Gonzaga | State budget | Congress

“Our long national nightmare is over.”  Meaning Gonzaga is finally in the Final Four!  Since my success in predicting Clinton’s victory didn’t go so well, I’ll just say I’m looking forward to a trip to Phoenix this weekend to watch some good basketball.

And hopefully an Oregon loss.

Till then, here are 5 Things We’re Watching in Washington State health care.  #gozags

1.  Reviewing the House, Senate budgets

There aren’t too many differences between the House and Senate budgets when it comes to health care though the HCA is still paying back $136m in previously “booked” savings resulting from King and Pierce County deciding to stall on Medicaid transformation.

Hep C treatments for 6,000 Medicaid beneficiaries are budgeted for $173m. An oral health demonstration pilot has funding in both budgets though the Senate budget is much stronger. The House has a little bit of funding to explore moving long-term inpatient care into the managed care model. The House also includes $3m for Exchange marketing that isn’t otherwise in the Senate bill.

2.  Video: Cassie Sauer, WSHA

Cassie Sauer is the CEO of the Washington State Hospital Association, and one of the leading advocacy voices in Washington State health care.  In this episode of What They’re Watching, Cassie says WSHA is focused on maintaining the Medicaid expansion coverage for the 750,000 new beneficiaries in the state since 2014.

She also argues Washington State is “in a place to play a leadership role” among both expansion and non-expansion states as a result of early success in moving to value-based payment and delivery models.

3.  Statement from Providence CEO

Providence St. Joseph’s CEO Rod Hochman released a public statement on the way he and the organization have handled the Swedish Neuroscience Institute matter. This included a full page ad in the Sunday Seattle Times.  From a crisis communications perspective, I think Hochman’s note was very, very well done. Here are six things that stood out in the note.

There are now federal and state investigations underway at Providence, creating increased consequence for internal and external communications right now, potentially for the better and for the worse. Hopefully, Hochman’s thoughtful engagement continues as a strategic imperative.

4.  What does the AHCA means for Congress?

From a Republican Congressman following health care last week: “I’ve been in this job eight years, and I’m wracking my brain to think of one thing our party has done that’s been something positive, that’s been something other than stopping something else from happening.”

Next month, Congress has to pass a resolution to keep the government from shutting down. Appropriations authority lapses for the federal government otherwise. The debt ceiling was hit in March, meaning a vote to raise that is needed soon to continue deficit spending. And, by the way, if you think health reform is tough, nothing brings out the knives in DC like tax reform, which may be up next.

5.  Bills of interest still moving in Olympia

SB 5894 tries to create more capacity for long-term inpatient beds by expanding the use of community based mental health resources. It passed the Senate 37-12 and now sits in the House. HB 1388 moves mental health into the HCA and away from DSHS, an agency getting largely stripped down this year as it loses mental health and child and family services.

SB 5779 creates performance measures for MCOs and providers in the area of behavioral health integration. HB 2114 creates a prohibition against balance billing of individuals that have insurance coverage but where the provider may chose to not contract with the carrier.  Certain in-network provisions also apply under the prohibition.