Hospital leaders advocate with state leaders on difficult to discharge patients

December 17, 2020

In response to WSHA’s strong advocacy, key state leaders met last week with hospital leaders about difficult to discharge patients. State leaders included Health Care Authority Director Sue Birch, Department of Social and Health Services Secretary Cheryl Strange, and senior representatives from the Department of Health and the Governor’ Office. Hospital leaders clearly articulated the impact of patients who are stuck in acute care settings and the specific barriers to safe and timely discharge. Hospitals made specific asks for state leader action, including determination of which state agency has ownership of the issue. Below are the specific requests:

  • Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) capacity
    • Address local health jurisdiction closures of SNFs (DOH, local health jurisdictions)
    • Increase COVID+ patient capacity (DSHS, HCA, Governor’s Office)
    • Assist with SNF staffing (DSHS, Governor’s Office)
  • Adult Family Home (AFH) placement
    • Tackle DSHS process delays (DSHS, Governor’s Office)
    • Increase rates/incentives (DSHS, Governor’s Office)
  • DSHS surge funding
    • Expand winter surge funding (DSHS, HCA, Governor’s Office)
  • HCA/MCO role
    • Encourage uniformity across MCOs (HCA)

State leaders made several commitments to action and others to study the issue. WSHA will continue our advocacy for policy and budget solutions to address the problem of non-acute patients stuck in hospitals. This problem existed before the COVID pandemic and has only been exacerbated this year.


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