Washington State Healthcare Executives Forum

Summer 2015

President's Message

by Karin Larson-Pollock, M.D.

ACHE Colleagues –
I hope you are all enjoying our wonderful (albeit hot) summer in this great state! 

It’s been a busy time since I began my term as WHSEF President in April. We held a very successful WSHEF event April 27, where Cassie Sauer from the Washington State Hospital Association provided a legislative update, and an expert panel from around Washington discussed the most impactful healthcare initiatives in the Washington State Legislature. On June 17, we co-hosted the Future of Healthcare in Washington Conference, and July 13-16 again brought an ACHE Cluster to Seattle, where it was wonderful to see so many of you at the networking event co-hosted by WSHEF and Aramark. We have heard loud and clear from many of you that you want more networking events like that - so be on the lookout! We are in the midst of finalizing planning and will be posting the Meet & Mingle dates and locations very soon on the WSHEF website, as well as sending out electronic communications. If you are interested in hosting a Meet & Mingle in your area (especially the eastern side of the state), please contact our Membership Co-chair Steve Saxe at smsaxe@comcast.net.

BOD UPDATE: Friday, July 17 the WSHEF Board of Directors took time out of their busy schedules to participate our semi-annual Strategic Planning Retreat, where we welcomed our new WSHEF President-Elect Martin Benning, bid farewell to our Regent Steve Zieniewicz and focused on planning for 2015-2016 in alignment with ACHE national initiatives. Thank you to our wonderful Board (pictured here with Steve at our retreat) for your continued dedication to the chapter: Andrea Zavos-Turner, Martin Benning, Lori Nomura, Jim Cannon, Bill Reid, Steve Saxe, Jacqui Sinatra, Joel Flugstad, Sandra Slater-Duncan, Carol Velasquez, Steve Zieniewicz, Major Johnathon Evans, and our student representatives: Chris Gleason (WSU) and Rachel Shangraw (UW). Additionally, thank you to Van Chaudhari (webmaster), Sue Miller (newsletter), and Daniel Montanez (Diversity Co-chair), for the key roles you play in WSHEF.

Our aim is to provide you with a strong programmatic calendar of events and services that are valuable to you  – whether you are looking for continuing education, advancement to Fellow status or to simply network with other members. Have thoughts about what might bring value to our members? I’d love to hear them, so contact me directly at klarsonpollock@gmail.com. Additionally, we realize that communication is key in this geographically-challenged state, and that our members prefer to stay connected in various ways. Thus, we are looking to enhance our communication beyond our website and quarterly newsletters. Interested in assisting us in the social media realm? Contact our Communications team at nomul@foster.com.  

BOARD ELECTIONS: We recently redesigned the Board calendar to align with the calendar year, our fiscal year, and most other ACHE local chapters. As such, we will have board positions open for January 2016, and the nominating process begins soon. Interested in a Board Member or Officer position? Please see the WSHEF 2016 Board Elections post in this Newsletter for more information.

UPCOMING DATES: As we work to finalize the program and events calendar, note that we plan to host Meet & Mingles in the Puget Sound area in September/October and possibly an event in Spokane sometime this fall. Also, save the date for our WSHEF Annual (Breakfast) Meeting: Thursday October 8 with keynote speaker Chas Rhodes from The Advisory Board Company. More information coming soon.

VOLUNTEERING: We have many opportunities for you to get more involved in WSHEF – from assisting with an event to ongoing participation in one of our four committees: Communications, Diversity, Membership and Program. Please feel free to contact me or the chairs of the committees to learn how you can get involved!

FAREWELL:  Lastly, I’d like to wish our Regent, Steve Zieniewicz, the best of luck as he takes on his new role with Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey.  Steve’s dedication to both ACHE and our local WSHEF chapter has been outstanding, and he will be missed.


Karin M Larson-Pollock, MD, MBA, FACHE
WSHEF President 2015


Fellow Spotlight: Melissa Proehl, MBA, FACHE

Melissa Proehl, a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives, relocated to Spokane, Washington, from Albuquerque, New Mexico in 2014. Becoming an ACHE Fellow was an aspiration of  Melissa’s for some time, but she attributes her commitment to complete her fellowship to her time spent as a board member of New Mexico Healthcare Executives, Independent Chapter of ACHE from 2011-2013. It was during this time she made close friendships and connections with other ACHE Fellows and with their support and mentorship, she was motivated to demonstrate her vast knowledge base in healthcare management by obtaining her fellowship.

