Weekly Report for April 16, 2015 – Washington Hospitals Services Growing to Serve You

April 16, 2015

Guest Message from Tom Evert, President of Washington Hospital Services and CFO of WSHA

For thirty years, Washington Hospital Services has given WSHA members a place to pursue projects and services that fall outside of the association’s charter. For much of that time, WHS administered worker’s compensation and unemployment claims management services. In the last few years, however, WHS has been growing to respond to changing member needs. Here are some of our recent expansions:

  • In January, we launched an Absence Management program to handle medical leaves for members. This service is managed by an expert in compliance with leave laws and unburdens Human Resources offices.
  • We are assisting members in evaluating the potential benefits of setting up a liability insurance pool.
  • We are piloting a new credentialing service that will be launched later this year.
  • In February we took over the administration of Peer Review Services from the Rural Healthcare Quality Network. Thanks to the excellent work of staff, we’ve retained all of our peer review physicians and 36 hospital clients. This month we  expanded the service to Alaska.
  • Over the last two years we’ve reinvigorated our vendor endorsement program known as the Industry Partner program, growing from two partners to 20. We’re working to bring on new partners who offer innovative solutions to emerging issues and changing policies. You can check out all our industry partners by visiting www.wahospitalservices.com/resources

Throughout all of our work, we’re moving to align our offerings with WSHA and respond quickly to member needs. That alignment extends to our staff, with our new executive director Beth Zborowski, coming from the ranks of WSHA. We hope you are as excited as we are about how Washington Hospital Services is growing to serve you. We look forward to working with you in the years to come and always welcome your ideas and feedback.

Thank you,

Tom Evert
Tom Evert
President, Washington Hospital Services
Chief Financial Officer, Washington State Hospital Association



PeaceHealth Southwest Offers Nation’s No. 2 Rated Diet, Reflects Change in Hospital Priorities

A weight-loss program offered by WSHA member PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center was recently ranked the No. 2 Weight-Loss Diet in U.S. News & World Report’s Best Diets of 2015. The program, Weight Loss for Life, created by HMR Weight Management Services (HMR), focuses on integrating diet, physical activity, and healthy lifestyle skills through weekly coaching.

The success of the program is a testament to the work being done with the Healthier Hospitals Initiative (HHI), a national campaign designed to lead change in the health care sector by helping hospitals adopt more sustainable practices in their day-to-day operations. These changes can impact everything from using leaner energy, to less waste, or healthier food.

By providing healthy, flavorful meals that assist dieters in shedding pounds, PeaceHealth Southwest’s Weight Loss for Life program is taking care of people, and improving the overall health of our communities. For more information about how your hospital can participate in the HHI initiative, contact Katie Holmes (katieh@wsha.org).

Washington Hospital Services Welcomes New Leader

Washington Hospital Services is pleased to announce Beth Zborowski as its new Executive Director. Beth is a familiar face to WSHA members, having served as the association’s communication director for seven years. She brings a wealth of experience working directly with members on policy and patient safety, including leading the development of the www.wahospitalquality.org website.

Beth has a background in health care marketing and holds a Master in Health Administration. She brings a passion for WSHA members and serving health care organizations. (Tom Evert)


Webcast: Increasing Practice Revenues with the Annual Wellness Visit and WellTrackONE

In 2014 Medicare began to reimburse for a routine examination called the Annual Wellness Visit. According to CMS, fewer than 11% of healthcare systems are performing this examination correctly and receiving the increased reimbursement that has been made available. Join us on Tuesday, April 21 at noon to learn how the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit can benefit your patients while creating a new source of revenue. WHS Industry Partner WellTrackONE will share:
  • The revenue advantages of the Annual Wellness Visit program for your organization
  • The difference between the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit and an annual physical
  • WellTrackONE’s proprietary Clinical Triggers and how they enhance care plans and hospital reimbursements
  • How WellTrackONE supports Population Health Management

To attend, please complete the online registration. After you register, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar. To learn more about the Industry Partners Program, please visit www.wahospitalservices.com/resources (Beth Zborowski)


Registration Open! WSHA & AWPHD Rural Hospital Leadership Conference

Registration is open for WSHA and AWPHD’s popular Rural Hospital Leadership Conference.

This year’s theme is Driving Value: Better Care, Smarter Spending, Healthier People, topics that get right to the heart of our central challenges.

We’re thrilled to bring to you the following featured speakers:
Maureen Swan, President, MedTrend, Inc.
Todd Linden, President and CEO, Grinnell Regional Medical Center, Grinnell, IA
Lauren Taylor, Co-author of the American Healthcare Paradox

Register here, and for more information, contact Cynthia Hay.

