Weekly Report for September 3, 2015 – A safer birth for mothers and babies

September 3, 2015

September 3, 2015

A safer birth for mothers and babies


This week we were excited to announce that Washington’s cesarean section (C-section) rates are at their lowest levels since 2003, dropping 11 percent between 2010 and 2014 for low-risk, first-birth pregnancies. This is wonderful news for Washington families, as C-sections are associated with higher rates of complications for mothers and babies, meaning delivery is becoming safer in Washington State.

C-section rates have largely been on the rise in recent decades, partially due to the fact that the population of pregnant mothers is changing, as women of childbearing age may now be older or heavier, or enter pregnancy with other health complications. The improvement work has centered on putting evidence-based practices into place to provide supportive, best-practice care. The work includes reducing early inductions, making sure the mother is ready before inductions and other important strategies.

Achieving this reduction has been years in the making alongside our collaborators: the Washington State Healthcare AuthorityWashington State Perinatal Collaborativethe Department of Healththe Robert Bree Collaborativethe Foundation for Health Care Qualityand the Department of Social and Health Services. Together we have identified best practices, analyzed data and given information to providers to help them improve the quality and cost-effectiveness of their maternity care. Also, in 2013, we spearheaded the collaborative Safe Deliveries Roadmap, implementing an evidence-based practices guide to care from pre-pregnancy through one month after delivery, helping Washington become the first state to take this approach.

These numbers reflect our success, and the success of our collaborators, as we have already surpassed our 2016 statewide goal of a 14.7-percent C-section rate. We will continue to take a leading role on this issue, making delivery even safer for mothers and babies, ensuring that our youngest residents get off to a great start. Read more here in our press release.

Carol Wagner
WSHA Senior Vice President for Patient Safety


Cascade Valley hosts back-to-school health fair

Cascade Valley Hospital hosted its first “Good to Go From Head to Toe Kids’ Back to School Expo” Aug. 22, helping children in the Arlington area get the health care they need for free or at a reduced cost before heading back into the classroom. Hospital workers were on-site to administer vaccinations, provide health screenings and give local families healthcare information. Though this was the hospital’s third health fair, the back-to-school expo marks the first fair directed at kids.

The hospital hosted more than 1,000 attendees, and with some children needing as many as 10 vaccinations, leaders hope to hold the health fair again next year. The fair showed children just how crucial it is to take care of your health, and that it can even be fun. Cascade Valley is doing its part to build a healthy community and a healthy future.

Read more about the fair here in an article in the North County Outlook. (Tim Pfarr)

Across the state, hospitals and health system leaders 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.


Hospitals recognized for newborn screenings

The Department of Health Newborn Screening Program recognized several Washington State hospitals for exemplary performance in meeting timeframes to collect newborn screening blood samples. The hospitals are:
  • Three Rivers Hospital
  • Walla Walla General Hospital
  • Cascade Valley Hospital
  • Mid-Valley Hospital
  • Mason General Hospital
  • Northwest Hospital
It is crucial that all newborns are screened for genetic disorders in a timely manner and that parents are given the results as soon as possible. Hospitals and health care providers play an essential role in collecting the blood samples for these screenings. Congratulations to these hospitals on their excellent work. More information on the Newborn Screening Program is available here. (Zosia Stanley)

Annual meeting just over a month away

Join us for WSHA’s 83rd Annual Meeting October 7-8 in Seattle. We will have thought-provoking plenary speakers, strategy sessions and networking opportunities, and we will present our patient safety and Joe Hopkins awards. Your attendance is important as we will also address changes to our governing board structure and elect the 2015-16 board candidates during our annual business meeting. See the agenda at-a-glance here.

Board members and commissioners, please join us October 6 for the New Board Orientation Basics Breakfast and/or the Governance Skills Building Intensive for Trustees and Commissioners!

Conference hotels are filling fast. Book your room now!For questions contact Cynthia Hay206-216-2526.Click here for more details and to register.

Reminder: Call for nominations for the Joe Hopkins Award

At WSHA’s 2014 Annual Meeting, Scott Adams, CEO of Pullman Regional Hospital, was the surprised recipient of WSHA’s most prestigious award to an individual: The Joe Hopkins Award. This special award was created in 1987 in honor of Joe Hopkins, a beloved rural hospital administrator who had a remarkable vision and dedication to Washington’s hospitals.