Growing up in Northern Colorado, after graduating from High School, Melissa always knew she wanted to do something within the field of Healthcare. She graduated with Honors from University of Northern Colorado in 1999 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology. During her undergraduate studies, Melissa spent two years writing her undergraduate thesis on “The Use of Alternative and Complimentary Medicine in a Biomedical Model.” It was at this time, she became drawn to the paradigm shift occurring within western medicine and the growing need to redesign the healthcare delivery system.  Dedicating 15 years of her career in healthcare administration, Melissa’s first job out of college as a social worker co-managing a social work department at a skilled nursing facility is where she grew a passion for healthcare management. 

Shortly after relocating to Las Vegas, Nevada, in 2001, she went back to school to obtain her Masters and graduated from the University of Phoenix in 2003 with her MBA in Healthcare Management. Her background spans across a multi-sector healthcare environment including acute-care, managed care, primary care, behavioral health and home care.  She has held executive level positions in business and strategy development, contracting and marketing. In 2008, during her tenure as the Director of Business Development and Outreach for Poudre Valley Health System in Fort Collins, Colorado (2008 Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award winner), she developed the health system’s first physician compensation plan for newly employed trauma physicians and other specialists while leading all system physician recruitment efforts.  Most recently, from 2012-2014, she was the Chief Strategy Officer for Atrinea Health in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the Executive Director of The Sangre de Cristo Medical Group IPA. In this role, she was responsible for structuring and implementing business initiatives in alignment with healthcare reform activities and was the lead on New Mexico’s first Primary Care MSSP ACO. In addition, she rebranded multiple, independent clinics into one identifiable corporate brand and logo while consolidating multiple clinic websites.

In her current role as a Provider Network Executive at Premera BCBS, she transitioned from the provider side to the payer side and leads negotiations and implementation of provider agreements while consulting with and educating assigned provider accounts.  In addition to her background and experience, she feels her Fellow credential is invaluable in her work today as it puts her on a level playing field with the providers and hospital administrators she negotiates contracts with; it also displays her commitment to healthcare management and the importance she places on learning.



Message from Your ACHE Regent - Summer 2015

It is with heartfelt emotion that I announce that I am resigning as Regent for Washington state effective August 21, 2015. I have accepted the position of President and CEO, Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey and will be relocating to New Jersey to commence my new position on September 8, 2015. I will be leaving my post as Executive Director, University of Washington Medical Center on August 21, 2015.  

Serving as your Regent for over two years has been an honor and a privilege and I will miss our working together and being colleagues. I look forward to our networking through ACHE and seeing you at the annual ACHE Congress. Gerard J. Berish, CAE, ACHE’s District Five Regional Director, is aware of my resignation as a Regent and will be coordinating installing an interim Regent. If you are interested to serve as the interim Regent for Washington state, please contact Gerry at his email: gberish@ache.org.                                                                                         

The American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) held its Seattle Cluster on July 13-15, 2015 and it was well attended. Thank you to all those from District 5 Washington state who attended; it was great to see you all and enjoy our networking. Thank you to Aramark, an ACHE Premier Corporate Partner who assisted in making this ACHE Seattle Cluster a success.

Karin Larson-Pollock, MD, MBA, FACHE, conducted a WSHEF Board Retreat on Friday, July 17, 2015 which was well attended and very productive. Thank you Karin and all the board members who attended the full day WSHEF Board retreat.

Network Visits

The Regent visits to the Higher Education Network sites in Washington generally occur in late fall and planning for the 2015 visits (Washington State University in Spokane and Eastern Washington University in Spokane) will commence in August.

ACHE Breakfast

Our Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) annual meeting is on October 7 & 8, 2015 with our ACHE Breakfast on Thursday morning, October 8, 2015. Speaker Chas Roades, the Chief Research Officer of the Advisory Board will be presenting. Check http://wshef.ache.org/ for more details.  

There are many opportunities to be involved as a healthcare leader to improve the health of the communities we serve and to advance the profession of healthcare executives. Please visit our Chapter’s web page at http://wshef.ache.org/  for more information.  I look forward to your active participation in our local WSHEF Chapter.

Stephen Zieniewicz, MPH, FACHE
ACHE Washington Regent, District 5
Executive Director
University of Washington Medical Center

12 Things Successful Leaders Never Tolerate

Tolerance, for the most part, is an excellent trait. Accepting difference enriches both lives and organizations. However, there are some aspects of life that should never be tolerated, most importantly because they can tear down your success. Start by making the below list intolerable both for you and those around you.

