Weekly Report for July 2, 2015 – In the Face of Fire

July 2, 2015

Scott Bond, WSHA CEOAgain this year, our neighbors in the central part of the state are fighting fires and watching the skies warily for smoke. Hundreds have had to evacuate and about 30 homes have been lost in the Chelan County wildfire. The weather is just getting hotter.

One aspect of association work is that it instantly connects you to new communities. WSHA is located in Seattle, but we spend a lot of time visiting other people’s home towns: Everett, Forks, Tonasket, Wenatchee, Chelan, Chewelah, Newport, Tri-Cities. So when there are disasters on the news, we’re watching and talking with our members– how are you doing? How are your patients and physicians, your nurses and neighbors?
And while the news out of Wenatchee was better by Wednesday night, there is still a lot to worry about.
“The fire danger now is unlike any we’ve seen in a long time, if ever,” Gov. Inslee said when he issued an emergency proclamation last week (read here). “We need to be prepared for the possibility of an unprecedented fire season.” Considering last year’s fire season, that’s a terrifying thought. Last year’s Carlton Complex fire destroyed 250 million acres– it was the biggest fire our state has ever seen.
We know that our hospitals are already doing what they can to prepare for, and respond to, these fires. They plan with local agencies, they equip themselves, they train their staff, and they reach out to other hospitals to offer support. The men and women who are on the front lines of caring for their communities are extraordinary, and we are going keep them in our thoughts and support them where we can.
Scott Bond, President and CEO
Washington State Hospital Association

Harborview: There Are Many Ways to Save A Life

Harborview’s Dr. Hugh Foy and others on the surgery team as well as Burn Intensive Care Unit nurses Valerie Newell and Shanna Sierra cared for former patient Eric Seitz. Eric was treated at Harborview in 2008 for three months after contracting a flesh-eating disease from injecting drugs with a dirty needle. He was in a coma and nearly lost a leg to amputation.

While being cared for at Harborview, he was inspired by his nurses to change his life. He eventually got off the streets and started living with his brother and decided to return to school at the UW to get his nursing degree. He graduated last week and John Sharify for KING TV was there to document this huge feat.

See the story here: UW Nursing graduate defies the odds. (Mary Kay Clunies-Ross)

Across the state, hospitals and health systems are doing amazing work to care for their patients and communities in innovative ways. Our goal is to feature all of our 100 members at least once through the course of the year. If you are a WSHA member with a story to tell, please contact Mary Kay Clunies-Ross.

Inside Olympia: Budget Agreement Reached

The Washington State Legislature has narrowly avoided a complete shutdown of state services by agreeing on operating and capital budgets for Fiscal Years 2015-2017. The Governor signed the operating budget July 1. The compromise budget is very good for hospitals and health care overall.

This was a particularly challenging session. Political control of the state legislature is split, with the House in Democratic control and the Senate in Republican control. The Legislature had to address the state Supreme Court’s mandate for increased education funding and concerns about inadequate mental health treatment services. The final budget includes an additional $1.3 billion for K-12 education, but some education leaders are already saying it is not enough and calling on the Supreme Court to intervene.

Read more in the Inside Olympia newsletter.

Rural Advocacy Days: Sign Up to Voice Your Support for Rural Hospitals

Hospital leaders and board members have an excellent opportunity to connect with members of Congress during WSHA’s Rural Advocacy Days in Washington D.C. September 16 and 17.

This year’s Congressional agenda could include fixing the 96-hour rule, putting parameters on recovery audit contractors, patient attribution for mid-level providers in rural Accountable Care Organizations, telemedicine policy for Medicare, and other proposals impacting rural hospitals. WSHA provides a briefing to bring members up to speed on the federal issues and also schedules the visits with your Senators and Representatives. Please let Wendy Ray know by July 15 if you or members of your board plan to attend. (Chelene Whiteaker)

EMS and Trauma Committee Seeks Urban Hospital Representative

The state’s EMS and Trauma committee is seeking to fill the vacancy for the urban hospital representative. WSHA and the state Department of Health are interested in applicants. Responsibilities of the committee include:

  • Advise the DOH of EMS and trauma care needs throughout the state.
  • Review of regional EMS and trauma care plans and recommend changes to the department before it adopts the plans.
  • Review of proposed department rules for EMS and trauma care.
  • Recommend modifications in rules about EMS and trauma care.

