Weekly Report for February 5, 2015 – A New View of Health Care

February 5, 2015

Scott Bond

Our Board of Trustees has set for WSHA a tremendous challenge in our strategic plan: Lead the transformation of health care in collaboration with key partners to improve the health of the population of Washington, enhance the care experience, and reduce cost.

As we have learned from the success in our patient safety work, the first thing you do is get everyone in the room. Our March population health conference is a great opportunity to do that. The organizational sponsors are top-notch, and the agenda covers such pressing topics as data, mental health, chronic care management, diabetes, and preventive care.

This is tremendously exciting work, and we have great partners in it. The future of health care has all the different parts working together: public health departments with hospitals with clinics with home health care with primary care. Everyone brings their expertise, everyone interacts so that the patient’s experience is seamless.

A lot of really innovative work is already happening at the local level as local providers find new ways to serve their communities. It’s also working at the state level, with the Healthier Washington work. We are excited to be working with our members and our organizational partners to take on these challenges.

Scott signature

Scott Bond
WSHA President and CEO

Samaritan Healthcare Highlighted for Community Outreach

Samaritan Healthcare in Moses Lake was recently featured in the American Hospital Association’s report entitled Community Connections, which focused on the annual community health fair held by Samaritan offering educational booths with information on blood donation, diabetes, mammography, smoking cessation and childbirth classes. The health fair is also notable in that it provides low-cost and free preventative screenings that encourage community members to be engaged in the conversations regarding their physical well-being.

By highlighting the innovative and valuable ways in which Samaritan provides healthcare services that meet the community’s needs, the American Hospital Association is recognizing one of our own members for being outstanding in the field of medicine, and ensuring every patient receives quality care.

Community outreach efforts by Samaritan also include a speaker’s bureau, community activities, and the Masto Health Library. Click here for more information about Samaritan Healthcare.

Population Health Meets Medical Care: Breaking the Silos

WSHA and member hospitals are committed to providing top-quality care to all patients. The next level of commitment is becoming clear: We must lead the transformation of health care in collaboration with our partners to improve the health of the population of Washington, enhance the care experience, and reduce cost.

With that in mind, we have joined together with the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials, the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice, University of Washington, WSMA and AWPHD to put on conference. We look forward to seeing you there.

To learn more about the conference or to register, visit the events page or contact Claudia Sanders. (Claudia Sanders, 206/216-2508)

Final Stretch for Open Enrollment on the Exchange

This year’s open enrollment period will close on February 15, 2015. While Medicaid-eligible patients will still be able to use www.wahealthplanfinder.org to enroll in AppleHealth, most of the people enrolling in commercial insurance will lose their opportunity until the next open enrollment period.
Despite more than 40,000 new enrollees this year, enrollment and renewal for qualified health plans (commercial plans) is slower than hoped. In light of the upcoming deadline, however, the Exchange is doing enrollment events in public places across the state, and extending call center hours into the evening and weekends through February 15.

How are your enrollment activities going? Let us know if you’re having great success or encountering major barriers. Read the entire Bulletin for more information about outreach and enrollment activities. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, 206/216-2894)

Busy Week in Olympia!

The pedal is definitely to the metal this session! This week was a full week of hearings on bills related to hospitals and health care. There were bills on:

  • Psychiatric boarding
  • Pre-Pack Medication
  • Hospital Safety Net Assessment
  • Nurse Staffing bills
  • Extended Stay (specialty hospitals)
  • and believe it or not, much more! 

How can you stay informed? Read and subscribe to Inside Olympia! It comes out at the beginning of every week with news items about the biggest issues and a list of the bills that we expect to testify on.

We also want to give a big thank you to the members of the health care community who come to Olympia to testify on bills. Your perspective is so critical to good lawmaking. Thank you! (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, 206/216-2894) 

Community Engagement Toolkits

Hospitals engage with communities in many ways, and both WSHA and the AHA have created tool kits to help local hospitals assess their current efforts and get new energy going in new areas.
– WSHA’s Community Toolkit is primarily focused on rural hospitals, and provides tools for hospitals to engage community members and partners in community health planning. The WSHA toolkit can be downloaded here, and you can find other community engagement resources at www.wsha.org/rural.
– AHA’s report is more focused on hospital boards of all sizes, and what role they can play in moving hospitals towards a value based future. The report provides an overview of engagement strategies and can serve as a leadership checklist for working with both communities and trustees in health care transformation.
Hospitals always have a responsibility to be actively engaged with the community they serve, but this work is especially important—and challenging—during times of massive change in health care. (Jacqueline Barton True 206-216-2541)

DOH Seeking Comments on Hospital Patient Discharge Information Reporting Regulations

The Department of Health is seeking public comments on draft rules to change reporting requirements related to hospital patient discharge information. The rulemaking is in response to ESSB 6265, legislation WSHA supported to increase standards for protecting shared patient information in the Comprehensive Hospital Abstract Reporting System (CHARS). DOH will also hold a webinar workshop on February 9, 2015 to take comments on the draft. See the Regulatory Issues page for more information about the rule and the webinar. (Zosia Stanley, 206/216-2511)

AHA Webinar: Human Trafficking

The AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence program is presenting a webinar on human trafficking on February 17. This session will describe the overall problem of human trafficking and explore how health care organizations can and are addressing issues related to human trafficking in their institutions and communities. Hospitals and health system clinical and administrative staff can learn how to recognize the signs of human trafficking, and take appropriate actions to take to help victims. This is a free webinar. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross, 206/216-2894)

Safety Across the Board – 2015 Areas of Focus

The Washington State Hospital Association has outlined the focus for our patient safety work for 2015 and beyond. The selection of these areas of work was based on their importance to patients and the fact that we still have more to do in improving care around these topics. Partnership for Patients was not a trend but something that we are committed to continuing.

