We are stronger together

May 31, 2017

One of WSHA’s greatest strengths is its ability to convene members and different groups to collaborate and solve problems together. Just last week, we were able to use this strength again.

On May 24, WSHA hosted a large meeting with representatives from the regional Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) and member hospitals from across the state to collaboratively address health challenges that impact all of Washington State.

The ACHs — which are nine regions established to address local health challenges — are all required to submit project applications to the state by October. These applications will be the basis for awarding more than $900 million in additional funds over the next five years. Two of the areas they must address are the opioid crisis and integration of behavioral health into primary care. Our recent meeting addressed both these key topics.

While there are important differences in the needs and resources among the ACHs, there are also common issues. Our discussion focused on whether there are common elements of a solution that could be implemented in every region. Not only does working together allow for the possibility that we’re all addressing these challenges in a similar way, but it also allows for solutions, such as work force challenges and data infrastructure, that can only be addressed at a statewide level.

By working in unison, we can promote larger and perhaps more meaningful change that will benefit all our state’s residents. Adoption of some common elements across ACHs will also allow health systems which span multiple regions to adopt the same practices at all its locations, and patients will find consistent treatment wherever they may be.

As we continue working on these shared ideas, we will continue convening groups like these. While health care is local, we have found that as a state, we also can be stronger together.


Claudia Sanders
WSHA Senior Vice President, Policy Development


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