Washington Health Alliance recognized nationally for work on trust

Friday, the Washington Health Alliance (WHA) was recognized as a leader in collaborating with organizations across health care by the ABIM Foundation.

The Alliance’s Quality Improvement Committee (QIC) is one of several organizations recognized by ABIM Foundation in its new effort, Building Trust, created to enhance medical professionalism and improve patient care.


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Nancy Giunto, executive director of WHA, said:

“The Alliance is honored to receive this recognition from this well-respected foundation. Trust and collaboration are critical components of the Alliance’s mission and our efforts to improve Washington’s health care system and the Alliance’s QIC plays a vital role.”

The ABIM Foundation is best known for its Choosing Wisely program to reduce unnecessary tests, treatments and procedures.

The WHA issues trusted and credible reports on health care quality using its voluntary All Payer Claims Database. The QIC, made up of about two dozen physician and clinical leaders from major medical groups, integrated delivery systems, hospitals, and health plans across the state, engages deeply in the development of all reports, offering clinical and methodological advice.  

Beginning with the first Community Checkup report issued in 2008, the QIC has played a major role in selecting the measures, how patients are attributed to providers, statistical reliability, and reporting thresholds. Current chair of the QIC, Dan Kent, Chief Medical Officer of UnitedHealthcare Community Plan, said:

“We are fortunate in Washington state to have this kind of reporting and the QIC is pleased to be recognized for our role in helping lead these efforts on the Alliance’s behalf. The Alliance’s commitment to careful stewardship of the data from multiple providers, with total patient confidentiality, has created trust among providers and users of the reports. Users appreciate the ability to see variation among providers and communities, across many quality of care measures, with analyses for Medicaid and for people with commercial health care coverage.”

One example of the role of trust and the QIC is the First, Do No Harm report released in October of 2019, using the Milliman MedInsight Health Waste Calculator™ (Calculator) to review the use of 47 tests, procedures, and treatments commonly recognized as overused by the Choosing Wisely campaign and the medical community. 

In its analysis, the WHA found that of the more than nine million services examined for both the commercially and Medicaid-insured in Washington state, 51% were determined to be low-value, meaning they were either wasteful or likely wasteful. This resulted in an average of 846,973 people receiving at least one low-value service each year (that’s equivalent to approximately 11% of the total state population), at a total estimated cost of $703 million. 

This data resulted in the first report in the nation on waste at the medical group level using the Calculator. 

The QIC recently created a new streamlined method for ranking medical groups and clinics, using 29 measures considered strong indicators of primary care to produce one weighted score. In March 2021, the WHA released medical group and clinic level results for the Quality Composite Score, providing extensive detail on each measure.