Focus on the AHCA with Seema Verma

While I was in Washington, D.C., last week, WSHA was one of a small group invited to participate in a meeting with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma. The conversation was intended to focus on the regulatory challenges facing rural providers. (Special thanks to Richard Ervin FNP-C of Odessa Memorial Healthcare Center. Richard called into the meeting to ensure the voice of the providers was heard.)... Read More >>

WSHA works with HCA on value-based care

WSHA is responding to the HCA’s request for information for the toolkit on behalf of some of our rural members. WSHA is also exploring working with the HCA and managed care organizations to develop common measures that can be used for inpatient care.... Read More >>

White House budget slashes Medicaid, no Medicare cuts

The Trump White House submitted to Congress a budget request for the next year. His budget includes huge cuts to Medicaid that could mean that about 10 million people would lose insurance over the next 10 years. It also cuts the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), graduate medical education, nurse workforce development and other parts of the safety net. ... Read More >>

Governor appoints hospital pharmacy director to state Pharmacy Commission

Governor Inslee appointed Michael Sieg, Director of Pharmacy Services at Confluence Health, to serve on the Washington State Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission. Michael will bring a wealth of new ideas and innovative approaches to the commission, and his appointment expands hospitals’ representation and ensures rural perspectives are considered. WSHA advocated for Michael’s appointment.... Read More >>

From one Washington to the other

Last week, more than a dozen hospital executives traveled with Cassie, Claudia, Chelene, Wendy and I to Washington, D.C., for the American Hospital Association Annual Meeting. This is a terrific opportunity for WSHA staff and members to travel back east and connect with our peers and with elected officials. We were fortunate to spend time with members of Congress, who all gave us thoughtful time and attention. They are eager to stay connected to Washington State, and visitors from home are always welcome.... Read More >>

Washington State open-enrollment period to be 10 weeks

The Washington Health Benefit Exchange announced this week that its next open enrollment period would be 10 weeks, spanning from Nov. 1, 2017 to Jan. 15, 2018. The announcement follows the previous market stabilization rules that shortened the open enrollment period to six weeks, but left it up to the discretion of state exchanges on whether to extend the enrollment window.... Read More >>

Inslee signs law to help providers, cities, counties confront opioid crisis

Gov. Inslee this week signed into law HB 1427, which enacts several recommendations made by the King County Heroin and Opioid Task Force to help cities and counties across the state confront the opioid epidemic by lowering barriers and reducing wait lists for treatment. The bill will give health care providers more information about their prescribing practices to boost the use of best practices.... Read More >>

USDA accepting applications for rural telemedicine grants

Hospitals and others can apply through July 17 for grants of up to $500,000 each for equipment and technical assistance to provide telemedicine services in rural areas, the Department of Agriculture announced Tuesday.... Read More >>

Legislators Continue Work on Balance Billing Legislation

Despite the end of the regular legislative session, work continues on legislation regarding balance billing of patients that receive services from a provider not contracted with their health plan. HB 2114 earlier passed the House but was not voted by the full Senate.... Read More >>

New Quality Payment Program (aka MACRA) Tool Available

A new lookup tool is available that will allow providers to check if a clinician or group who bills Medicare meets the volume thresholds and will need to submit quality data under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). The Medicare Administrative Contractors sent notices to qualifying entities via mail. Providers can check online by entering a provider or group’s national provider identifier on the Quality Payment Program website. ... Read More >>

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