1. Dishonesty. Living honestly brings peace to you and others. Dishonesty places a false reality on your life and is an easy way to bring down success.
2. Boredom. It tends to be the case that successful people are usually exploring something new. Life is too short to be inactive and remain in your comfort zone. Get out there and do something you’ve never done before.
3. Mediocrity. Settling for less is a huge temptation, and one that is easy to take. What makes people stand out is their willingness to strive for more and make tough decisions that can lead to a life of greatness.
4. Negativity. Every negative thought you have keeps you from being your best. If you hear yourself complaining either out loud or to yourself, find a way to shut it down and bring out the best in any situation.
5. Toxicity. Whether at work or at home, a toxic environment can leave you feeling ill. If something doesn’t feel right, makes you tired or fills you with dread, either cut it loose or brainstorm ways to improve upon the situation.
6. Disorganization. Clutter and disorder cause stress and affects your emotional and mental well-being. Get rid of what you don’t need and keep everything else where it belongs. Come up with an organizational system that works for you and stick to it.
7. Unhealthiness. Unhealthy food, relationships, habit—unhealthy anything—affects every aspect of your life. Remind yourself you deserve better and then give yourself better. Consciously make the decision that is healthiest for you.
8. Regret. Regrets are a fact of life, but dwelling on them will only bring you down. Find peace with yourself that whatever happens happens. Learn from it, right whatever you can—and then leave it behind.
9. Disrespect. Relationships are vital for success and respect is vital for relationships. Disrespect, no matter the form or who it may be directed toward, is one of the most destructive forces you can harbor. While cliché, it’s important to think of the Golden Rule: Treat others how you would want to be treated.
10. Distrust. This can be bred through a succession of tiny compromises over time, so be mindful. Focus on growing your own integrity and surround yourself with others who do the same.
11. Anger. Anger is something none of us can avoid, and used positively, it can motivate you to action. But holding onto it is paralyzing and accomplishes nothing. Learn to direct anger toward problems, not people, and then work to get over the thing that made you angry in the first place.
12. Control. There are some things you will never be able to control. Focus your energy on what you can and learn to let go of the rest.

—Adapted from “12 Things That Successful Leaders Never Tolerate,” by Lolly Daskal www.inc.com

Employee Engagement During Conference Calls

Conference calls are commonplace in many organizations across the world. However, they aren’t always popular among employees, who may sometimes work on other tasks instead of focusing on the conversation at hand. Below are guidelines to maximize time and productivity in setting up a call.

Allow for Limited Involvement
Be selective about those you invite—not every team member needs to be part of the call. Also, allow employees to leave the call early if they have pressing deadlines or are not needed for the remainder of the call.

Make Use of Video
Video calls can be more engaging than those held by phone. The ability to hold eye contact is a strong way to engage others. Participants can view each other’s reactions and body language and then respond accordingly. And with video, you will be able to monitor everything that is going on.

Train Employees in Technology
Whether you’re meeting via a video or phone conference, you need to make sure both you and your employees understand the technology being used so that they feel as comfortable in participating as possible. Doing so will eliminate disengagement and boredom caused by confusion and frustration.

Limit Telecommunication
Although setting up conference and video calls is simple and effective, it also is imperative to meet face to face with your employees. Limit these calls to issues that need the whole team’s input and those where a final decision can arise by the end of the call.

—Adapted from Communication Solutions April 2015 newsletter, www.communicationbriefings.com


Member Announcements

Welcome New WSHEF Members: 

 Kathryn Beattie, MD, Renton
 Rosemary Chude-Sokei, MD, Seattle
 Vinh Chung, Scottsdale
 Mark Jenkins, MD, Seattle
 Greg Larratt, Seattle
 Karen Patmas, Liberty Lake
 Zaher Abouhamze, Lynnwood
 Heather Bailey, Port Townsend
 Laurie A. Brown, RN, Tacoma
 Ryan Erlewine, Camas
 Matthew Josey, Renton
 Sanya A. Krenzelok, Anchorage
 Linda Licata, Vancouver
 Scott Ronk, Lake Tapps
 Becky Starnes, Yakima
 Karla P. Veum, RN, Bellingham
 Ida M. Woods, Seattle
 William Bergman, Silverdale
 Curtis Gray, Newcastle
 John Hartgraves, Seattle
 Sarah Johnson, Wenatchee
 Dana M. Kyles, Lake Stevens
 Adam Parcher, Seattle
 Mary E. Reynolds, Vancouver
 Valerie Simonova, Bellingham
 Trina Tan, Seattle
 Jane L. Thilo, MD, Bellevue
 Israel Vidales, Spokane Valley

Congratulations to Members Who Passed the Board of Governors Exam: 

Zachary P. Griffin, Seattle
Wade J. Harman, JD, Seattle


Congratulations to Members who Advanced to Fellows or Recently Recertified: 

New Fellows

 Scotte R. Hartronft, MD, FACHE, Renton
 Michael G. Brunn, FACHE, Seattle
 Kathleen Clary, FACHE, Puyallup
 Ajay A. Sinha, FACHE, Mill Creek

Recertified Fellows

 Jeffrey D. Friedman, FACHE, Kirkland


UW Executive MHA and Medical Management Programs

For your professional development!

