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Dedication to Sue Crystal

HCA's Centennial Accord Plan

The following is the dedication of HCA's Centennial Accord Plan to Sue Crystal, former HCA Administrator:

The Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) dedicates its 2008-2010 Centennial Accord Plan to the memory of Sue Crystal, who served as HCA Administrator from December 2000 to August 2001. Sue's spirit continues to inspire the work of HCA today. The artwork on the cover page, titled "Crystal Vision" was created in honor of Sue's spirit of inclusion. The original serigraph, created by Andrea Wilbur Sigo of the Squaxin Island Tribe, was commissioned by a group of Sue's friends and donated to HCA. The artist was inspired by these words from Sue's friends: "She plants seeds in the hearts and minds of the people that surround her."

Sue, an expert on state policy, left her strongest legacy in health care policy and tribal affairs. State government, tribal leaders, and leaders in the health care industry all benefited from Sue's wisdom and vision.

Sue got involved in Indian affairs as the protégé of Professor Ralph Johnson at the University of Washington law school in the mid-1970s. After earning her law degree in 1978, she served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee and as a special assistant to Senator Warren Magnuson on Indian budget and policy issues. While working for Magnuson, she was instrumental in acquiring land for the Wa He Lut Indian School and helped negotiate the historic Puyallup Land Claims Settlement.

Sue had an equally distinguished record in health care. She had a role in virtually every major health care development in this state throughout the late 1980s and 1990s. She helped create the Basic Health Plan, served as chair of the Health Care Policy Board, and advised Governors Locke and Lowry on health care issues. She also advised former Governor Mike Lowry on American Indian issues. She had just begun a new chapter in her health care career, taking over as Administrator of the Health Care Authority and overseeing health care benefits for public employees and low income Washington residents, before her untimely death in August 2001.

The result of Sue's hard work on tribal issues and in health care continues today. HCA's efforts resulted in significant improvements in tribal relations and partnerships, including the establishment of the first Centennial Accord Plan in 2003. During the 2006 Legislative session, HCA worked jointly with the American Indian Health Commission and Washington tribes to develop legislation that allows tribal employees to receive health care coverage through HCA's Public Employees Benefits Board Program. As this bill worked its way through the legislative process, those who knew Sue Crystal thought of her and how pleased she would be that this bill melded health care and tribal issues, two areas for which she had such great passion.

On April 6, 2007, HCA sponsored an event at the Capitol to recognize and honor Sue's legacy of leadership and vision. Steve Hill announced the renaming of the agency's primary conference room, The Sue Crystal Center. Governor Gregoire signed a proclamation honoring Sue's dedication to public service. She was joined by former Governors Gary Locke and Mike Lowry. Billy Frank, Jr., Sue's husband, and their son, Willie Frank, friends and colleagues, tribal leaders, and other state officials attended the event.

The artwork "Crystal Vision," a plaque, and Sue's photograph are on permanent display in the Sue Crystal Center as a reminder to HCA staff and visitors of the impact that Sue Crystal had on this state, and her dedication to providing health care access to all Washington residents.