Protecting Patient Information

March 19, 2015

Tuesday, Premera Blue Cross announced that it was a victim of a cyberattack that affected the data of 11 million people, going back to 2002. The Mountlake Terrace company has increased their IT security and is working with the Federal Bureau of Investigation to find the source and scale of the attack. Although they do not believe any information was removed from their system, they are actively reaching out to all 11 million people who may have been affected—both patients and providers.
Read more at their website:
The digital world is offering us many important and necessary improvements to our lives: telemedicine will support patients close to home, for example, and electronic medical records ensure that lifesaving information is available to patients in any care setting. But there are also daily reminders of the risks. One day it’s Neiman Marcus and Target in the news; today it’s Premera; tomorrow it might be you.
Our patients trust us with their very lives, and our decade-long patient safety work is a testament to how seriously we take that trust. We must be similarly vigilant about the patient information that we hold.

Scott Bond
WSHA President and CEO




Swedish Partners with Kindred Healthcare to Provide TeleICU Program Services

Kindred Hospital Seattle First Hill recently began using Swedish’s TeleICU system to provide an additional layer of safety and care for patients in its six-bed ICU unit. 

Read the news story here.

Using two-way cameras and audio feeds, TeleICU allows remote care teams to conduct rounds, provide services and support ICU nurses. Early warning software collects information about blood pressure, heart rate, oxygen saturation, medication orders and X-rays to give the TeleICU teams vital information to monitor each patient’s status closely, along with onsite caregivers.

Telehealth is a crucial tool in building a quality, affordable health system for the future. Ensuring payment predictability for hospitals and clinics has been a legislative priority for WSHA for the last several years, and the telemedicine bill that we are supporting is moving forward through the legislature. See our legislative priorities page for more. (

Inside Olympia: Focus on Mental Health Bills

Mental health is a top policy and budget priority for WSHA this year, and for legislators as well. The Supreme Court case on psychiatric boarding helped bring the issue to the forefront, and a record number of bills on the subject have been introduced.

However, funding all the new policy bills is a big challenge: combined, the price tag is about $50 million when fully implemented. This is on top of the $50 million that WSHA strongly supports already contained in the Governor’s budget for new inpatient community beds and a new ward at Western State Hospital, among other changes. WSHA is also strongly supporting a capital budget request to help pay for the construction cost of new mental health facilities.

Keep reading for our take on some of the major mental health bills. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross)

Northwest Regional Telehealth Conference in Seattle, March 31-April 1

The Northwest Regional Telehealth Resource Center (NRTRC) is holding its fourth annual Regional Telehealth Conference at the Hyatt Olive 8 hotel in Seattle on March 31 – April 1, 2015.

Conference speakers, including WSHA Policy Director Chelene Whiteaker, will address the clinical, administrative and technical issues around telehealth implementation.

Telehealth 101 is a popular look into the mechanics of starting or expanding a telehealth network. An exhibit hall will feature a wide array of telehealth equipment and service providers ready to show the latest industry-standards. In addition, the conference offers an opportunity for attendees to network with telehealth providers from NRTRC’s seven-state region. Click here for more information on the conference and for continuing education credit information. (Chelene Whiteaker)

Washington Center for Nursing Announces New Executive Director

The Washington Center for Nursing, the statewide nonprofit nursing workforce center, has announced the selection of Sofia Aragon JD, BSN, RN as its new executive director. Aragon, who was hired after a nationwide search, will begin at WCN on April 1.

“The WCN Board of Directors is excited and pleased to bring Sofia on board as our new executive director,” said Board President Victoria Fletcher MSN, ARNP, FACNM. “Sofia’s background and experience will be a great asset in moving forward the work of WCN benefitting nurses in the state and WCN’s many partners.”

Read more here.

Hospital Presumptive Eligibility Training Now Available Online

Online training for Hospital Presumptive Eligibility (HPE) is now available from the Washington State Health Care Authority. HPE allows a hospital to enroll someone in Medicaid for up to 60 days with minimal information from the client. More information on the program is available here. Hospitals must be registered with HCA to be eligible to participate in HPE. If your hospital has not yet signed up for this program or has questions, please contact Maggie Clay, HPE Program Manager, at  (Zosia Stanley).

Industry Partner BESLER Consulting Offers Free Webinar on Reducing Readmissions

Washington Hospital Services Industry Partner, BESLER Consulting, is conducting a webinar exploring the impact of readmissions and what can be done to prevent them. WSHA members are invited to attend this free webinar.

Join Dr. Edward Niewiadomski, Senior Medical Advisor with BESLER Consulting on March 24, 2015 at 9:00 a.m. to explore the impact of Medicare readmission penalties on hospitals and current strategies to reduce excess readmissions. Learn how to use data from the QualityNet Hospital-Specific report to identify and understand current readmission patterns of the five core measures used to calculate the HRRP penalty.

You’ll also hear about how to develop a comprehensive readmissions tool kit to address medication reconciliation, patient/family education, provider communication and risk stratification. REGISTER NOW!

Are your Annual Wellness Visits in Compliance?

The Annual Wellness Visit is one of the first standardized screening examinations put forward by The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS.) While the program represents an exciting new opportunity to improve patient outcomes while gaining revenue, participation comes with compliance requirements. During the 30 minute wellness visit, providers must establish a medical/family history, take vitals, detect cognitive impairment, review potential risk factors, perform a functional capacity evaluation, safety analysis as well as a Depression and Anxiety screening. Based on the screening results, providers then develop a risk factor analysis, a screen plan for the next 5 – 10 years and provide the patient with a personalized health advice document.

Washington Hospital Services Industry Partner WellTrackONE is helping WSHA members navigate these new opportunities by streamlining these visits while ensuring your organization is in compliance. Contact Bill Archer, for a 15-minute demo to learn how.


Contact Us

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

Map / Directions

206.281.7211 phone
206.283.6122 fax

Staff List