A New Era for Care Of Mental Health Patients

December 8, 2014

Next Sunday is the solstice, the shortest, darkest day of the year. It is perhaps fitting that a few days after that, December 26, will mark when the Supreme Court’s decision on psychiatric boarding and the use of single bed certifications takes full effect. This will also hopefully mark the beginning of a period of steadily improving care for our friends and family who are in mental health crisis.

Last summer, the Washington State Supreme Court ruled psychiatric patients in crisis cannot be boarded in hospitals just because the appropriate evaluation and treatment facilities are overcrowded. We were proud to submit an amicus brief supporting the position of the patients in this case. The court stayed the decision to allow the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) and providers to work together to open needed psychiatric beds. To do that, Governor Jay Inslee and DSHS authorized an emergency $15 million. The funds support inpatient services that were already planned, and will also bring new beds online.

In a very short amount of time, we have improved capacity:

  • General acute care and freestanding psychiatric hospitals have increased bed capacity for involuntary patients by nearly 200 beds.
  • Freestanding residential evaluation and treatment facilities, are also increasing by 70-74 beds.

This isn’t victory, but it’s a very good start. (To learn more about the unknowns of the court’s decision, view the slides from this week’s webcast or read the December 16 bulletin.)

I am heartened by how committed everyone is to working together to provide better care. Hospitals, state and local agencies committed time and money to meeting this immediate need. Chelene Whiteaker and Taya Briley worked to ensure DSHS created a clearer new standard for hospitals who continue to care for patients through single bed certifications. We will need the spirit from the membership to continue as we enter into the legislative session and start to work on other pieces of the mental health system.

Mental health issues are at the top of WSHA’s legislative priorities, both for policy and budget. There is much to be done and we will be calling on you to weigh in on these important topics in your communities.

Thank you,

Scott Bond
WSHA President and CEO

MultiCare Health System and CHI Franciscan Health Team Up for New Psych Beds

CHI Franciscan Health and MultiCare Health System filed a Certificate of Need application with the Washington State Department of Health on December 16, 2014 to jointly build and operate a $41 million, 120-bed psychiatric hospital to be located in Tacoma. The two have also created an independent, not-for-profit organization to operate the new hospital. The entity and plan for this joint venture were formed to increase access to mental health services in Pierce County and surrounding areas, and reduce the burden on local emergency rooms.

The preferred site for the new hospital is at MultiCare’s Allenmore Hospital campus in Tacoma. It is anticipated that state review could be completed by fall 2015 and the new hospital could begin caring for patients three years later.

“Our goal is for all patients to receive the appropriate, attentive care they need,” said Kathy Bressler, president of St. Clare Hospital, a part of CHI Franciscan Health.

Read more about this exciting new venture.

Supreme Court Finds Against Hospital Based on Employee Physician Negligence in Medical Malpractice Case

The Washington State Supreme Court ruled unanimously that a hospital may be vicariously liable for an employed physician’s negligence where a patient proves sufficient evidence of negligence by a physician on the patient’s care team. The case, Grove v. PeaceHealth St. Joseph, addressed whether a patient offered sufficient evidence of a specific breach of the standard of care by an individual provider. WSHA partnered with the Washington State Medical Association to submit an amicus brief in the case and argued that the plaintiff failed to provide sufficient evidence of individual negligence and offered only evidence of a bad outcome and a “team” approach to medical care. This case presents issues important to hospitals and WSHA is disappointed by the court’s ruling. (Zosia Stanley, zosias@wsha.org)

Registration is Now Open for the 2015 WSHA Disaster Conference: Washington Ready!!

When: May 27 and 28
Where: Wenatchee Conference Center, Wenatchee, WA

This year, the Washington Ready!! conference will focus on emergency events and responses within Washington State. Examples are the OSO/SR 530 Mudslide, Marysville Pilchuck High School shooting and hospital Ebola preparation. Other topics include WATrac Patient Tracking, training staff for active shooter response, DSHS innovative planning for vulnerable populations, an update from the state Department of Health and so much more! On Wednesday, we are holding a Basic Disaster Life Support (BDLS) all-day training with CMEs, limited to 50 participants. The full program agenda will be available online soon. To register, click here.

Please forward this message to those within your facility who would benefit from excellent and expert disaster readiness information. If you have questions or would like additional information, please contact Peggi Shapiro at 206.216.2864 or peggis@wsha.org.

New Advance Care Planning Resource for Washington

The Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest program, led by the Washington State Hospital Association  and the Washington State Medical Association and supported by other health care organizations across the state, will provide a comprehensive portal of resources and tools through a new website to help Washington state residents create end-of-life care plans, and guide them through sharing those plans with loved ones and health care teams. The resources and tools on the website are free and available to anyone. Visit the website and sign up for the periodic e-newsletters here.

