Washington State Health Care Authority will have a new director to start the new year. Susan Birch, currently holding a similar position for the state of Colorado, will be coming to Olympia to take over the agency.

Lou McDermott, who has served as interim director since June, when Dorothy Teeter Frost left the post, will become deputy director.

Birch began her career as a nurse and later worked as a nurse supervisor for Kaiser Permanente. She also was an independent nurse consultant and served as executive director for a regional Visiting Nurse Association in northwest Colorado.

Washington’s HCA purchases health care for more than two million residents through the Public Employees Benefits Board and Apple Health for Medicaid clients.