Don’t Be the Last To Know

September 25, 2014

What does your disaster preparedness coordinator know that you don’t? Do you know what they worry about?

By nature and training, disaster preparedness coordinators worry about a lot of things. But they also deeply understand what it takes for a community to respond do, and recover from, a disaster. If you don’t meet with them regularly already, it’s time to take your disaster coordinator out to lunch. A few things to think about:

  • Resources: When it comes to equipment and training, what do you have? What do you need?
  • Region: How well-prepared is your region? Will other agencies and community members depend heavily on your hospital for basic services, or will you be one of many equal partners providing care?
  • Partners: An effective response depends on everyone working together. Do you know the government and non-profit leaders in your community? Do you just have plans to work together, or do you have existing relationships to lean on?

This is the last message of National Preparedness Month, but it shouldn’t take an awareness campaign to keep preparedness on your agenda. Responding to disasters is mission-critical for all hospitals, and helping our communities recover from disaster is also our role as essential community partners.

For more information about how WSHA can support your efforts, visit our Disaster Readiness page.

Scott Bond
WSHA President and CEO

Rural Hospitals Take to Capitol Hill

Last week, 20 rural hospital leaders from around the state met with the Congressional delegation in Washington, D.C. to share their stories about the issues facing hospitals. We are pleased that several members cosponsored our bills as a result of the visit. Highlights from the trip include:

  • Senators Cantwell and Murray co-sponsored the two-midnights legislation that would require CMS to come up with a new short stay payment policy. Rep. Heck also signed onto the bill in the House, bringing the total to six out of 10 Representatives co-sponsoring.
  • On the 96 hour rule legislation for Critical Access Hospitals, Rep. Reichert agreed to co-sponsor. Prior to the trip, WSHA learned Sen. Cantwell also signed onto the bill.
  • On the physician supervision bill, Rep. Kilmer agreed to co-sponsor.

Hospital leaders reinforced the need to maintain the 340B drug discount program for safety net hospitals. We also reminded the delegation of the important role hospital outpatient departments play in maintaining access to care and urged the delegation to oppose so-called “site neutral” payment policies that reduce Medicare reimbursement to hospital outpatient departments. (Chelene Whiteaker, and John Flink,

AHRQ Guide Engages Patients and Families in Health Care

Research shows that when patients are engaged in their health care, safety and quality can improve measurably. To promote stronger engagement, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) developed the Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Quality and Safety, a tested, evidence-based resource to help hospitals work as partners with patients and families to improve quality and safety. You can also find more tools and resources for patient and family engagement on the WSHA Partnership for Patients web page. (Rebecca Snyders,

WSHA Readmissions Work a Key Factor in Bree Report

A recently-released report from the Bree Collaborative on Readmissions in Washington State features data and the toolkit developed by our own WSHA Partnership for Patients and Leading Edge Advanced Practice Topics (LEAPT) members and staff.

In fact, one of the report’s recommendations for reducing rehospitalizations is for hospitals to adopt the WSHA toolkit in its entirety. Additionally the Collaborative’s recommended best practices are based on the work of the WSHA Readmissions Steering Committee and their three pilot studies, which resulted in a 27% reduction in readmissions statewide.

More information on WSHA’s successful efforts to reduce readmissions can be found here. (Rebecca Snyders ,

Health Care Authority Recommends $42 Million Medicaid Payment Cut to Hospital Clinics

Last week the Health Care Authority (HCA) submitted to Governor Inslee a set of recommendations to meet the governor’s request that agencies submit proposals to achieve a 15 percent budget reduction for the 2015-2017 biennium. Under the HCA proposal, payments to clinics licensed as hospital departments would be reduced to the level of freestanding clinics paid on regular Resource Based Relative Value Scale (RBRVS) fee schedule.

WSHA reacted strongly telling HCA leaders we are concerned the change will reduce access to care for Medicaid enrollees if hospital based clinics reduce the care provided.  It could then drive patients to more expensive venues, such as hospital emergency rooms. To counteract this, WSHA will work to protect adequate payment for Medicaid clinic services and preserve access to care. (Andrew Busz,

Slides and Recording of WSHA’s Hospital Finance 101 Webcast Available

The cost of health care delivery is an issue that causes confusion and frustration for patients, lawmakers, and the hospitals themselves. On September 19, Andrew Busz, WSHA Policy Director, Finance and Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, WSHA VP Communications & Public Affairs presented a webinar to build some basic understanding about the major factors that affect hospitals’ financial picture, and the relationship between those finances and access to health care across our state. While the webinar was developed with health care reporters in mind, we believe it will also help hospital staff explain the costs related to the provision of health care. If you missed it, slides and a recording of the presentation are available on WSHA’s webcast page. (Claudia Sanders,

Annual Meeting Designed with Board Leaders in Mind

The fires in the Okanogan. The Oso landslide. An errant employee who might have spread a terrible virus to patients. These are just a few of the things that happened in our state this past year to which hospitals and health systems had to respond. What should board leaders know about their responsibilities in responding to such disasters? This is the focus of the 2014 Trustee Breakfast, The Changing Landscape of Disaster Preparedness – A Call to Action for Healthcare Leaders, which takes place October 16th as part of WSHA’s 82nd Annual Meeting.   
This is just one of many hot topics, provocative speakers and great networking opportunities for members of hospital boards and commissioners next month. Register now to learn more about Embracing Disruptive Change in Health Care October 15-16 at WSHA Annual Meeting. Also check out the “Governance Skills Building Intensive” which takes place October 14th!