The committee meets every other month in Kent, Washington. Appointments are for a 3-year term. Click here to link to the department’s website with more information on the committee. If you are interested in applying, please contact Chelene Whiteaker(206) 216-2545.

Medical Marijuana Authorization

The Department of Health (DOH) has completed two important tasks for implementing the Cannabis Patient Protection Act (SB 5052) that are required to be in place by July 24, 2015:

  1. Ensured a process for healthcare practitioners to report each calendar month through an electronic survey when they write more than 30 new or renewed authorizations for the medical use of marijuana. Reporting is required beginning July 24, 2015 and ending July 1, 2016.
  2. Developed a standard form for medical marijuana authorizations. Starting July 24, 2015, all newauthorizations or renewals will utilize this form, while starting July 1, 2016, all authorizations and renewals going forward will use the new form.

For the latest information, including answers to frequently asked questions and authorization practice guidelines regarding medical marijuana, please visit the DOH website. (Taya Briley

Provide Input into Preliminary Statewide Imaging Rules

The Washington State Department of Health recently released a draft rule for Computed Tomography. The rule aims to improve the appropriate and safe use of imaging systems. We encourage hospitals, specifically quality leaders or imaging specialists, to provide feedback on this draft rule. Comments will be accepted through July 17, 2015 and should be submitted todohephctrulemaking@doh.wa.gov. Please copy Ian Corbridge (ianc@wsha.org) on your comments so that WSHA can continue to provide informed advocacy on this issue.

WSHA participated on the Department’s CT Advisory Committee which developed this draft rule. We appreciate the Departments aim to improve quality while acknowledging existing quality improvement efforts and being sensitive to reporting challenges. (Ian Corbridge)

Upcoming Webinars

Following Up on the OPA Webinar for Recertification of 340 Providers

The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Office of Pharmacy Affairs (OPA) will hold a webinar to discuss and answer questions about recertifying in the 340B drugpricing program on Wednesday, July 8 at 12 PM ET.  With eligibility extended by the ACA to Critical Access Hospitals, Sole Community Hospitals, free-standing cancer hospitals and rural referral centers, 340B provides significant savings to providers who participate in the Prime Vendor Program. To join the webinar, click here. If dialing in, call (888) 790-1763 FREE and use participant code 7334728.

Unable to attend? Direct your questions about registration or recertification to the Prime Vendor Program to 1-888-340-2787 FREE or ApexusAnswer@340bpvp.com. (Jacqueline Barton True)

WSHA and AWPHD Present July 20 Webcast for Boards:  Fundamentals of Patient Safety

Patient safety and quality are primary fiduciary responsibilities for governing boards. WSHA and AWPHD are jointly beginning a series of “Fundamentals” webcasts for members of hospital and health system boards and commissions on a variety of topics.

The first in the series takes place on Monday, July 20, from 12-1 pm on the topic: “Fundamentals of Patient Safety For Boards.” Carol Wagner, Senior VP for WSHA’s nationally recognized Patient Safety program, will share the essentials in two 20-minute segments. Afterwards, there will be a short time for questions, and each segment will be taped for later viewing.

Join us for this crucial information! For more information, click here. (Deborah Swets)

CMS Region 10 Medicare & Medicaid 50th Anniversary Celebration 

This summer, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will recognize ways in which Medicare and Medicaid have transformed the nation’s health care system over the past five decades. As we mark the 50th anniversary of Medicare and Medicaid, we are reminded of the critical role these programs play in protecting the health and well-being of millions of families and improving America’s economic security. These are life changing programs that keep Americans healthy.

The event will take place Thursday, July 30, 2015 from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Greenwood Senior Center (525 North 85th Street, Seattle, WA 98103). For more information and to register, click here.

New Industry Partner Provides Option for Health Care Finance

Washington Hospital Services welcomes our newest addition to the Industry Partner Program: Kingsbridge Healthcare FinanceKingsbridge assists health care organizations in Washington and across the country by providing affordable access to financing for new medical technologies. Kingsbridge Healthcare Finance is dedicated exclusively to the medical marketplace and prides themselves on offering personalized service. They have funded more than $3 billion dollars in transactions to date. To learn more about them, please contact Paul Unsworth (206) 577-1806.


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