The University of Washington's Graduate Programs in Health Services Administration offers healthcare professionals two options for increasing their management and leadership skills: the Executive Master of Health Administration Program (MHA), and the Certificate Program in Medical Management (CPMM).

Both programs are designed for those who want to meet the need for skilled leaders in the ever-changing healthcare delivery system. Physicians, nurses, other experienced clinical practitioners, and health service managers enter these programs to become more effective leaders and meet the increasingly challenging expectations of the patients and families, stakeholders, and communities they serve.

The Executive MHA Program has a 24-month format that combines three-day intensive on-site meetings with teleconferencing, independent assignments and team projects. Applications for admission have an annual deadline of April 30. For details, visit: http://www.uwexecutivemha.org.  

For details on the Medical Management Program, visit: http://www.pce.uw.edu/certificates/medical-management.html

To ask questions about either program, contact Maggie Helsel, the program coordinator, at mhap@u.washington.edu or 206-616-2947.

WSU Spokane MHPA program

If it is time to futher your education and earn a master's degree in health policy and administration, WSU offers an exciting program designed around a working proressional's schedule. 


The Master of Health Policy and Administration (MHPA) degree is a vigorous, CAHME accredited, and personalized program that prepares future leaders in the dynamic and growing field of healthcare management. WSU HPA students enjoy small class sizes (12-20 students), which facilitate opportunities for strong and lasting relationships with both peers and professors. Students are required to participate in individual and group based projects and be actively engaged in class discussions. Additionally, students are provided valuable professional connections by networking with local healthcare professionals through site visits, guest lectures, student body events, and alumni events. 

A hallmark of the MHPA program is the completion of an internship. The required internship allows the student to gain leadership experience in the health care environment, explore the field, develop professional contacts, and contribute to career planning. The Department of Health Policy & Administration will help the student find an internship that meets your needs, or the student may arrange their own internship.  

Graduates of the program work in a wide range of career fields including hospital management, public health, managed care, group practice management, and financial management. Since 2013, 90% of WSU MHPA graduates secured employment within 3 months of graduation!

The program is ideal for working health care professionals who want to enhance their management skills or advance to management positions. To attract and accommodate our working professional students, our classes are offered from 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., four days a week. Additionally, the program accommodates both full-time and part-time students. 

WSU Spokane’s Department of Health Policy and Administration is a proud member of the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education (WICHE) which provides waivers for out-of-state tuition in 16 states. For more information regarding WICHE, please visit www.wiche.edu.

To learn more about the MHPA program, visit: http://spokane.wsu.edu/admissions/HPA/ or contact the Academic Coordinator, Robin Durfee, at robin.durfee@wsu.edu or 509.358.7987.

ACHE: Become Board Certified in Healthcare Management

Ready to Advance to Fellow?

Why Board Certification - You want to go to board certified physicians for your care, so why not go to an organization with board certified healthcare executives. Earning the distinction of board certification as a Fellow of the American College of Healthcare Executives demonstrates your competence, dedication and commitment to lifelong learning. Visit ache.org/FACHE to learn more about Fellow requirements and apply online.

Advancement Information Session - Do you want to learn more about the value of board certification and the steps to completion? Then come to the Advancement Information Session sponsored by the Washington State Healthcare Executives Forum. There are two ways to participate. In-person or at your desk through a webinar. These sessions will be held twice annually. For more information about future information sessions you can contact Steve Saxe at smsaxe@comcast.net.




ACHE Tuition Waiver Assistance Program


To reduce the barriers to ACHE educational programming for ACHE members experiencing economic hardship, ACHE has established the Tuition Waiver Assistance Program.

