Preparing Hospital Staff for the Worst

September 11, 2014

You know how it works on an airplane. They tell you every single time: The oxygen masks will drop. Secure your own mask before assisting others.

They have to be that clear, that explicit and that repetitive because they know it’s counter to most parents’ instincts to first help their child. But the experience and the reality is true: You cannot help other people if you can’t breathe yourself.

Likewise, in a major disaster your staff may not be able to focus on taking care of patients if they are worried out of their minds about children, spouses, aging parents, and homes. In order for a hospital to provide continuous care for patients, each staff person must be personally prepared. Although parents of young children may feel this most acutely, every single staff person should at least have a plan for how they can communicate with loved ones.

Here at WSHA, we’ve been providing information and training to ensure our employees know what to do when experiencing an emergency … earthquakes, fire, flooding – we all face these issues, and want to make sure staff are able to not only know what to do, but be able to stay on the job, safely, knowing they have done what is necessary to prepare themselves and their families.

Scott Bond
WSHA President and CEO

Use these Resources to Get Ready 

Prepare. Plan. Stay Informed. provides answers for employees and employers. 
Review The National Safety Council’s “Journey to Safety Excellence.”

Tips for individual employees 

A workplace safety toolkit

Preparedness Activities from WSDOH

State’s Motion for Stay in CON Decision is Denied

On Friday, September 5, 2014, the Commissioner for the Washington State Supreme Court issued a ruling denying the Department of Health’s motion to stay a recent superior court decision that invalidated the department’s new rule expanding the scope of transactions subject to certificate of need review. WSHA strongly opposed the department’s request for a stay.

The next step in the case is for the Supreme Court to decide whether it will grant direct review of the superior court decision invalidating the department’s rule, or instead require the decision to be reviewed by an appellate court. The commissioner also urged the department to issue its opening brief by September 25 in order to facilitate a faster decision. In denying the stay, the court commissioner did so with the caveat that if hospitals wish to ask the department to consider whether a transaction is reviewable the department may apply its new rule. However, the department also must notify the hospital that the rule is currently invalidated by the superior court.

The department’s rule is not currently in effect, but WSHA strongly advises hospitals to consult with legal counsel prior to making a decision on how to move forward. If you have questions about the court’s ruling or the department of health’s rule please contact Taya Briley at 206-216-2554 or

Partnership for Patients Efforts Receive National Kudos

Three years ago, ninety-seven WSHA hospitals joined the National Partnership for Patients initiative and pledged to reduce hospital-acquired conditions by 40 percent and hospital readmissions by 20 percent by December 2014.

Under the direction of the WSHA Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) our members diligently tested, implemented and shared best practices and innovations for ensuring that no patient would receive harm under their care. Through collaboration and hard work they have transformed processes and practiced transparency with data and results.

WSHA’s results have been remarkable; in less than three years we have reached or exceeded goals in more than half of the measures – ultimately saving thousands of lives and millions of dollars.

Recently CMS evaluated each of the 26 HENs across the country, assigning points for goals reached as well as specific requirements set forth by the contract. We are pleased to say that WSHA is among the top performing HENs in the nation, achieving 91 points on the CMS Interim Report’s highest bar. The average HEN score was 88. We also achieved extra points in leadership.

You can find more information on the Partnership for Patients initiative here. (Rebecca Snyders,

Joint Commission Issues Alert on Tubing Misconnection Risk

Tubing misconnections are the root cause of too many episodes of patient harm. As the health care field transitions to new manufacturing standards for medical tubing connectors, The Joint Commission recently issued an alert containing updated recommendations and strategies to prevent tubing misconnections.

Developed by the International Organization for Standards, the new standards are expected to make tubing misconnections nearly impossible. However, old connectors will remain in the market until they are sold out, leading to potential confusion. Hospitals, long-term care facilities, home health providers and others that use medical tubing are urged to plan ahead for the October transition to the new connectors and remain alert for possible misconnections.

More information can be found on the Joint Commission Web site. (Rebecca Snyders,

Congress Enacts One-Year Moratorium on Physician Supervision

We are pleased to report, the US House of Representatives voted to extend the moratorium on enforcement of the physician supervision rules for therapeutic services in hospital outpatient departments until December 31, 2014. The Senate approved the measure in February. This new moratorium provides short-term relief for several Critical Access Hospitals. Unfortunately, it does not address the underlying issues raised by the CMS rule, which took effect January 1, 2014. Legislation will still be needed to address the long-term problem. (Chelene Whiteaker, or John Flink,

WSHA and AWPHD Express Concern to State About Proposed Regional Service Area Boundaries

WSHA and AWPHD sent a letter to the Washington State Health Care Authority this week expressing concerns about the state’s intent to designate proposed regional service areas (RSAs) for Medicaid purchasing.  WSHA and AWPHD are concerned that the boundaries of the RSAs do not support medical care referral patterns.  This is particularly worrisome in Cowlitz County and the Chelan-Douglas area.  WSHA and AWPHD asked the state to take care that the RSAs do not adversely affect the well-being of consumers or the effectiveness of future care delivery systems. (Zosia Stanley,

Franciscan Health System is Now CHI Franciscan Health

Effective September 1, Franciscan Health System has a new name and logo – it’s now called CHI Franciscan Health, a change that is part of a system-wide branding strategy by parent organization Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI).