The Patient Safety areas of focus for 2015 and beyond are:

  • Infections
  • General Care and Staff
  • Safe Delivery
  • Medications
  • Nursing Care

In addition, three areas of population health that Patient Safety will be focusing on include early intervention mental health, first three months of pregnancy, and diabetes in rural areas (Carol Wagner, 206-577-1831).

Patient Safety Data Tool

Data transparency continues to be one of the most valuable strategies for facilitating understanding and reducing harm to patients in healthcare settings. It was not an accident that hospitals participating in the WSHA Hospital Engagement Network were able to reduce harm by 23,000 patients in the last couple years. ”Our work is not done,” was the sentiment at the December WSHA Patient Safety Committee meeting, which included hospital and health system senior leaders from across Washington.

WSHA will continue to provide monthly summary reports to hospitals outlining performance in our state on the most common healthcare associated infections, high risk areas of care and obstetrical care. A new tool that outlines the ongoing data collection, frequency and source for 2015 is available here. For questions or feedback please contact Amber Theel (206-577-1820).

New Report Offers Insight into Readmissions

A new report from BESLER Consulting, one of Washington Hospital Services Industry Partners, offering insights into the roles patients and providers play in reducing readmissions. The report also explores strategies to reduce readmission rates. The report is available free for download from the BESLER website.  BESLER Consulting specializes in revenue recovery services, including helping health care organizations manage their risk for readmission penalties. For more information about BESLER, contact Jim Hoffman at jhoffman@besler.com or  (732) 392-8214.


Industry Partner WellTrackOne: Maximizing Revenue and Health

In 2013 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services began paying for an Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), however, only about 15% of Medicare patients currently receive this examination in a way that captures full reimbursement and meets best practice.

WellTrackONE, Washington Hospital Services’ newest Industry Partner, helps organizations maximize AWV revenue and manage Medicare patients’ health.

WellTrackONE worked with CMS to develop an analytic program that supports population and risk management by leveraging the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit. Their solution was designed with the future of population health management in mind. The software provides physicians and organizations with a comprehensive baseline report detailing modifiable risk factors, preventative goals and measurable data.

This information allows accountable care organizations to target patient care while reducing total healthcare costs.  WellTrackONE carries no up-front investment — they are only paid after the health care organization is reimbursed by Medicare. For more information, visit welltrackone.net or contact Bill Archer at barcher@welltrackone.com or (210) 601-0743. 

Chief Administrative and Medical Officers Partner Up for Quality

The first ever CEO and Medical Officer Leadership Forum commenced on February 2ndwith strong participation from urban and rural settings. This interactive Safe Table carried the following key themes:

  • Value of the partnership between hospitals and physicians including the unique relationship between WSHA and WSMA.
  • Physician and hospital relations are built on relationships and transparency. It can take time so start now.
  • CEO’s and Medical Officers seen as unified and joint owners of quality.
  • As mortals, understanding what matters in the end is important to providing making those last hours on earth a blessing. 

The relationship between physicians and hospitals is much improved from the days of old. Partnership will remain one of the vital strategies of success for both. For more information contact Carol Wagner (Carol Wagner, 206-577-1831).

Washington CEOs Recognized Nationally as Leaders in Rural Health

Becker’s Hospital Review recently included two Washington CEO’s in it’s 2015 edition of “50 Rural Hospital CEOs to Know.”

John Gallagher, CEO of Sunnyside (Wash.) Community Hospital & Clinics: Mr. Gallagher has served as CEO of Sunnyside Community Hospital, located in south central Washington, since May 2012. He helped lead a major $13.2 million dollar swing in the first year and half by growing the hospital’s revenue 41 percent. The hospital has added 47 providers and opened two urgent care facilities under his leadership. Before joining SCH, Mr. Gallagher worked in healthcare management for about 20 years and has held executive positions at several organizations.

Rand Wortman, President and CEO of Kadlec Regional Medical Center (Richland, Wash.): In addition to his chief executive role at 251-bed Kadlec Regional Medical Center, approximately 145 miles southwest of Spokane, Wash., Mr. Wortman also is CEO of other Kadlec-affiliated organizations, including the Kadlec Neurological Resource Center and the Kadlec Foundation. He joined Kadlec in November 2000. Under Mr. Wortman’s leadership, Kadlec established the first accredited chest pain center in the Northwest, developed an online physician portal and became the first community hospital in Washington state to create a rapid assessment team.

The full list is available here.



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