If you are a hospital/health system administrator or trustee, consider taking a few moments to nominate a worthy colleague for this year’s award. As in the past, the winner will be announced at WSHA’s Annual Meeting in Seattle on Oct. 8. The nomination deadline is Friday, Sept. 18.

You can download the short nomination form here! (Deborah Swets)

Register for first Choosing Wisely®Summit Oct. 30

Join health care leaders, stakeholders and national Choosing Wisely representatives Friday, Oct. 30 at the Seattle Airport Marriott for Improving Value in Health Care: The Choosing Wisely Summit: a day-long, in-depth look at ways to provide safer, higher-quality, value-based care to patients through the Choosing Wisely initiative in Washington State.

This conference will give you the tools and inspiration to implement value-driven change within your care setting, and improve the patient experience. In his keynote address, Daniel Wolfson, executive vice president and COO of the ABIM Foundation, will discuss how to adapt and utilize the steps outlined in the Choosing Wisely Action Manual, created by the Washington State Choosing Wisely Task Force.

Click here for more information and to register online.(Steve Levy)

Draft Pharmacy Rules Pose Risk to Costs, Workflow, Innovation

On Aug. 28, the Pharmacy Commission released draft rulemaking language that would require every facility have a pharmacist in charge who would spend at least 20 hours, or 50 percent of his or her time, at the pharmacy to which he or she is accountable. We are concerned with the financial burden this would place on facilities with patient access issues, especially in rural areas, and the potential detrimental impact to innovative approaches, like tele-pharmacy.

While we are still reviewing this language, we have concerns with its nature and direction. WSHA staff expressed these concerns to the commission at its Sept. 2 Pharmacy Business Practice Meeting and will submit formal comments at a later date. We strongly encourage hospitals and systems to review the draft language, submit comments to the Department of Health here and let WSHA know your comments. (Ian Corbridge)

DOH rulemaking on ambulatory surgical centers

The Washington State Department of Health is in the early stages of rulemaking on two important issues affecting ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs). First, the department is deciding whether a Certificate of Need-approved ASF should require a new Certificate of Need upon expansion. Second, the department proposes updating the need forecasting methodology and standards for ASFs.

Both rules could have substantial impact on the way the department regulates ASFs, and could negatively impact hospital-based ASFs. One suggestion is that hospital ASFs should be included in the bed-need methodology for independent ASFs, under the notion that hospital-based ASFs are more expensive and may not be direct equivalents. WSHA strongly opposes this suggestion.

We are actively engaged with the department on this issue, and strongly encourage hospital participation. The next meeting on the ASF rulemaking is scheduled for Wednesday, September 16th.  Click here for more information. (Zosia Stanley)

Bree Collaborative responds to heart surgery draft comments

The Bree Collaborative responded Sept. 1 to public comments on the draft heart surgery report. The collaborative considered structural changes to its recommendations on issues like provider accountability, pre and post-operative requirements, and patient caregiver supports. While the collaborative has not formally approved the report or potential changes, it appears as if our concerns around care giver supports will be addressed, but other issues concerning quality reporting requirements and pre and post-operative arrangements between providers/facilities will not. The group will vote to approve a revised report at its next meeting on Sept. 16.

WSHA fully supports efforts to improve patient safety and recovery while reducing costs associated with heart surgery. However, we have some concerns with how the recommendations are calibrated. We appreciate the collaborative’s attention to this very important issue. (Ian Corbridge)

Accounts payable webcast recording available

Thank you to our members who attended Washington Hospital Service’s Industry Partner webcast hosted by Commerce Bank Aug. 25. Both WHS and Commerce hope attendees gained insights into improving accounts payable processes and payment strategies.

If you missed the session and would like to learn how other hospitals have been able to create efficient and profitable AP departments, view the webinar recording here. For additional details or to learn more about Commerce Bank, please contact Julie Brock at (503) 894-2953 or Paul Unsworth at (206) 577-1806. (Beth Zborowski)

Industry Partner Merritt Hawkins offering executive placement

Washington Hospital Services is excited to announce an expanded relationship with our Industry Partner Merritt Hawkins to include executive recruitment and placement needs.

Merritt Hawkins is one of the leading health care recruitment and placement firms in the country, and we are thrilled to bring their excellent services to the WSHA membership. If you have any questions about how Merritt Hawkins might be a solution for you, please contact Paul Unsworth at paulu@wsha.org or (206) 577-1806.

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