Website visitors can review options when making their end-of-life care plans, while health care professionals can access training, research and other information to help them better prepare for conversations around end-of-life care with patients. To learn more about your organization becoming an early adopter contact Tanya Carrocio at tanyac@wsha.org.

Ebola “Cromnibus” and Legislative Updates

Tuesday evening President Obama signed the “cromnibus,” which includes $5.4 billion in emergency Ebola relief. The funds will offset the cost of preparedness and treatment here in the U.S., including funds for transportation, medical care and other costs for persons isolated while they are screened. Funds can also be used to renovate privately-owned facilities to improve preparedness, and includes at least $10 million for training to prevent Ebola exposure of hospital employees, first responders and other workers.

Also, late Tuesday evening Congress brought to a close what many in Washington have called one of the least productive Congresses in modern history with a series of votes on nominations and a bill to extend certain tax provisions.

Finally, Washington Sen. Patty Murray announced this week that she will become the senior Democrat on the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee. When Congress reconvenes on January 6, the committee will continue to oversee the 340B program, the FDA, public health and some workforce development programs. (John Flink, john@jwfconsultingdc.com)

Washington State Receives A on State Report Card for Transparency

The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute has published its state report on transparency for 2014, and has rated Washington State with an A.

It’s second year in publication, this annual State Report Card on Transparency of Physician Quality Information depicts the states who place priority on the choices and rights of each patient. These states have made a concentrated effort to collect and publish information that measures physician and provider quality, allowing for patients to have more options and receive higher quality health care.
This rating highlights the importance WSHA has placed on achieving transparency, and the valuable impact Washington hospitals have in providing essential information on health care cost and quality.

White House Launches Climate Resilient Health Care Facilities Initiative and Primary Protection Guide

The Department of Health and Human Services today released a Primary Protection guide to help health care facilities enhance their resilience to extreme weather events, the first in a series of health sector tools to be posted here as part of the president’s Climate Action Plan. At a White House roundtable, senior executives from AHA and the American Society for Healthcare Engineering, as well as hospital representatives, reaffirmed hospitals’ commitment to the environment and ongoing support for sustainability and resilience. The AHA’s Sustainability Roadmap for Hospitals initiative links hospitals to resources to help develop sustainable practices in the healthcare environment. (Peggi Shapiro, peggis@wsha.org)

Industry Partner Prista Provides Integrated Insight on Quality and Risk

This week’s Washington Hospital Services Industry Partners spotlight focuses on Prista, a software company dedicated improving patient outcomes by integrating risk, quality management, and performance improvement into one software platform. By combining these functions with powerful analytics, Prista gives health care professionals the ability to more effectively respond to, and correct, quality issues — dramatically improving patient outcomes and reducing hospital costs. The solution is robust and provides opportunities for organizations of all sizes. To see Prista in action, check out this short video. For more information about implementing this service in your organization, please contact Paul Unsworth at paulu@wsha.org or (206) 577-1806.

Jennifer Graves named interim CEO of Swedish Edmonds

Swedish Health Services announced Monday that it has appointed Jennifer Graves, chief executive officer of Swedish Ballard, as the interim CEO of Swedish Edmonds. Graves will begin work in her new role on Jan. 1, 2015, with the retirement of current CEO David Jaffe.

“Anyone who has worked with Jennifer knows that she is a passionate advocate for our patients, families and caregivers,” said Anthony Armada, FACHE, president & CEO of Swedish Health Services in a press release issued by Swedish. “I have great confidence that she will do a tremendous job leading Swedish Edmonds just as she has with Swedish Ballard.” Read more.

EvergreenHealth’s Tom Martin Honored as Puget Sound Business Journal’s 2014 CIO of the Year

On December 10, Tom Martin, Vice President, Business Development & Chief Information Officer of EvergreenHealth received the award of Outstanding CIO of a company with more than $1 billion in revenue at PSBJ’s 2014 CIO-CTO Awards.

Tom was acknowledged for his impressive career in health care technology – including work at University of Washington Medicine and Medical Centers and his active membership in various industry organizations including the Puget Sound Health Alliance Health Information and Technology Committee.

At EvergreenHealth, Tom is responsible for strategic planning, information technology, business and relationship development services and operational excellence. He has been crucial to the transformation of EvergreenHealth from a single hospital organization with a few practices to a fully integrated health care system that cares for patients across the spectrum of care.

Congratulations Tom! To view his acceptance speech and see photos of the event click here.


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