We knew this was going to be a tough and busy legislative session, and we have not been disappointed. We are proactively developing and advocating for more bills than ever before. Many of the bills we support are getting a good legislative response.
One of the bills we’re working hard to support is telemedicine – which we are thrilled to report has just passed the Senate unanimously. Payment for telemedicine services is critical to serving patients in Washington State, and the stories behind it are powerful.
Dr. Bryan King told the story of a severely autistic patient who lives in Yakima, and is being treated by specialists at the Seattle Children’s Autism Center. Travel is traumatic to this child and leads him to self-injury. Providing him services via telemedicine saves him and his family enormous stress and pain. (See TVW here, starting at 39 minutes.)
Several other bills are also making good progress, including work force flexibility, pre-packaged emergency medications, suspect and inmate care, and the fixes to the all-payer claims database.
Other issues, however, are very concerning. Nurse staffing bills are likely to move out of committee. A “Wellness Trust” would tax hospitals to fund public health. The proposed “extended stay” recovery centers would allow ambulatory surgery centers to care for patients who need 3 days of recovery, but without any of the responsibilities and regulations that govern hospitals.
We are very grateful for the members who come to Olympia to testify. These are important issues and your testimony helps lawmakers understand how their policies will affect your patients.
WSHA President and CEO
Soliant Health’s 6th annual list of the 20 Most Beautiful Hospitals includes two of our own members as having striking design and functionality. One of only four states to have more than a single hospital featured, the two Washington hospitals are Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center in Vancouver, Washington and Summit Pacific Medical Center in Elma, Washington.
At number 18, Legacy Salmon Creek Medical Center is commended for its beautiful central fountain and healing gardens, as well as an impressive grand piano in the main entrance. It provides a unique hospital experience by combining the latest in medicine and technology and blending them into a setting designed for care and comfort. Read more about the space and services here.
Summit Pacific Medical Center, at number 10, is praised for being designed for the future of health care, with a focus on providing a medical home for the community’s primary care and acute care needs.
Summit Pacific designed their hospital to meet the challenge of a changing health care system, and was also featured in a WSHA “Innovations in Rural Health Care” video. It’s a great one to watch.
We are excited to see member hospitals recognized for their design and functional innovations. These facilities show how design can be used to meet patients’ needs in all communities, by blending top-quality care with a soothing environment that supports patients’ recovery and healing. To read more about the list, click here. (Lilia Cabello Drain, firstname.lastname@example.org)
Getting New Blood: Puget Sound Blood Center now Bloodworks Northwest
Looking to honor their work saving lives far beyond Puget Sound and their wide range of research and medical expertise, as well as reflect the organization’s current direction, Puget Sound Blood Center has now changed its name to Bloodworks Northwest.
This name change also echoes Bloodworks NW commitment to high quality patient care, focusing on the fact that blood works miracles every day. The mission, staff, experts and services will remain the same, only now with a new name to usher in a time of innovation, improvement and continued excellence in meeting the needs of patients and families across the Northwest.
Frontline and Atul Gawande on Being Mortal
Frontline (PBS) teamed up with Atul Gawande to produce a show based on Gawande’s best seller, Being Mortal. The one hour film, as well as additional behind the scenes footage and information on how to discuss end of life decisions can be found here.
WSHA has long followed Gawande’s work, and he has spoken at WSHA patient safety program events. This book is an important one, and reinforces the work WSHA and the Washington State Medical Association are doing through Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest.
Peace of mind. Family harmony. Wishes honored. Quality care. These are the aspirations of Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest. The vision is to ensure everyone in Washington State receives care that honors personal values and goals at the end of life. This is a joint initiative of the Washington State Hospital Association and Washington State Medical Association.
Honoring Choices Pacific Northwest has also released a comprehensive new website, www.HonoringChoicesPNW.org, designed to help people create end-of-life care plans and guide them through sharing those plans with loved ones and health care providers. The resources and tools on the website are free and available to anyone. Health care professionals can also find valuable resources on the site and participate in trainings to prepare them for conversations around their desires on end-of-life care, recording patient wishes and ultimately honoring those choices.
For more information about what’s happening in Patient Safety, including the Medicaid Quality Incentive, data updates for www.WAHospitalQuality.org and more, visit the Patient Safety Newsletter. (Carol Wagner, email@example.com)
Inside Olympia Feature: Taxing Hospitals to Pay for Public Health is Unnecessary
Wellness Trust: HB 1946, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins, would tax hospitals at 6 percent of revenue to fund a “Wellness Trust.” The trust would be used to fund local public health departments and mental health services. This tax would be levied on revenue less charity care and community benefit spending. WSHA is strongly opposed to a new tax on hospitals to fund government services for public and mental health. The bill also fails to take into consideration the nearly $5 billion in cuts that hospitals are taking through the Affordable Care Act.
While hospitals and health systems often work with their local public health departments in successful partnership, hospitals cannot be the funding source for public health activities or mental health services. We must work together to find more sustainable ways to ensure the public has access to a wide range of services, long into the future.
Industry Partner Spotlight: Network Services Solutions
This week we would like to focus on one of our new Industry Partners, Network Services Solutions (NSS). NSS designs and offers Broadband services to single and multiple sites and delivers the highest secure speeds possible at the lowest possible cost. Their team specializes in streamlining and navigating the complicated USAC process especially funded programs, reducing the need for consulting services. World-Class Tier One Networks serviced by NSS support team 24×7. If you are interested in learning more about this service, please contact Paul Unsworth at firstname.lastname@example.org or (206) 577-1806.
“Critical Actions to Improving Organ Donation” conference on March 5
The United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS) is sponsoring a day of learning for all donation and transplantation professionals from Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Oregon, Montana and Washington on Thursday, March 5, at the Motif Seattle hotel in Seattle. National experts will address various aspects of the challenges and opportunities of donation in the patient care setting. Hospitals leaders can join organ procurement and transplant center leaders to learn the latest best practices to improve the donation experience for healthcare professionals and donor families. CEUs are included. For details visit here. (Deborah Swets, email@example.com)