Susan Birch, M.B.A., B.S.N., R.N.

Washington State Health Care Authority, Director

Sue Birch serves as Director of the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA), the state’s largest health care purchaser. Appointed by Governor Jay Inslee in January 2018, Sue oversees efforts to transform the health care system, helping ensure Washington residents have access to high-quality, affordable health care.

HCA purchases care for nearly 2.7 million residents through Washington Apple Health (Medicaid), the Public Employees Benefits Board (PEBB) Program and the School Employees Benefits Board (SEBB) Program. HCA also is responsible for the state community-based behavioral health system.

A nurse by training, Birch is passionate about improving population health and reducing overmedicalization by focusing on social determinants of health. She has led efforts to combat the opioid public health crisis through increased access to treatment and public education, eliminate hepatitis C through innovative value-based drug purchasing and implement a Medicaid benefit for supportive housing and supported employment.

Before joining Governor Inslee’s Cabinet, Sue served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing. She led the state’s successful implementation of the Affordable Care Act, which expanded coverage to more low-income Coloradans while focusing on cost containment and improved service delivery. She also has served as chief executive officer of the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

Birch has completed appointments to the National Advisory Committee on Rural Health and Human Services and served as the Bonfils-Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow and the Robert Wood Johnson Executive Nurse Fellow.