Visit our website to learn more and register. Hotel space at the Edgewater Hotel is limited, so make your reservations soon! (Cynthia Hay,

2014 Weekly Campaign Update

The 2014 WHPAC is in full swing. To date, we have raised more than $69,000 toward our $170,000 goal. In other PAC news, did you know that we have a new PAC Advisory Committee made of your peers? The purpose of this newly formed committee is to help guide our fundraising and allow for more member input into how we raise money and where we give money. The members of the PAC Advisory Committee are: 
  • Chair: Joe Kortum, former WSHA Chair, Harrison Medical Center
  • Elaine Couture, Providence Health Care – Eastern Washington Region
  • Gregg Davidson, Skagit Regional Health
  • Eric Jensen, Valley General Hospital
  • Eric Lewis, Olympic Medical Center
  • Tom Martin, Lincoln Hospital
  • Russ Myers, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital
  • Paul Nurick, Kittitas Valley Healthcare
  • Gary Peck, Whitman Hospital and Medical Center
  • Julie Petersen, PMH Medical Center
  • Jon Smiley, Columbia County Health System
  • Alan Yordy, PeaceHealth
To date, we have had two committee meetings and have started implementing a few of the suggestions. Keep your eyes open for regular, monthly updates on how your hospital/health system is doing on the PAC fundraising. (Lori Martinez,

MultiCare’s Lois Bernstein Honored for a Lifetime of Influence

MultiCare Health System’s Lois Bernstein, Senior Vice President of Community Services, has been selected as the Business Examiner’s 2014 Women of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award recipient. The annual award event recognizes outstanding women leaders in the South Sound, singling out honorees for their
achievements in community, business, government, military and/or nonprofit sectors.

Lois has served as a leader at MultiCare and in the South Sound for nearly 20 years. In her role at MultiCare, she plays a key role in fostering relationships with the community through programs such as the Center for Healthy Living, Adult Day Health, New Adventures Children’s Center and Tree House.  She is instrumental in ensuring that MultiCare has a proactive voice in community problem-solving on issues that affect the health of individuals and the community. Read more. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross,

Pullman Regional  Receives Grant for Women’s Center

Pullman Regional Hospital Foundation recently received a Rural Health Network Development Planning (NP) Grant to establish a community based Center for Women’s and Children’s Health. The Center will support new care delivery models that bring about long term improvement in overall population health, such as expand access to, coordinate and improve the quality of essential health care services and enhance the delivery of health care, in rural areas. Congratulations! (Beth Zborowski,

Lincoln County Public Hospital District #3 Boldly Leading the Way 

We are proud to announce that Lincoln County Public Hospital District #3 has received the 2014 BOLD Award, which stands for Best Organizations for Leadership Development. This award is given by the National Center for Healthcare (NCHL) as a way to recognize organizations that prepare their leaders to transform healthcare through evidence-based leadership development practices.

Lincoln County Public Hospital District #3 will receive formal recognition for this achievement at the inaugural BOLD luncheon held by NCHL on November 20-21 in Chicago.

For more information about this award, and about the impact Lincoln County Public Hospital District #3 is making in the community, visit the BOLD site or read the press release. (Beth Zborowski,

Fit-Friendly Worksites Encourage Healthy Physical Activity 

The American Heart Association recognizes Fit-Friendly worksites that engage their employees in living a healthy, more active lifestyle. While this list includes nationwide participants, we’d like to recognize our members who achieved this recognition:

  • CHI Franciscan Health System
  • Davis Wright Tremaine
  • First Choice Health
  • Group Health Cooperative
  • Harborview Medical Center
  • Harrison Medical Center
  • Miller Nash LLP
  • MultiCare Health System
  • Overlake Hospital Medical Center
  • PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center
  • Premera Blue Cross
  • Providence Health and Services
  • Providence Regional Medical Center
  • Providence St. Peter Hospital
  • Qualis Health
  • Seattle Children’s Hospital
  • Swedish Health Services at Ballard, Cherry Hill, Edmonds, First Hill, Issaquah
  • University of Washington Medical Center
  • Valley Medical Center
  • Virginia Mason Medical Center

To find more work sites in Washington that encourage walking and healthy lifestyles, or to recognize your own workplace as one, visit the Fit-Friendly website here. (Lilia Cabello Drain,


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