News

House Budget Overview and Top WSHA Priorities: Big Improvements on Mental Health and No Clinic Cuts

The state House of Representatives released its proposed operating budget today, with a lot of good news for health care. This is one of the best budgets we have ever seen for mental health funding, and a good one for health care overall. There are new investments in the system, especially in work force and... Read More >>

Washington State’s Healthier Washington

This bulletin provides initial information on the state’s new plan to transform the delivery of care in Washington State, “Healthier Washington.” It also discusses WSHA’s actions to shape the decisions and how hospitals should engage in this multi-year process. ... Read More >>

Weekly Report for March 26, 2015 – Finally– a SGR Fix and Progress Toward Value

After years of short-term fixes, the U.S House of Representatives is scheduled to vote to repeal and replace the flawed SGR methodology in a 10-year deal – H.R. 2. (What’s the SGR?) This SGR fix is a terrific step forward. It solves a long-term problem in providing fair Medicare payments to physicians, without making damaging... Read More >>

Action Needed on SGR Fix

To: CEOs, WSHA Board Members, and Government Affairs Representatives (The Oregon Association of Hospitals and Health Systems sent a similar message to their members.)   From:  Cassie Sauer, Senior Vice President, WSHA; Chelene Whiteaker, Director, WSHA; John Flink, OAHHS-WSHA Federal Lobbyist; Robin Moody, Senior Director, OAHHS; Andi Easton, Associate Vice President, OAHHS   ACTION NEEDED:... Read More >>

Telemedicine

Two big telemedicine bills have hearings this week. Our primary focus continues to be on SB 5175, which requires commercial and Medicaid health plans to reimburse providers for health care services delivered through audio and video technology if the plans would cover the same service delivered face-to-face. Read the Issue Brief here. This bill passed... Read More >>

Protecting Patient Information

Tuesday, Premera Blue Cross announced that it was a victim of a cyberattack that affected the data of 11 million people, going back to 2002. The Mountlake Terrace company has increased their IT security and is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to find the source and scale of the attack. Although they do... Read More >>

All-Payer Claims Database: Will the Legislature Revise the Current Law?

Last session the state enacted a law, HB 2572, creating an all-payer claims database. With last-minute political maneuvering, the law as passed was flawed. The law has no mandate on private insurers to submit claims to the database –the only mandate is for health plans that contract with the state. There is also a requirement that... Read More >>

Focus: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Legislation

Mental health is a top policy and budget priority for WSHA this year, and for legislators as well. The Supreme Court case on psychiatric boarding helped bring the issue to the forefront, and a record number of bills on the subject have been introduced. However, funding all the new policy bills is a big challenge:... Read More >>

Weekly Report for March 12, 2015 – Remembering Dr. Stuart Farber

Remembering Dr. Stuart Farber: Guest Column by Deborah Swets, VP Membership The end of February brought the passing of a remarkable man, a giant in the health care world to many of us. Dr. Stuart Farber was a prime instigator of palliative and patient-centered end-of-life care in the Pacific Northwest. He died on February 27... Read More >>

Action Needed: ‘Site Neutral’ Payments Would Hurt Hospitals with High Medicare Populations

To: CEOs, CFOs, and Government Relations Staff of Impacted Hospitals By April 1, Congress must act to prevent the Medicare physician payment cut from going into effect.  During these budget negotiations, payments for hospital care are again at risk as a potential offset to pay for legislation to avoid the scheduled cut to physicians. One of... Read More >>

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