Weekly Report for July 23, 2015 – Edge of Amazing

July 23, 2015

Hospitals have always been community-based organizations. They are governed and advised by boards of local residents, and they employ dozens and sometimes hundreds of people who are committed to caring and healing anyone in the community who needs them.

Hospitals and communities thrive together.

With other WSHA staff, I’ll be spending today in Everett at the Edge of Amazing summit. This one-day meeting is bringing together more than 50 organizations who have made the commitment to improve nutrition and increase activity levels in Snohomish County. It is a great example of a community developing a shared vision of health.

It is also a great example of the part that a hospital can play in developing a community plan. Providence Institute for a Healthier Community partnered with the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition to host this summit and engage the dozens of community organizations who are involved.

The Edge of Amazing summit is notable for its size and scope, but it is not the only example of hospitals and communities coming together. Health care providers, social service agencies, elected officials and non-profit leaders are coming together in many other cities to solve the problems of healthier communities.

Some of this work is the early fruits of the state’s Healthier Washington plan. WSHA is deeply involved in the project (see our website here), and is also engaging our member hospitals about the importance of this work.

Healthier Washington provides a unique opportunity for our state to change the way we deliver health care and build healthier communities. We could not take on this scale of change without the help of the state and federal governments. But at the same time, the change will really come from local communities and local organizations—and that is why the Edge of Amazing is such an important effort.

Claudia Sanders
Senior Vice President for Policy Development

Forks Community Hospital earns perfect score on fire, life safety inspection


Forks Community Hospital earned top honors from the state Fire Marshall for meeting high standards for fire and life safety. The Fire Marshall conducted a room-by-room inspection of the hospital and reviewed records for fire drills, fire sprinkler system maintenance, and fire alarm testing and operations.

“Perfection doesn’t exist in health care, but excellence does,” Forks Community Hospital CEO David Selman said.

Top marks from the Fire Marshall are uncommon, but this is not the first time the hospital has received the distinction for its dedication to keeping patients and staff safe.

Hospitals must meet stringent federal, state and local safety standards and regulations. They must also be prepared to provide continuous care to patients under extraordinary circumstances. Meeting these high standards takes significant resources in a variety of areas, such as building safety, emergency equipment and staff training. It also takes the deep commitment of people throughout the hospital organization.

Congratulations to the Forks Community Hospital team!

You can find the full story here and see Forks Community Hospital featured in this great video about Washington’s public hospital districts. (Tim Pfarr)

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.

Washington children are healthy despite economic concerns


The Annie C. Casey Foundation recently released the 2015 KIDS COUNT Data Book, revealing that Washington children are among the healthiest in the nation, though poverty and economic challenges remain a concern for our state’s youth. Washington ranked eighth in the country in children’s health.

Two health-related highlights of the report are the low instances of Washington children born at low birth weights and the low number of children born to uninsured families. Children with low birthrates are at an increased risk for many health problems and even death, and WSHA has worked to improve the health of newborns through the Safe Deliveries Roadmap.

Children born into uninsured families are less likely to receive care when they need it. Washington has a history supporting and providing health insurance for children, and WSHA has been a long-time supporter of these programs as well as the 2013 expansion of Medicaid in the state and the creation of the state health insurance exchange.

Visit the local chapter of KIDS COUNT here to learn more about where Washington’s children stand. (Tim Pfarr)

It’s PAC Time!

With the 2015 legislative session behind us, it’s time for us to start thinking about the Washington Hospital Political Action Committee, or WHPAC. By the end of this week, the 2015 WHPAC materials will be put into the mail, officially kicking off this year’s campaign.We have a very strong, healthy and well-respected PAC, which helps us speak with one unified voice. The PAC is one important way for hospital and health system leaders to help elect champions and engage with elected officials. Hospitals and health systems have much at stake in the political process on issues including regulation, patient access to care, reimbursements, health quality reporting, improving patient safety and more.

We had a very successful campaign last year, with nearly half of the members reaching their individual goals. We are looking to continue to grow our PAC with a 2015 goal of $200,000.

The WHPAC will also make contributions to candidates and campaign leadership funds to support those legislators who were champions for hospitals and health care in the 2015 state and federal legislatures.

Please look at the material and consider contributing to the PAC. If you have any questions or would like additional information and/or brochures, don’t hesitate to let us know. (Lori Martinez)

Virginia Mason Institute to help England improve patient safety

Washingtonians have a lot to be proud of when it comes to their hospitals, with service that is globally recognized. England’s National Health Service (NHS) Trust Development Authority has selected the Virginia Mason Institute — the education arm of Virginia Mason Health System — to help with a broad effort to improve safety and quality as well as control cost at English hospitals.

Virginia Mason Institute staffers will mentor health care professionals at five NHS acute-care facilities, implementing the Virginia Mason Production System, which includes the Patient Safety Alert system, which allows anyone in the organization to file an alert anytime he or she suspects a potential hazard.

Read the press release here to learn more and check out the story in the news at in Modern HealthcarePuget Sound Business JournalThe Guardian of London and BBC.