There is Still Time to Enroll for Health Insurance

Anyone who had trouble signing up for insurance in Washington Healthplanfinder or who recently learned about the tax penalty for not having health insurance can enroll now at www.wahealthplanfinder.org through Friday, April 17, 2015.  Washington Healthplanfinder has created a new video urging Washingtonians to enroll in health insurance coverage by the April 17th deadline. (Zosia Stanley)


SGR Permanent Fix Passes the Senate

On Tuesday, the U.S. Senate has voted 92-8 to pass the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (H.R. 2). Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell both voted in favor of the bill. The legislation permanently replaces the Medicare physician sustainable growth rate formula. The American Hospital Association has indicated President Obama will sign the bill.

Of the $210 billion 10-year estimated cost for the entire package, only $70 billion would be paid for, and less than $22 billion of that sum would come from cuts to hospitals. Those cuts, according to the AHA, would come primarily from modifications to the way annual updates are made beginning in 2018. We are very pleased that site-neutral payment cuts to hospital outpatient services, cuts in Medicare payments for graduate medical education, cuts to critical access hospitals, and bad debt reductions are not included in the legislation. There is also no further delay in ICD-10 implementation. (Chelene Whiteaker, and John Flink)

Inside Olympia: Work Continuing on Safety Net Assessment

The WSHA board confirmed its support for the House version of the hospital safety net assessment program and its opposition to the Senate version. The Senate proposal is significantly worse for hospitals and does not meet the requests the WSHA board made on how this program should be structured.

See our one-pager comparing the House and Senate assessment proposals.

WSHA staff was able to meet with Senate staff last week to clarify the Senate proposal for the hospital safety net program. In comparison to the House version, the Senate proposal increases the assessment on hospitals above the levels it has been previously and then takes an additional $47 million over the biennium for the state. It also diverts $20 million of the biennial hospital benefits to support additional residency slots. While WSHA supports adding funds for more residencies, we believe this program should be supported through the state general fund.

For more on the assessment and other legislative news, visit this week’s Inside Olympia. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross)


The Alliance: Quality Reports for Eastern Washington Medical Groups Underway

Work has begun on the next Community Checkup public report to be published this fall by the Washington Health Alliance. This next report will display quality results for medical groups and clinics in Ellensburg, Wenatchee, Chelan, Yakima and Tri-Cities. In advance of the new reports, the Alliance is holding public meetings May 4–6 in these communities to talk about the Alliance and public reporting of health care quality and to learn more about local quality improvement efforts. Invitations are going out right now for these meetings.Read their newsletter item about it here.

If you are interested in attending, please contact John Gallagher, Director of Communication and Development for the Alliance. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross)

Cybersecurity Conference in May Addresses Health Care Data Security

With two of the three largest data breaches in health care industry history occurring in the past six months, WSHA and Premera are providing you with an opportunity to engage with – and learn from – others working on health care data security from around Washington state.

This half-day conference will focus on the timely, important topic of health care data security and cyberattacks. It is to take place Wednesday May 13 from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Seattle Airport Marriott. Find more information and register online here. Space is limited, so please register early. For questions contact Cindy Skinner (206) 577-1816.


DOH Final Public Meeting on Proposed Changes to Hospital Construction Standards Rules

The Department of Health (DOH) has published a CR-102 with proposed changes to hospital licensing construction standards in Chapter 246-320 WAC. This proposed final rule changes have been in the works since July 2014. More information on the rule development process can be found here.

A public meeting to discuss the proposed changes is scheduled for May 7, 2015 from 10 am to 12 pm at 243 Israel Rd. S.E., Town Center 3, Room 224, Tumwater, WA 98501. (Zosia Stanley)


Healthier Washington Convenes Leadership Network

The Health Innovation Leadership Network’s first meeting set the expectation that the participants will help drive culture change and dialogue in their communities, and provide the state with feedback on its innovation work. The Leadership Network members agreed to identify at least three venues in the community to communicate the state’s plan in the next six weeks. The Leadership Network was created to accelerate and communicate the state’s implementation of Healthier Washington.

Shortly, WSHA will be convening an advisory group to help guide the association in the Healthier Washington transformation. Invited participants will include the Leadership Network and hospital leaders active in their Accountable Communities of Health. Invited participants will include the Leadership Network hospital members and hospital leaders active in their Accountable Communities of Health. The Leadership Network is a Governor appointed group made up of fifty members from health care, includes several hospital and health system leaders– Mike Glenn from Jefferson Healthcare, Tom Martin from Lincoln Hospital, Kathleen Paul from Virginia Mason Medical Center, Peter Rutherford from Confluence Health, Preston Simmons from Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, and Johnese Spisso from the University of Washington Medical Center. (Chelene Whiteaker)

Industry Partner Spotlight: SunRx

Washington Hospital Services Industry Partner  SUNRx is the nation’s leading provider of  Pharmacy 340b services. Their program is designed to maximize revenue while ensuring uninsured and underinsured patients get the lowest cost available on their medications. SunRx is the only 340b provider endorsed by 27 hospital associations  and is the solution of choice for national programs such as the Safety Net Hospitals for Pharmaceutical Access and Apexus To learn more about the opportunities this partnership can offer your organization please contact Mike Roberts (406) 266-1062.


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