What We Do

We ensure that our neighbors get the healthcare they need while working locally to improve the health care system.

The Whatcom Alliance for Health Advancement (WAHA) is a community-based organization governed by a leadership board that includes concerned citizens and representatives from local health care, public health, business, and governmental organizations.

We are local, nimble, and responsive.

No matter what happens, we will be here to help ensure that heath care is accessible to our community.

Here are some examples of work we are currently doing:

Connect Community Members to Care

WAHA has many tools to connect people to care. We provide free, unbiased, and confidential information and resources to help individuals and families get, keep and use health care coverage. WAHA also helps patients navigate the health care system by providing assistance with finding a provider or accessing community resources. Specific connections include:

WAHA serves as the lead Navigator organization for a five-county region (Whatcom, Skagit, Island, San Juan, and Snohomish). In this role, we help people search for, compare, and enroll in health plans offered through the Washington HealthPlanFinder.
WAHA sponsors the Whatcom County Statewide Health Insurance Benefits Advisors (SHIBA) Program, a statewide network of trained volunteers who educate, assist, and advocate for Medicare consumers about their rights and options regarding health insurance and health care access.
WAHA participates in a state program to improve oral health by increasing access to dental care for Medicaid eligible children under the age of six.
WAHA participates in a Whatcom County program to link qualifying individuals to mental health services when they don’t have insurance to cover it.
In collaboration with other organizations, WAHA provides intensive case management services to the most medically and behaviorally complex cohort of patients who need help coordinating their care in a successful effort to decrease emergency room visits.
WAHA End of Life Choices is a community-wide advance care planning program offering residents the opportunity to reflect on their wishes for medical care when they cannot speak for themselves, and record their wishes in an Advance Directive Document. We offer free community workshops and opportunities to meet with skilled and certified facilitators to help you identify personal goals for life-sustaining treatment. The facilitators can also help to recognize qualities that are important in choosing an effective Health Care Agent, and assist in documenting preferences for care in an Advance Directive.

Improve the Local Health Care System

WAHA works with elected officials and community partners to improve health care quality and patient satisfaction while reducing cost.

In 2014 WAHA convened a Task Force composed of experts and community leaders who were asked what it would take to transform Whatcom County into a center of end-of-life excellence. Focusing on advance care planning, palliative care, clinician training, financial sustainability, and community culture, the Task Force drafted a blueprint to kick-start the vision, moving toward a community-wide system of services designed to be the best in America. Work continues to enact the vision.
WAHA is the administrative lead agency for NSACH, a multi-sector group of stakeholders committed to transforming our health system to improve health, improve the experience of care, increase access, and lower costs for residents in the North Sound Region. To reach these goals, NSACH is collaborating to build stronger prevention and health promotion systems by focusing on community health.
WAHA convenes the skilled nursing facilities of Whatcom County to work through common concerns in order to improve the system to benefit both patients and providers. Examples of council projects include implementing a uniform process for transferring patients to the emergency department, a unified disaster preparedness strategy, and working with the Department of Public Health on infection control protocol.
WAHA facilitates a forum for the exchange of information and ideas between key community health care providers for the purpose of evaluating opportunities for coordination and potential collaboration. This group works to understand and collaborate around local and state initiatives and system gaps that impact providers and patients.