King County Executive Dow Constantine, University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce, members of the Metropolitan King County Council, and Harborview Board President Clayton Lewis today announced they have negotiated an historic long-term agreement to ensure that the county hospital remains one of the nation’s premier medical centers for future generations.
The proposed 10-year agreement – which could be extended for an additional 20 years – will expand Harborview’s reach to community-based clinics with a focus on prevention. It will also help Harborview achieve its core mission of serving those with the greatest need regardless of their ability to pay.
“King County’s partnership with the University of Washington ensures that Harborview remains one of the nation’s premier county hospitals, dedicated to saving the lives of trauma victims from across the Northwest and improving the health of our local community for decades to come,” said Executive Constantine. “By providing Harborview patients greater access to UW Medicine’s renowned delivery system, more people will receive the full benefit of our region’s finest medical care.”
“UW Medicine’s longstanding relationship with King County through Harborview is one of our most impactful community partnerships,” said University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce. “This agreement ensures UW Medicine continues to provide access to excellent patient care for all, including our most vulnerable, for many years to come.”
“This landmark agreement will ensure that Harborview will continue to provide the best in medical care, from specialty clinics to critical and acute care needs,” said King County Councilmember Rod Dembowski. “New terms deepen the partnership between UW Medicine and King County’s public health system. This will strengthen our public health clinic network and ensure that we can continue to serve everyone’s health care needs throughout King County.”
“The Harborview Board of Trustees unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed this contract as a framework to expand access to the region’s most sophisticated and highest quality care to patients from all walks of life,” said Clayton Lewis, President of the Harborview Medical Center Board of Directors.
Harborview’s Board of Trustees last week unanimously approved the agreement. It will now go before the County Council and the University of Washington’s Board of Regents for final approval.
The agreement will strengthen the partnership between Harborview and Public Health – Seattle & King County so that the continuum of care covers someone regardless of the setting, whether it’s a community-based clinic, urgent care center, or hospital. It will also advance the work King County is doing to transform health and human services to focus on prevention and early intervention.
Continuing a longstanding tradition of excellence
In the 45 years since King County first contracted with the University of Washington to operate the county hospital, Harborview Medical Center has established itself as one of the nation’s premier trauma centers and has created an integrated system of continuous care that’s considered a national model for delivering effective healthcare.
UW Medicine physicians and health professionals provide highly specialized services for orthopedics, neurosciences, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, behavior health, complex critical care, and rehabilitation. Harborview also serves as the Disaster Medical Control Center for Seattle and King County.
In addition to serving as the only Level 1 adult and pediatric trauma center in a four-state region and providing specialized treatment for trauma and burn patients, Harborview Medical Center serves as the county hospital dedicated to providing primary care regardless of a person’s ability to pay.
Achieving its core missions
The agreement provides clear direction on how Harborview will achieve its core mission as a public hospital by serving those who are most vulnerable, including those who live with mental illness, victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, those who have suffered trauma, non-English speakers, and those who do not have health insurance.
It meets the criteria established in 2014 by the County Council to ensure that Harborview continues to operate in accordance with King County’s principle of promoting fairness and opportunity, and eliminating inequity. It also affirms the UW and County’s commitment to maintain positive relationships with employees at Harborview, building on the recent progress made during labor negotiations.
A world-class public hospital serving King County
Since 1970, Harborview has been governed by a county-appointed Board of Trustees and managed by the University of Washington. This 413-bed facility is also a teaching hospital for the UW School of Medicine. Last year Harborview admitted more than 17,000 patients, had nearly 250,000 outpatient visits, and had more than 62,000 emergency room visits. Harborview provided $60 million in charity care.