On Susie’s Departure by Nancy Giunto

When Susie Dade asked me whether she could write the letter to the membership for the April edition of News from the Alliance, she thought she would have the last word. Little did she know that I also planned to pay tribute to her in the same issue!

Susie and I have worked very closely together for the past five and a half years. I have the utmost respect for her, for her expertise and passion, of course, but also for her unswerving dedication to making things better and improving the health care system. She speaks the truth, regardless of how hard it is to hear it, and sometimes it can be pretty hard, if you know Susie as I do. It is always challenging to be a presenter with Susie in the audience. As Tim Lieb, President of Regence BlueShield, remarked at a recent Alliance Board of Directors’ meeting, “we live in mortal fear of the one penetrating question from Susie that will sum up the issue and reveal the weakness of the argument.”

Susie’s leadership at the Alliance contributed greatly to the foundation of the organization and to our current success. These are just a few examples of Susie’s contributions:

  • fostered development of the Community Checkup report (we are soon to release the 13th edition);
  • oversaw the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s multi-million-dollar, multi-year Aligning Forces for Quality grant;
  • helped lead the State Health Innovation Planning from 2014-2019;
  • implemented our patient experience surveys;
  • led the eValue8™ review process of health plan performance;
  • while other states are still talking about it as an idea, she was instrumental in developing the Statewide Common Measure Set, taking about 3 months to complete it, an extraordinary feat; and
  • led the effort to report on overuse and waste in Washington through several versions of the First, Do No Harm

Susie has served in many state and national leadership capacities, among them, as a member by Governor appointment to The Robert Bree Collaborative, a consultant and implementation partner of Healthier Washington, a reviewer/judge for the Qualis Health Awards of Excellence in Healthcare Quality, and a member of the eValue8™ Advisory Board for the National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions.

These professional accomplishments are just a small part of Susie’s contributions. Her drive for excellence and her ability to deliver exceptional work, coupled by her intellectual acumen and commitment to improving the health care system, are an extraordinary breadth of traits to find in a single professional.

It’s hard to say good-bye to a colleague as valuable as she is and it’s also hard to say good-bye to a trusted friend. So Godspeed, Susie, as you embark on the next chapter of your life. You will always have a home at the Alliance.

With my deepest respect and appreciation,

Nancy A. Giunto

Published: March 31, 2020

About Washington Health Alliance

The Washington Health Alliance is a place where stakeholders work collaboratively to transform Washington state’s health care system for the better. The Alliance brings together organizations that share a commitment to drive change in our health care system by offering a forum for critical conversation and aligned efforts by stakeholders: purchasers, providers, health plans, consumers and other health care partners. The Alliance believes strongly in transparency and offers trusted and credible reporting of progress on measures of health care quality and value. The Alliance is a nonpartisan 501(c)(3) nonprofit with more than 185 member organizations. A cornerstone of the Alliance's work is the Community Checkup, a report to the public comparing the performance of medical groups, hospitals and health plans and offering a community-level view on important measures of health care quality (www.wacommunitycheckup.org).

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