On Monday, the state Department of Health announced that eight hospitals in our state have committed to providing treatment to a patient with Ebola, should the need arise. While all health facilities are screening patients, actually treating Ebola is a bigger challenge that requires weeks of preparation.
On Tuesday, Ebola was also the topic of a legislative briefing. Kathy Lofy, M.D., the state’s health officer, and Carol Wagner, RN, WSHA’s Senior Vice President for Patient Safety, spoke to a joint session of the state’s Senate and House health committees about the preparedness work being done by DOH and the hospitals. Read the article here.
There is still work to be done, but Washington should be extremely proud of the hospitals and the physicians, nurses and many others who provide such excellent care for our patients. I also appreciate the DOH’s leadership. Their response to this disease has been thoughtful, thorough, inclusive and highly professional. It’s been an honor to work with them.
Another WSHA partnership continues to get attention: ER is for Emergencies. Earlier this week, Carol Wagner joined Susan Callahan from WSMA, Daniel Lessler, M.D. from the Health Care Authority, and Stephen Anderson, M.D., from the Washington Chapter of the American College of Emergency Physicians and other panelists to talk to a delegation from the National Governor’s Association. By working together, these organizations were able to find ways to improve emergency services and save the state $33.6 million dollars.
Our state’s best practices are becoming a model for the nation, and that would not have been possible without everyone being willing to come together and build a road forward.
WSHA President and CEO
Telemedicine Hearing a Success in Olympia
Key legislative leaders of the state Senate and House participated in a work session to learn more about telemedicine this week. Cara Towle, RN, Director, Telehealth Services of UW Medicine and Donna Russell-Cook, President of St. Elizabeth Hospital did an excellent job describing the care improvements for patients from telemedicine technology and the continuing need for legislation. Telemedicine legislation continues to be a top priority of the Washington State Hospital Association. WSHA has heard from our members that reimbursement inconsistencies continue to be the biggest barrier in the adoption and application of telemedicine. (Chelene Whiteaker, firstname.lastname@example.org)
The New Blue “H”
In the past year, the Department of Health and the WSHA brought together a group of stakeholders to examine barriers and opportunities for maintaining and improving access to health care services in rural communities. Titled “The New Blue H,” the group examined the changing role of rural hospitals in the context of the broader health delivery system to address concerns over access to care for rural populations. The group’s final report proposes new models of care and makes targeted payment and regulatory recommendations across the continuum of care. The full report is available on WSHA’s website here. (Jacqueline Barton True, email@example.com)
Finalizing the Statewide Performance Measures Set
The Governor-appointed Performance Measures Coordinating Committee approved a draft set of performance measures. The Committee is accepting public comments on the measures through November 21, 2014. WSHA will be submitting comments in support of the initiative and recommended measures while offering targeted comments in an effort to clarify or enhance the starter set.
We encourage you to submit comments directly to firstname.lastname@example.org.
This statewide core set of measures was established under the state’s health care transformation effort as part of ESHB 2572 and will ultimately inform statewide purchasing, cost benchmarking and quality improvement. WSHA staff represented hospitals on the Committee and on the three technical workgroups who reviewed and recommend measures. For background information, refer to the July 11 WSHA Bulletin. (Ian Corbridge, email@example.com)
Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group Seeking Primary Care Providers Responses
The Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group (ADWG) is seeking feedback on challenges and practices around cognitive screening, assessment and diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias. This input will help to frame strategies and recommendations in a state plan.
You can help by completing a brief survey or by sharing the link with other primary health care providers. All responses are anonymous and will provide the ADWG with key information to shape strategic plans and policies to address the impact of Alzheimer’s and other dementias. This flyer provides additional information about the project. Click here for more information on the Alzheimer’s Disease Working Group. (Deborah Swets, firstname.lastname@example.org)
2014 WHPAC Continues to Make Progress
The 2014 WHPAC continues to make great progress. Since our last update, we have had a couple more members reach their individual hospital goals. Congratulations to the leadership teams at Morton General Hospital and Samaritan Healthcare for reaching their 2014 goal. For a full list of the hospital leadership teams that have met goal, please click here.
With the importance of the elections, your contributions play a critical role in allowing us to support the campaigns for hospital and health care champions. We truly appreciate all the PAC contributions receive – large and small.
Even with the great success our campaign has realized so far, we still have more than half of our member hospital/health system leadership teams that have not yet met goal. Please let us know how we can help you. Contact your PAC liaison to inquire about having a WSHA representative do a presentation to your leadership and board members or if you need more brochures sent to you.
We look forward to seeing how many more members reach the goal in this final stretch of our campaign. (Lori Martinez, email@example.com)
EvergreenHealth and Valley General Hospital Finalize Alliance Agreement
EvergreenHealth and Valley General Hospital announced today that their respective Boards of Commissioners have voted to approve the third and final phase of an alliance agreement in which Valley General Hospital in Monroe, Washington will become part of the Kirkland-based health care system and managed by EvergreenHealth.
As part of the agreement, Valley General Hospital will change its name to EvergreenHealth Monroe effective March 1, 2015.
Valley General’s Board of Commissioners ratified the agreement on Nov. 13, 2014 by a unanimous vote. EvergreenHealth and Valley General entered into an affiliation agreement in late 2012 in which EvergreenHealth committed to working more closely with Valley General, locating additional physicians in Monroe and sharing some core services. This latest agreement results in Valley General being fully integrated with EvergreenHealth, including changing its name to EvergreenHealth Monroe. Read more.