Local hospital and clinic names will remain the same while simultaneously elevating the national brand across CHI’s far-reaching network. (Beth Zborowski,


Hospital Finance 101 Webcast on Friday September 19

The cost of health care delivery is an issue that causes confusion and frustration for patients, lawmakers and the hospitals themselves. This webinar is an opportunity 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.

We’ll cover a broad variety of topics related to health care costs, including payment rates, payment structures, charity care, community benefits, Medicaid expansion, the Affordable Care Act, emerging new payment models, health care in rural areas, cost and quality transparency, and more!

For more information and to participate, visit the WSHA Webcast page here. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross,

Introduction to Healthier Hospitals Initiative Webcast on Tuesday September 23

In order to provide practical support for the strategic goals of our member hospitals, the Washington State Hospital Association has become a supporting organization of the Healthier Hospitals Initiative. HHI is a national initiative that helps hospitals improve their environmental stewardship in order to achieve the Triple Aim: better care for individuals, better health for populations and the reduction of per capita costs.

At no cost to hospitals, HHI provides proven strategies, step-by-step roadmaps and a network of experts and mentors to help hospitals reduce energy and waste, choose safer and less toxic products, and purchase and serve healthier foods.

WSHA’s role is in this is to educate hospitals about how they can benefit from these initiatives. To expand on these benefits and continue the conversation about the Healthier Hospitals Initiative, WSHA is hosting a webcast open to CEOs, administrators and operations and/or facilities staff. The webcast will take place Tuesday, September 23 from 12-1pm. To participate, visit the WSHA Webcasts page here.

Click here to learn more about HHI, including the list of participating Washington State hospitals. (Katie Holmes,

2014 WHPAC Campaign Update and Appreciation Dinner October 15

The 2014 WHPAC is underway. To date, we have raised almost $54,000 toward our $170,000 goal.

Still early in the campaign, we have four members that have reached their goal. Congratulations to Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics, North Valley Hospital, Othello Community Hospital and Overlake Medical Center! We look forward to seeing how many members reach their 2014 goal. There is still plenty of time remaining in the campaign.

In other PAC news, we are looking forward to the upcoming PAC Appreciation Dinner on Wednesday, October 15, as part of WSHA’s 82nd Annual Meeting. The dinner will again be at El Gaucho Restaurant, one of Seattle’s premier restaurants, located within walking distance of the Annual Meeting. It is an excellent opportunity to visit and connect with your colleagues from around the state.

This year, we will feature “Wine Wars,” with a three-course dinner accompanied by blind wine pours during each course. One of the wines will be a Northwest wine and the other will be a California wine. Using a handheld voting device, each attendee will select the preferred wines, and the El Gaucho sommeliers will teach us about what we tasted.

We do expect this event to sell out. If you would like more information about the PAC Appreciation Dinner, please contact Lori Martinez, PAC and Legislative Manager. We would also like to say thank you to Coverys for their generous sponsorship of our PAC Appreciation Dinner. Their ongoing support of our PAC has been instrumental in enabling us to use your PAC contributions to directly support candidates running for office. (Lori Martinez,

Reminder: 82nd Annual Meeting, “Embracing Disruptive Change in Health Care,” October 15-16

We’re pleased to feature some outstanding speakers at this year’s annual meeting.  Ken Kaufman, Chairman of the national health care consulting firm Kaufman Hall, will address key components for organizational success in “Crossing the Great Divide.” Tony Armada, who took the helm of Swedish Health Services last fall, will share his national activist perspective on “Reflecting and Serving our Increasingly Diverse Communities.”  Additionally, Dan Diamond, MD, an international expert on disaster response, will provide insights into the kinds of people who best survive major disasters and disruptive change. We hope you will join us for the full program!  Click here for more information about the guest speakers, and click here to register for the meeting.

If you need a hotel, please contact the Edgewater Hotel (800-624-0670) as soon as possible to take advantage of WSHA’s room block, which is filling fast. Note that this room block will be released on Monday, September 22 and rates will increase. The Marriott Waterfront Hotel is sold out.

This meeting is the largest annual gathering of hospital leadership in Washington State.  Don’t miss this opportunity to learn from experts, share best practices and enhance relationships with your colleagues. If you have any questions, please contact Event Manager, Cynthia Hay. (Cynthia Hay,


Contact Us

Washington State Hospital Association
999 Third Avenue
Suite 1400
Seattle, WA 98104

Map / Directions

206.281.7211 phone
206.283.6122 fax

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