Recognizing Leadership

December 11, 2014

Today I’m taking the opportunity to recognize a great leader who is leaving our state. For the last 19 years, Joan Baird-Glover has served on the Board of Commissioners for Kittitas County Public Hospital District No. 1.  This week, she announced that she and her husband, Fritz, are returning to their roots in Texas.  For the 26 years Joan has been in our state, she’s made a mark on the community of Ellensburg, rural health in Washington State, and here at WSHA.

Joan embodies the best in hospital board leadership. Board members sit in tenuous position: they represent their communities with in the hospital, but they are also the leaders and key decision makers for their organization. Joan has mastered this role dual role of holding the organization accountable for what it does within its community, while also being an ambassador to the community.

Joan’s professional background is in health care public relations and she brought a sensibility of the importance of relationships and open communication to her role as a board member. Perhaps her most enduring mark in Ellensburg will be her role in creating a Joint Board of Health in Kittitas County—ensuring that the local public health department and her public hospital district have been coordinating where it makes sense for the past twenty years.

Joan has also been an incredible leader with WSHA – serving on numerous committees and the WSHA board for the last fifteen years. She is one of the first names we think of when putting together an expert panel on governance or on being an effective leader for rural health care.  She is fearless and diplomatic in stating a key question, in the pivotal moment, in many a thorny health care policy discussion. Joan’s significant impact was recognized in 2013 when she became the first and only hospital Board member named as a recipient of the Joe Hopkins award.

Finally, Joan is unfailing gracious and loyal. We were lucky to have such a champion working with us. We wish her well on the next chapter of her life yet we are so sad to see her go.
Scott Bond
WSHA President and CEO

WSHA 2015 Legislative Priorities

WSHA’s 2015 Legislative agenda was passed by its board of trustees today. The agenda expressed the priority issues of hospitals and health systems for the 2015 legislative session.

“Mental health is our top priority in both policy and budget areas,” said Cassie Sauer, WSHA’s Senior Vice President of Advocacy and Government Affairs. “There are very real improvements we can make to improve care for the people in our state who need us.”
Another theme of the priorities is that of improving the flexibility of health care delivery.
“The Affordable Care Act is helping to drive changes that will increase the value of health care: high quality at lower cost,” Sauer said. “Hospitals are working with their communities to meet local needs through affiliations, workforce flexibility, telemedicine and the maintenance of access to clinics.”

The entire agenda can been read online at:  (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross,

Bree Collaborative Addiction and Dependence Treatment Report – Public Comment Requested

Your feedback is requested on the Bree Collaborative’s draft report and recommendations on Addiction and Dependence Treatment. The report recommends implementing a number of evidence-based recommendations for hospitals from alcohol and drug misuse screening for all patients in the ED to increased staff training on brief intervention and treatment. We encourage you to submit comments which must be received by 5pm on Friday, December 26th, 2014. Once adopted, the Collaborative will submit the report to the Washington State Health Care Authority who can elect to use the report’s recommendations to inform purchasing for Medicaid and state employee programs.

WSHA supports efforts to address addiction and dependency related issues and appreciates the Collaborative’s attention to this important topic area. For more detailed information contact Ian Corbridge, or (206) 216-2514.

Web Cast Reminder: Psychiatric Boarding and the Aftermath of the Supreme Court Case

Are you ready for December 26 when the Supreme Court’s stay of its decision expires for the use of single bed certifications to board psychiatric patients without treatment? WSHA will hold two webcasts to help hospitals prepare for the impact of the decision and the new emergency rule set be released this Friday, December 12.  For dates, times and connection information, click here. (Chelene Whiteaker,

Agreement on FY 2015 Funding and Ebola Relief

Congress this week took a major step toward closing out the year with an agreement on legislation to fund federal agencies through September 30. It also includes about $5.4 billion in emergency Ebola relief.

For hospitals, the bottom line is that this bill contains a lot of items we pushed during the past few weeks, including Ebola preparedness, patient treatment and training of hospital workers at risk of exposure. The bill also appropriates $41.6 million for the Rural Hospital Flexibility Grant program, virtually the same as in FY 2014, and $14.9 million for telehealth.

The House is expected to vote on the measure tomorrow. The Senate will take it up late tomorrow or no later than the weekend. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, the Budget Committee chair and a member of the Democratic leadership, Sen. Murray helped shape the bill. We met with her staff several times during the past three weeks to ensure she understood the priorities of Washington hospitals. Scott also worked closely with the state health department to identify our specific funding needs. (John W. Flink, (406) 439-1698)

Keeping Pace With Member Changes

WSHA members have announced a lot of changes recently. Here are a few you may have missed:

  • East Adams Rural Hospital in Ritzville is now East Adams Rural Healthcare.
  • Franciscan Health System, based in Tacoma, has been renamed as CHI Franciscan Health.  CHI Franciscan Health is part of Catholic Health Initiatives, based in Denver, Colorado, one of the nation’s largest health systems.
  • After being located in Tukwila for 20 years, Regional Hospital for Respiratory & Complex Care moved their hospital to share a campus with Highline Medical Center in Burien. The two organizations continue as separate entities.
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital in Yakima and Virginia Mason Medical Center in Seattle are pursuing a formal affiliation agreement wherein Memorial would become part of the Virginia Mason Health System.
  • Valley General Hospital in Monroe will become EvergreenHealth Monroe in March 2015, as a result of finalizing their alliance agreement with EvergreenHealth, which is based in Kirkland.

The pace of change continues.  We ask that members continue to keep us informed as new changes develop!  (Danielle Kean,

Industry Partner Spotlight: Background Investigations, Inc.

WSHA members can now access comprehensive background checks at a reduced price through Washington Hospital Service’s new Industry Partner Background Investigations, Inc.

Most background check companies do a three state check for new employees, Background Investigations, Inc. includes seven states in their standard search. Background Investigations, Inc. stays on top of legal changes that can lead to compliance issues for employers.  Recently, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and Consumer Protection Act added requirements for employers before consumer reports can be ordered on potential employees.  In addition to federal changes, there are also state mandates governing credit checks on potential employees.  Background check vendors who do not stay on top of the changing requirements leave employers in a very vulnerable position.

Background Investigation, Inc’s track record, expanded search offering, and reasonable pricing are just a few of the reasons Background Investigations, Inc. was selected for the Industry Partners program. If you would like to learn more about this partner please contact Paul Unsworth at WHS at or call (206) 639-9600.


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