Weekly Report: Join us to learn, celebrate and be inspired

September 24, 2015

Almost everyone on the WSHA staff is involved in preparing for our Annual Meeting coming up Oct. 7-8 in Seattle. We hope our colorful graphic for the Annual Meeting has caught your attention. We’re working hard to deliver on the theme of “Health Care 2.0: Innovation, Insights and Imperatives.”

The agenda includes dynamic speakers who are passionate about their areas of expertise, including serving ultra-digital savvy consumers, successfully moving to value-based care, employing the best evidence-based medicine and honoring our patients’ choices for end-of-life care.

Several members will share their progress employing the latest and best practices for integrating mental health, addressing community needs through telemedicine, implementing population health, serving multicultural communities and getting ready for the 2016 legislative session.

There are important decisions to be made at the meeting, including voting on some significant changes to WSHA’s bylaws pertaining to our governance structure (learn more information at our Sept. 28 webcast). The awards and social gatherings offer great opportunities to acknowledge and connect with friends and colleagues. We’re excited to also welcome a number of new hospital and health system leaders who are attending.

Many thanks to our generous sponsors for the meeting, as well as the Industry Partners who provide support throughout the year. Join us for this special opportunity to learn, celebrate and be re-inspired to continue the tremendous commitment you make to serving the health needs of the people of Washington State.

Click here for more information and to register for our 2015 Annual Meeting.

Deborah Swets
WSHA Vice President, Membership


UW Medical Center keeps transplanted hearts beating

The University of Washington Medical Center Regional Heart Center is one of seven sites nationwide chosen to perform a clinical trial for a new system for transplanting warm, beating hearts. The system has been dubbed “heart in a box,” and it preserves the organ for as long as 11 hours, nearly three times longer than a heart transplanted in a cooler. The increased time allows doctors to evaluate the organ — which could increase the number of hearts fit for transplant — and transport the organ from across the country for surgery.

This is the first time doctors at UW Medical Center are able to monitor a beating heart outside the human body, as transplants come from organ donors who have been declared brain-dead but still have a functioning heart. Nationally, 400 people died waiting for a heart transplant last year, including 94 from Washington State.

We hope this trial finds great success, as it could truly revolutionize transplant surgery, providing a life-saving organ for those on the waiting list. Read more about the heart in a box in this article in The Seattle Times. (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 or Tim Pfarr.


EvergreenHealth CFO honored at Women of Color Empowered luncheon

EvergreenHealth CFO Chrissy Yamada was selected as one of Northwest Asian Weekly’s Women of Color Empowered luncheon honorees Sept. 18. Three times each year, the award program celebrates women from diverse backgrounds who have broken through race and gender barriers in the workplace. She joined 12 others in accepting the honor.

Under Chrissy’s leadership, EvergreenHealth has seen a $34 million turnaround, leading the hospital to its healthiest financial years ever in 2013 and 2014. Congratulations Chrissy!

Learn more about the award and all the recipients here. Above: Chrissy Yamada, left, accepts the honor. (Tim Pfarr)

2015 WHPAC campaign update

The 2015 WHPAC campaign continues! We are half way to our $200,000 goal, having raised more than $107,000 to date. Congratulations to the leadership teams at the following hospitals for already reaching their goals:

  • Capital Medical Center
  • Cascade Medical Center
  • Fairfax Hospital
  • Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics
  • Morton General Hospital
  • Othello Community Hospital
  • PeaceHealth (system office)
  • PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center
  • Providence Mount Carmel Hospital/Providence St. Joseph’s Hospital
  • Skagit Regional Health
  • Skyline Hospital
  • Tri-State Memorial Hospital
  • Whidbey General Hospital
  • Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital

Members who have met their PAC goal will be recognized during the Annual Meeting. Please get your contributions in to Lori Martinez by September 30th to meet the print deadline.

Your continued support of the PAC is a tremendous part of our advocacy program. It helps us support and elect champions for health care and hospital services, and unifies our political voice. (Lori Martinez)

Time for a flu shot!