2015 Medicaid Quality Incentive – Changes to TOB 2-2a

Washington hospitals continue to demonstrate reduction in patient harm and improved outcomes through the Medicaid Quality Incentive. In 2014, 28 of 57 hospitals met the threshold to receive the incentive, representing 49% of the eligible hospitals. The 2015 Medicaid Quality Incentive is now underway as of July 1, 2015.

Based on feedback from hospitals, the Health Care Authority (HCA) has removed the behavioral health measure for Tobacco Use Treatment Provided or Offered (TOB 2-2a). Full details and a helpful Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) can be read in detail on the WSHA website. (Carol Wagner)

Pharmacy investigations – A concerning trend across the state

Over the past year, WSHA has been working hard to address a number of pharmacy issues negatively impacting hospitals and clinics. We recently became aware of a handful of circumstances where the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and the Washington State Department of Health have opened investigations against a hospital pharmacy license or the license of individual hospital pharmacists. These investigations could jeopardize access to essential medications and could make it harder for hospitals to attract high-quality pharmacists.While WSHA does not want to interfere with individual investigations, we are extremely concerned about the approach the Pharmacy Commission is taking and the increasing number of pharmacy licenses being investigated across the state.

In order to ensure patients have access to medications and to advocate on behalf of hospitals and clinics, we need to better understand the magnitude of this issue. Please contact Ian Corbridge if you or your hospitals pharmacy license has come under investigation by the Pharmacy Commission. (Ian Corbridge)

HCA to Hold Public Meeting on Medicaid Global Waiver Application

This week, the Health Care Authority (HCA) is expected to release a draft global Medicaid waiver application they intend to submit to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to request $3 billion in federal funding. Before submitting the application to CMS, the HCA is seeking feedback through several public meetings. The global waiver is seen as a new opportunity with CMS to provide the state with added flexibility in the delivery of non-traditional services for Medicaid enrollees with up-front funding to be used to support delivery and payment transformation. If the state is successful in getting federal approval for its waiver request, it will have large implications for health care in our state.Public meetings around the state
Monday, August 3
8-10 a.m. Pierce College-Ft. Steilacoom, Lakewood
1-3 p.m.  Everett Community College, Everett

Tuesday, August 4
8-10 a.m. Yakima Valley Community College, Yakima
2-4 p.m.  Columbia Basin College, Pasco

Wednesday, August 5
10 a.m.-12 p.m. Spokane Regional Health District, Spokane

If you plan to attend a public meeting, please RSVP by email to the HCA.

Webcast Recording Available: The Fundamentals of Patient Safety for Boards

Patient safety and quality are primary fiduciary responsibilities for governing boards. Last Monday, WSHA and AWPHD jointly began 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 took place on Monday on the topic: “Fundamentals of Patient Safety.” Carol Wagner, Senior VP for WSHA’s nationally recognized Patient Safety program, shared the essentials, as both an introduction to the topic and as a refresher.

If you missed hearing it live, you can view the webcast here. (Note: A browser plugin is required to view this webcast.) (Danielle Kean)

Julie Petersen Appointed to AHA Task Force

Congratulations to Julie Petersen, WSHA Board Chair and CEO of PMH Medical Center, on her appointment to the recently announced American Hospital Association Task Force on Ensuring Access in Vulnerable Communities. Julie was selected from a nation-wide pool of candidates. Over the coming year, the task force will work to identify emerging strategies, delivery and payment models to maintain a health care presence in vulnerable communities, both urban and rural.

Garfield County Hospital Welcomes New CEO

Garfield County Hospital District recently welcomed Jay Pottenger as its new CEO, and he will begin work in his new position July 27. Jay has more than 30 years of experience in small rural hospitals, nursing homes, home health, assisted living and rural health clinics, and he comes from the Missouri River Medical Center in Fort Benton, Mont. He also holds a master’s degree from Central Michigan University and a nursing home license, and he is a Board Certified Healthcare Executive through the American College of Healthcare Executives. (Tim Pfarr)

Washington Hospital Services Welcomes Morton General

WHS’s Absence Management program is growing with the addition of Morton General Hospital to its roster of clients. WHS launched absence management service in January to track and manage compliance for employee leaves. Click here for details, including pricing, or contact Debbie Reandeau via email or at (206) 577-1807.

Paradigm Solutions International provides Business Continuity Solutions

Washington Hospital Services industry partner, Paradigm Solutions International, is a provider of Business Continuity Planning and Recovery software and consulting services.

Their OpsPlanner tool is a comprehensive, web-based BCP solution with plan development, incident management and powerful automated emergency notification all in one fully integrated package. The tool is easy-to-use, scalable (two to 30,000 users) and cost effective for any size organization. Since OpsPlanner is browser-based, it is easily accessible, and you can convert your plan from static to dynamic, from binder to web-based.

Because they are an industry partner, they are providing exceptional discounts to all WSHA members as an additional benefit. Email Mark Jankord or give him a call at (253) 740-7942 to learn more. He can set up a webcast to demonstrate the software, and answer your questions. You can also contact Paul Unsworth at 206-577-1806 for more information.


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