About Harborview Medical Center

Photograph of Harborview Medical Center, Seattle, Washington (view from 8th  Avenue)

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​Harborview Medical Center is owned by King County, g​overned by a county-appointed board of trustees and managed by the University of Washington. UW Medicine physicians, staff and other healthcare professionals based at Harborview serve patients from all walks of life in world-class centers of emphasis and also serve a mission population for King County.

Harborview is the only designated Level I adult and pediatric trauma and burn center in the state of Washington and serves as the regional trauma and burn referral center for Alaska, Montana and Idaho. UW Medicine physicians and other health professional based at Harborview provide highly specialized services for emergency medicine, orthopedics, neurosciences, ophthalmology, vascular surgery, behavior health, HIV/AIDS, complex critical care and rehabilitation. Harborview also serves as the Disaster Medical Control Center for Seattle/King County.​

​​U.S. News & World Report has ranked Harborview among the nation's top hospitals in rehabilitation medicine, neurology, neurosurgery, geriatrics,​ and sports, spine and orthopedic care. In the magazine's 2013-2014 ranking of best regional hospitals, Harborview ranked number three in the Seattle area and number four in the state.

Harborview is an entity of UW Medicine, which also includes Northwest Hospital & Medical Center, Valley Medical Center, UW Medical Center, UW Neighborhood Clinics, UW Physicians, UW School of Medicine and Airlift Northwest. All physicians who practice at Harborview are members of the UW Physicians practice group, and all staff working at Harborview are University of Washington employees.​

Areas of Specialization

  • Level I adult/pediatric trauma and burn care, serving as the sole Level I trauma and burn center for Washington State
  • Care for patients with HIV/AIDS
  • Comprehensive eye and optometric institute
  • Comprehensive range of psychiatric and psychological services, including severe mental illness and substance abuse
  • Emergency medicine and disaster management
  • Neurosciences institute
  • Rehabilitation services for people with disabilities from illnesses, injuries and congenital conditions
  • Sport, spine and orthopedic care
  • Surgical and nonsurgical treatment for simple and complex vascular conditions​

Awards, Accolades and Accomplishments

  • The Joint Commission: Full Accreditation for meeting national performance standards
  • The Joint Commission: Advanced Comprehensive Stroke Center Certification
  • Washington State Emergency Cardiac and Stroke System: Level I Cardiac Center and Level I Stroke Center
  • Qualis Health: Multiple awards for excellence in Healthcare Quality and Leadership in Improving Healthcare
  • National Patient Safety Foundation and American Essential Hospitals: Leadership Award
  • American Association of Critical Care Nurses: Beacon Award for Excellence (Intensive Care Units)
  • American Heart Association/American Stroke Association: Target Stroke Honor Roll
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield: Blue Distinction Center of Excellence (Spine Surgery)
  • State of Washington: Warren Featherstone Reid Award for Excellence in Healthcare (Pioneer Square Clinic and Satellite Clinics for HIV/AIDS patients)

2014 Statistics

Inpatient beds  413 
Admissions 17,000
Emergency Department visits          64,500
Clinic visits 247,350


Charity Care

Harborview is mission driven and provides comprehensive care to patients from all walks of life. In fiscal year 2014, UW Medicine physicians and staff at Harborview provided $168 million in charity care, compared to $219 million in the previous year. With the expansion of healthcare coverage under the Affordable Care Act, many patients who were previously self-pay and uninsured now qualify for Medicaid coverage.

Medical Firsts

As faculty members at the UW School of Medicine, physicians at Harborview ​also teach the next generation of healthcare professionals, advance medical discovery and set the standard of care worldwide. Our physicians have:

  • Founded Medic One emergency response with Seattle Fire Department 
  • Developed safer neurosurgery techniques, including brain mapping 
  • Pioneered treatments for patients with acute respiratory distress disease 
  • Led many advances in multidisciplinary critical care for clots, sepsis, organ failure, lung disease, inflammation and infections 
  • Established the use of transcranial Doppler to determine if brain vessels have been damaged by trauma 
  • Refined methods for burn treatment using artificial skin grafts to improve survival


In 1877, Harborview was founded as the six-bed King County Hospital in South Seattle. In 1931, it moved to its present location overlooking Puget Sound and its name was changed to Harborview Hospital, now known as Harborview Medical Center. UW Medicine's management of Harborview has enabled the hospital to become a leading academic medical center, and new facilities have been added with support from voter-approved bond projects and Harborview reserve funds. The Norm Maleng Building opened in 2008 and the Ninth & Jefferson Building opened in 2009. UW Medicine physicians and staff continue to expand specialty care services based at Harborview with national experts in t​he centers of ​emphasis.​