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Quick Read:

  • We recently completed Phase 1 of Mission Forward, which included a systemwide assessment of UW Medicine’s operations and care delivery.
  • The assessment identified four key areas for improvement, as well as many things we are doing well. We will use the key findings to design and implement workstreams in Phases 2 and 3 of Mission Forward.
  • The results of our 90-day action plan that ended in mid-March produced important financial and operational benefits systemwide; we are thankful to all who contributed.
    We are grateful to the Washington Legislature for including $150 million for UW Medicine across the 2023 and 2024 budgets.

Six months ago, we announced Mission Forward a systemwide initiative to address the ongoing financial and operational challenges faced by our health system. Our goal was to define a sustainable path for UW Medicine that would enable us to continue serving our vital mission in this region for years to come. Today, we want to update you on that work and provide more details about what to expect in the weeks ahead.

Phase 1 Complete: Opportunity Assessment

We recently completed Phase 1 of Mission Forward, which included a broad assessment of UW Medicine’s operations and care delivery. Between October and February, our partners at Huron Consulting Group reviewed hundreds of data files, conducted more than 175 interviews with leaders, spent more than 120 hours observing and touring our facilities, and considered more than 50 ideas submitted by UW Medicine employees to identify short-, mid- and long-term opportunities for improvement. This was a massive undertaking, and we are grateful to all who contributed.

Findings from the assessment confirmed that we are doing many things well, but also highlighted opportunities in four key areas that could deliver significant financial and operational benefits:

  • Foundational: Developing leaders and advancing healthcare equity goals and well-being systemwide, including:
    • Improving accountability and execution
    • Aligning goals across the organization and cascading them to the department level
  • Quality & Efficiency: Improving the quality and efficiency of our care, including:
    • Optimizing our revenue cycle processes to reduce denials and accelerate cash collection
    • Improving and expanding technology to better support our processes
  • Capacity: Updating processes and systems to better manage our capacity, including:
    • Optimizing utilization of operating rooms and inpatient capacity
    • Redesigning our care model to improve length of stay, accommodate more patients in our emergency departments, improve patient transfers and more
  • Growth: Improving patient access to our services, including:
    • Expanding access across the system
    • Aligning financials across the system to provide a more holistic view of growth opportunities and needs

To learn more, you can find an executive summary of the opportunity assessment on the Mission Forward Huddle page.

Transitioning to Phases 2 & 3: Design & Implement

In Phase 2 (Decide and Design), using information from the assessment, we will focus on two parallel paths: 1) We will prioritize and design specific improvement initiatives within the four opportunity areas – each having detailed operational plans, metrics and targets for fiscal year 2024; 2) We will strategize opportunities to improve our system’s longer-term financial stability and competitive market position.

In Phase 3 (Implementation), teams will begin implementing fiscal year 2024 plans and reporting on their progress. We will also create a set of system-level priorities and key strategies to pursue over the next 2-5 years based on our identified longer-term opportunity areas. As the pace of this work accelerates, we will continue updating information and posting progress updates on the Mission Forward Huddle page.

We know there is a lot to track and that many of these Mission Forward activities are happening in the middle of a challenging budget season. Last week, we made the difficult decision to consolidate three programs and close another in the UWMC Ambulatory Care Division, affecting approximately 44 full-time employees. All who are impacted by this change have been notified, and we are working with human resources and our labor partners to reassign as many of these employees as we can to other roles in our health system.

While we will continue to evaluate all opportunities for us to be more efficient, productive and financially sustainable in how we do our work, widespread layoffs or furloughs are not planned at this time. We acknowledge that any changes affecting our valued colleagues are difficult for the entire community and we are committed to sharing regular updates as our Mission Forward work continues.

Progress To Date

Despite the challenges facing our health system, we already are seeing progress from our early Mission Forward work. The teams involved in our 90-day action plan made tremendous advances in high-priority areas, including expanding access to patients, improving the processes by which we get paid for our services and reducing our reliance on temporary staff. To learn more, you can find the 90-day action plan summary on the Mission Forward Huddle page.

Last week, we also learned that UW Medicine received $150 million in funding from the Washington State Legislature, with $50 million in fiscal year 2023 and $100 million in fiscal year 2024. This is a significant commitment and an important piece of the overall puzzle to bridge UW Medicine to financial stability. We are grateful for the ongoing support of Governor Inslee and state lawmakers, recognizing the unique role UW Medicine serves in our state.

In the coming weeks, we will share more about the specific workstreams, initiatives and goals identified in Phases 2 and 3. In the meantime, we want to hear from you. Please send your questions and feedback to

We appreciate all you continue to do in support of UW Medicine in pursuit of our mission to improve the health of the public.


Timothy H. Dellit, MD
Interim CEO, UW Medicine
Interim Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs and
Interim Dean of the School of Medicine,
University of Washington

Cynthia Dold
Interim President, UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics
Interim Vice President for Medical Affairs,
University of Washington