issues that matter to those who pay for care. Through close collaboration, five very successful purchaser-led conversations were held on these topics that the purchasers prioritized:

    • Addressing health inequity and social determinants of health;
    • Advancing primary care with new payment models that align with the type of comprehensive, coordinated, and continuous care purchasers want for their plan participants;
    • Ensuring behavioral health access, including its integration in primary care settings;
    • Continuing the advances made in virtual care during the pandemic; and
    • Managing the increasing cost of medications with transparent and accountable strategies that ensure access and improve value.

We are ahead of the rest of the country in communicating results to participating purchasers and health plans. Stay tuned for the public release of the full report later this summer.

  • Passed in April, 2020, SB 2457 created a new Health Care Cost Transparency Board (HCCTB) and its work is just getting started. In our All-Alliance webinar last week, we found out how the HCCTB’s goal of containing health care expenditures will be used to improve health care affordability in Washington, how other states have developed their benchmark or target, and how interested parties can participate in the process that has the potential to significantly affect Washington’s health care market. HCCTB Manager AnnaLisa Gellermann answered questions from the audience and engaged in a conversation with a distinguished multi-stakeholder panel comprised of:
    • David J. Carlson, DO, MBA, Chief Physician Officer, Senior Vice President Provider Enterprise, MultiCare Healthcare System;
    • Jaja Okigwe, Chief Executive Officer, First Choice Health; and
    • Jim Zimmerman, Chief Operating Officer, Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

The recording is available to Alliance members on the Members-Only page on the Alliance website, under All-Alliance meetings. All-Alliance meetings are a benefit of Alliance membership. For information on membership, contact Theresa Lampkin Tamura.

  • And once a deeply engaged member of the Alliance, you get hooked. Under the leadership of Theresa Lampkin Tamura, Director of Member and Business Engagement, we have launched the Alliance Ambassador Membership Program. This membership program is an invitation only group for individuals who have made significant contributions to the Alliance for many years and are no longer actively engaged with our work. Our goal is to present an opportunity to connect with old friends, to learn and discuss current work, to offer advice about ways to improve the Alliance, and to continue to carry the Alliance flag in efforts to improve health and the health care system in our state. As I write this note, I am seeing very enthusiastic responses from Ambassadors to participate in our first meeting in early May.

I am pleased to report on these efforts and in the Alliance’s tradition of collaboration, if you have any suggestions on issues that would benefit from our participation, I hope you will send them my way.

And if you have suggestions for the Alliance’s collective activities or if you have a great idea on a group topic that would be of interest to a larger audience, I hope you will reach out to Theresa.

All the best,


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