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that nationally, 90 percent of hospital workers were vaccinated last year, about the same as in the 2013-2014 flu season.

The WSHA Patient Safety Committee spearheaded this work several years ago, which led to a marked increase in the vaccination rate. With their rising rates, measles and pertussis may also be focused on at some point.

It’s critically important that health care workers be immunized to help protect their patients from contracting life-threatening illnesses. Patients should feel free to ask their providers if they’ve been vaccinated, and if not, ask them what they are doing to protect patients.

Learn more about the vaccine — and find a place to get it — here on the Department of Health website. (Tim Pfarr)

Bree seeking comments on prostate cancer screening recommendations

The Bree Collaborative — a group appointed by the governor representing clinical leaders from purchasers, providers and state agencies — met Sept. 16 to consider new recommendations for prostate cancer screening. The group recommends against screening for average-risk men older than 70 and younger than 55. If screening is performed, it should be guided by a shared decision-making process and informed by a patient’s family history and risk factors.

The collaborative is interested in hearing your feedback on the latest draft report and recommendations. Please provide feedback via the online survey here by 5pm on Friday, Oct. 16. Please also send your comments or issues to Ian CorbridgeWSHA policy director for clinical issues, at (206) 216-2514.  

Once adopted, the collaborative will submit the final report to the Washington State Health Care Authority, which can elect to use the report’s recommendations to inform contracting and purchasing for Medicaid and state employee programs. (Ian Corbridge)

American Community Survey shows drop in state’s uninsured

The state’s Office of Financial Management Health Care Research Center released a brief last week on health coverage changes in Washington in 2014 using data from the American Community Survey.

The brief, “First Year Impact of ACA on Washington State’s Health Coverage,” shows trends of the state’s overall uninsured rates from 2010 to 2014 and changes of uninsured rates among various demographic groups from 2013 to 2014. See the brief here. For questions, please email Wei Yen or Thea Mounts at the OFM Health Research Center. (Cassie Sauer)

Health Care Authority revises administrative days policy

After discussions with WSHA, the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) recently announced it will revise its policy on administrative days and return to the longstanding policy it used previously. This revision will ensure hospitals are paid for days where a patient has completed an inpatient stay and no longer meets inpatient criteria, but transfer to an appropriate post-acute care such as a skilled nursing facility is delayed due to capacity issues. WSHA and member hospitals had sought clarification as HCA had been denying these additional stays and forcing hospitals to absorb these costs.

HCA affirmed that authorized services would be paid the administrative day rate. HCA is revising the provider billing guide, due Oct. 1, to reflect the change and will also provide additional detail on criteria and billing. We are pleased HCA agreed to the policy clarification and thank staff from various hospitals who helped us provide information to support the revision.

Read more in the Sept. 16 edition of Fiscal Watch. (Andrew Busz)

Wellness and revenue webcast recording now available

A recording of our Industry Partner WellTrackONE webcast is now available for viewing. The webcast covered how members can take advantage of the Medicare Wellness Visit program to improve patient care and revenue. You can view the recording online here using the password: welltrackone. If you have questions about WellTrackONE, please contact Bill Archer at (210) 601-0743. Bill will also attend WSHA’s Annual Meeting and is available for in-person demos at your organization.

WHS Industry Partner Carena andthe virtual clinic experience

Washington Hospital Services is partnering with Seattle-based virtual care provider Carena to help members meet the growing demand for convenient access to care. The service gives hospitals the opportunity to provide their communities with access to virtual care right from their own websites.

Much like a visit to the doctor’s office, patients register with the system and submit a request for medical care using interactive software. They are then guided through the steps to receive care virtually or are assisted in selecting a facility that matches their immediate need. Once matched, a typical visit takes less than 30 minutes, saving time for both patients and physicians. Learn how Carena is successfully partnering with WSHA members by watching this video on the virtual care experience. For a demo, please contact Chad Ramage at (206) 639-6920, or Paul Unsworth at (206) 577-1806.



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