State issues two requests for proposals for practice transformation hub functions

Last week, the Department of Health (DOH) issued two requests for proposals to help establish its Practice Transformation Hub. The hub is a key part of the state’s plans to transform healthcare. The work is intended to provide assistance to primary care and behavioral health care practices statewide, especially small to medium size practices. ... Read More >>

Washington Supreme Court hears oral argument on Initiative 1366

On March 15, the Washington State Supreme Court heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of Initiative 1366, which was advanced by Tim Eyman and narrowly approved by voters in 2015. I-1366 would cut the state sales tax by one percent unless the legislature approves a constitutional amendment requiring a two-thirds vote to raise revenue or repeal any existing tax exemption.... Read More >>

HHS awards $94 million to health centers to help treat the prescription opioid abuse and heroin epidemic in America

On March 11, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $94 million in Affordable Care Act funding to 271 health centers in 45 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico to improve and expand the delivery of substance abuse services in health centers, with a specific focus on treatment of opioid use disorders in underserved populations.... Read More >>

CDC releases guideline for prescribing opioids for chronic pain

As part of the U.S. government’s urgent response to the epidemic of overdose deaths, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) this week issued new recommendations for prescribing opioid medications for chronic pain, excluding cancer, palliative, and end-of-life care. ... Read More >>

Overall Hospital Quality Star Ratings from CMS

The purpose of this bulletin is to ensure hospitals are aware that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will be adding an overall hospital “star rating” to Hospital Compare. The new rating will be part of the April update to the site.... Read More >>

Legislative update: We could be heading to overtime

Today is scheduled to be the last day of this year’s short state legislative session. We are happy to report that many of the significant bills WSHA supports made it through both the House and Senate. We are continuing to work on the state budget, particularly focusing on mental health. The legislature could indeed adjourn today, but it looks likely that there will need to be some overtime to finish the budgets.... Read More >>

Making the Equity-of-Care Pledge

WSHA leadership recently had the opportunity to participate in a reception and reading with Dr. Damon Tweedy, author of “Black Man in a White Coat.” Dr. Tweedy is a Duke-trained psychiatrist dedicated to health equity, and his book was also the topic of a recent column by Jerry Large in The Seattle Times. He addressed the intersection of race and medicine as a medical student, physician and patient. ... Read More >>

Health Care Authority’s webinar on Medicaid enrollment changes aims to address key hospital questions

The Health Care Authority (HCA) is planning significant changes to Apple Health enrollment. Under a new policy effective April 1, 2016, enrollees will be retroactively assigned to a managed care plan as of the beginning of the month the patient is enrolled, rather than at the beginning of the month following enrollment. HCA will be hosting a webinar on March 17, from 2:00- 3:00 p.m. to provide information regarding the changes and answer questions.... Read More >>

Stayin’ alive: WSHA bills still moving

Friday was the cutoff for most bills to be considered in the opposite house, and we are now heading into the final stretch of this year’s short legislative session. We are happy to report that many of the significant bills WSHA supports made it through both the House and Senate, and are now headed to the governor for his action. Several other bills WSHA supports are awaiting concurrence between the House and Senate.... Read More >>

AHA guide offers ‘Triple Aim’ strategies to improve behavioral health care

A new report from the AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative describes strategies, action steps and examples for hospitals, health systems and community stakeholders working to develop a well-coordinated, accessible, affordable and accountable system for delivering behavioral health care.... Read More >>

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