While the counties in the Puget Sound region are at the center of the COVID-19 outbreak, the impact is being felt across the state. Hospitals of all sizes are expending resources they may not be reimbursed for. Some of our already financially vulnerable rural hospitals are on the brink of closure. WSHA is advocating at both the state and federal level to provide financial relief for hospitals. Some money is already out the door; we hope more will come soon.
Gov. Jay Inslee has hired retired Navy Vice Admiral Raquel Bono as Washington State director for COVID-19 Health System Response Management. Bono will advise the governor, his staff and state agencies on actions needed to address capacity and strain across the health care system. Several members of the WSHA senior leadership team met with Admiral Bono on her first day. We look forward to her leadership.
WSHA has been granted its first 1135 waiver and has submitted a second 1135 waiver request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). We requested additional waivers to certain Medicare Conditions of Participation, telehealth, home health, HIPAA security requirements, delivery of services in alternate clinic locations, flexibility for teaching hospitals, Medicaid/CHIP and timely filing requirements for billing. These waivers will allow Washington hospitals to focus their efforts on curtailing the spread of COVID-19. We will continue to share updates as we receive them
We are doing our best to remain in frequent communication with our members and other health care partners across the state. Please keep in touch, and know that we are so grateful for all you are doing.