Washington Health Alliance names Nancy Giunto as executive director


New leader brings more than 30 years’ experience of successful planning and delivery of strategic initiatives in complex settings.

The Washington Health Alliance (the Alliance) today announced the appointment of Nancy A. Giunto as executive director. Ms. Giunto brings to the Alliance a 20-year background in health care and a demonstrated track record as a creative thinker with the analytic depth to identify and solve challenges effectively. Ms. Giunto will assume the executive director position on September 2.

“Nancy is the right person to lead the Alliance as it enters its second decade,” said Caroline Whalen, the chair of the Alliance Board of Directors and King County Administrative Officer. “Her experience as a leader in health care and as a purchaser of health care is an ideal combination for the Alliance’s work as we expand statewide and move into true cost transparency.”

“I’m very excited about the mission of the Alliance and the opportunity to lead the organization,” says Ms. Giunto. “The Alliance has earned an outstanding reputation as a catalyst for change in Washington. I hope to be able to build on that reputation to help the Alliance take advantage of the many opportunities ahead and to navigate the challenges that may arise.”

Since 2000, Ms. Giunto has been executive director of Foster Pepper, a law firm with 120 attorneys and 130 staff in Seattle and Spokane. In that position, she was responsible for day-to-day operations of the organization and worked with the executive committee.

Ms. Giunto’s previous experience was in health care. She began her career at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C. and served for seven years as an administrative leader at Intermountain Health Care, a large health care system in Salt Lake City. From 1990 to 2000, she was employed by Providence Health and Services in Seattle in a variety of positions, including chief operating officer, operations administrator for a hospital and special assistant to the CEO for significant system initiatives.

Ms. Giunto is a member of the Group Health Foundation Board and the Rotary Club of Seattle. She received her MHA and BS from The Ohio State University.

“Nancy has impressive experience working within the health care system, which will serve her well leading the Alliance,” said David Grossman, MD, an Alliance Board member and medical director, population and purchaser strategy, at Group Health Cooperative. “Her hands-on work in the health care system gives her the credibility to help drive the changes that the Alliance Board has established as priorities.”

Ms. Giunto joins the Alliance as it nears its tenth anniversary as a multi-stakeholder collaborative. The organization’s foundational competency, performance measurement and reporting, has since grown to include reports on quality, utilization, patient experience and price variation. The next Community Checkup report, the Alliance’s eighth, will include medical group and clinic level data for three new counties (Skagit, Spokane and Whatcom) as well as county-level data for the rest of the state. Last December, the Alliance changed its name from the Puget Sound Health Alliance to reflect its statewide efforts.

A key goal of the Alliance over the next year is legislation to enable the establishment of a fully functioning, mandated All-Payer Claims Database (APCD). The APCD will provide purchasers, providers and consumers with the transparency they need to make informed decisions that will accelerate change in the health care market.

Ms. Giunto replaces Mary McWilliams, executive director of the Alliance since 2008. Ms. McWilliams announced her intention to retire last March after serving as the Alliance’s executive director for six years.

“Nancy’s experience and skills are well suited to leading the Alliance,” said Ms. McWilliams. “I look forward to working with her to effect a smooth transition in September.”

About the Washington Health Alliance

As a purchaser-led, multi-stakeholder collaborative with more than 165 participants, the Washington Health Alliance is committed to leading health system change in Washington state. The Alliance has a bold vision: 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. To achieve this goal, it will require the aligned efforts of those who give, get and pay for health care. A cornerstone of the Alliance’s work is the Community Checkup, a regional report to the public comparing the performance of clinics and hospitals for basic measures of quality care (www.wacommunitycheckup.org). The Alliance is a member of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Aligning Forces for Quality communities.

Media Contact:

John Gallagher, 206.454.2957, jgallagher@wahealthalliance.org.

Issued July 31, 2014.

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