ACHE makes available a limited number of tuition waivers to ACHE Members and Fellows whose organizations lack the resources to fund their tuition for education programs. Members and Fellows in career transition are also encouraged to apply. Tuition waivers are based on financial need and are available for the following ACHE education programs:

  • Congress on Healthcare Leadership
  • Cluster Seminars
  • Self-Study Programs
  • Online Education Programs
  • Online Tutorial (Board of Governors Exam preparation)
  • ACHE Board of Governors Exam Review Course

All requests are due no less than eight weeks before the program date, except for ACHE self-study courses; see quarterly application deadlines on the FAQ page of the tuition waiver application. Incomplete applications and applications received after the deadline will not be considered. Recipients will be notified of the waiver review panel's decision not less than six weeks before the program date. For ACHE self-study courses, applicants will be notified three weeks after the quarterly application deadline.

If you have questions about the program, please contact Teri Somrak, associate director, Division of Professional Development, at (312) 424-9354 or tsomrak@ache.org. For more information, visit ache.org/TuitionWaiver.

Your Career & Development - JOB BANKS

If you are a member of ACHE you have access to a robust, national job bank. It can be found at:

ACHE Job Bank

We are pleased to provide a link to the WA Healthcare News Job Bank. This is an excellent source of information about positions in our local geographic area. The available position list has also been extended recently to contain some positions in other parts of the country.

WA Healthcare News Job Bank

DELIVERY of WSHEF Newsletter (Disclaimer)


To ensure delivery of your chapter newsletter, please add info@wshef.ache.org to your email address book or Safe Sender List. If you are still having problems receiving our communications, see our white-listing page for more details:



2015-2016 Officers and Board Members

WSHEF Officers:

  • Karin Larson-Pollock, MD, FACHE, President
  • Martin Benning, FACHE, President-Elect
  • Andrea Zavos Turner, MHS, FACHE, Immediate Past President
  • Lori Nomura, JD, Secretary
  • Jim Cannon, MHA, FACHE, Treasurer

 WSHEF Board Members:

  • Scott Bond
  • Bill Reid, FACHE
  • Sandra Slater-Duncan, FACHE
  • Carol N. Velasquez, FACHE
  • Gregg Davidson, FACHE
  • Steven Saxe, FACHE
  • Jacqui Sinatra
  • Joel Flugstad

 ACHE Regent (District 5)

  • Steve Zieniewicz, FACHE

MILITARY Representative

  • Jonathan Evans 

         Term ongoing 


      University of Washington

  • Rachel Shangraw, MHA Candidate

         Term ends April 2016

      Washington State University

  • Chris Cleason, MHPA Candidate

         Term ends April 2016

WSHEF Vision & Values

To be the premier professional society connecting leaders in Washington State to learn, share, and transform health care.


To advance Washington state ACHE members' healthcare professional excellence through interaction and communication and fostering professional development.

As members of our Chapter, we are committed to:

We advocate and emulate high ethical conduct in all we do.

Lifelong Learning
We recognize lifelong learning is essential to our ability to innovate and continually improve ourselves, our organizations and our profession.

We lead through example and mentoring, and recognize caring must be a
cornerstone of our professional interactions.

We advocate inclusion and embrace the differences of those with whom we work
and the communities we serve.

We recognize service to our communities is an integral part of who we are as
healthcare professionals.

We take initiative to build partnerships in advancing professional
development within and outside of our healthcare community.


Our Goals
Service Excellence                                                                                                                    



Get Involved! WSHEF Board and Committees

Get Involved!

WSHEF needs your help and expertise!

We want you to get the most out of being a member of our organization. How can you get involved?

Attend educational sessions and bring a colleague; promote ACHE and WSHEF membership in your organization.

Provide a venue for an event.

Volunteer and join a committee; suggest programming ideas.

Together we can develop relationships with other healthcare professionals, enhance our educational offerings, and address critical healthcare issues on local, state, and national levels.


WSHEF Committees and Chairs:

Programs Committee: Jacqui Sinatra and Joel Flugstad, Co-Chair

Communications Committee: Lori Nomura, Chair

   Vandna Sharma Chaudhari, website co-chair

   Sue Miller, newsletter co-chair

Membership and Advancement Committee: Steve Saxe and Bill Reid, Co-Chairs

Diversity Committee: Gregg Davidson and Daniel Montanez, Co-Chairs

For more information on WSHEF committees and contact information, see the WSHEF Website


Effective January 1, 2008, all ACHE members located within the chapter's assigned geographic territory are automatically members of the chapter as a benefit of being an ACHE member. Only ACHE members are eligible to hold membership in the chapter.
If you are not a current ACHE member, we encourage you to join by visiting the ACHE website. Nonmembers are welcome to attend chapter events. If you would like to be added to the chapter's nonmember mailing list to be notified of future programs and events, please send an email to info@wshef.ache.org.