5 Things Washington: UW Medicine, Cambia Grove, Peter Newbould

While I know that the most important thing to watch this week is the World Cup semi-finals (let’s go England!), health care never stops. So for those of you getting updates from your desk or taking a long lunch to watch France vs Belgium today, we have what’s happening in Washington health care and policy covered.

Kylie Walsh
State of Reform

1.  UW Medicine’s single EHR project

The UW Finance and Asset Management Committee has approved a $180 million, 30-month long project to implement a single electronic health record (EHR) solution across UW Medicine’s eight entities. The UW Medicine Clinical Transformation project will allow for clinicians to spend more time with patients and streamline documentation.

The project has estimated savings of $191 million through FY 2027. About $131 million of those savings will come from IT services cost reduction. An EHR vendor was not named in the meeting documents, but UW Medicine currently uses Epic, Cerner Millennium, and Cerner Soarian.

2.  Happenings at the HCA

We have three things happening at the Health Care Authority we wanted to share. First, Dr. Judy Zerzan has been named Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Zerzan currently is the CMO for the Colorado Dept. of Health Care Policy and Financing, where HCA Director Sue Birch also worked before coming to Washington.

Second, the HCA plans to submit an amendment to the current 1915(b) behavioral health waiver. The amendment would introduce four major changes, including placing behavioral health services for foster children in Medicaid managed care into a single statewide Managed Care Organization.

Finally, the HCA has announced The Standard Insurance Company as the apparently successful bidder for short- and long-term disability insurance as part of the School Employees Benefits Board Program.

3.  Cambia Grove crowd-sourcing data

There’s an enormous amount of health data out there. Julie Panek Anderson, the Assistant Director of Programming at Cambia Grove, interviewed 74 stakeholders on challenges and opportunities of health data. She found that “Change-makers in health care require rich, user-friendly data-sets to power their efforts, whether the goal is to validate and test a new technology or to better understand a patient population. While stakeholders knew that an abundance of data existed, they found it frustrating and often prohibitive when attempting to get their hands on it.”

In order to make data more accessible, Cambia Grove has launched a crowd-source campaign to create an online Data Resource Directory. If you’re able to share valuable data resources, go ahead and fill out the form.

4. Video: Peter Newbould, Alzheimer’s Association

Peter Newbould is the Public Policy Manager at the Alzheimer’s Association, Washington Chapter, which is the leading voluntary health organization in Alzheimer’s care, support and research. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about finding a cure for Alzheimer’s.

“If we don’t get out in front of this demographic time bomb of the increase in the number of people who have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, it has the potential to break the Medicare program because presently, one in five dollars in Medicare are spent on somebody with dementia. By the year 2050, that’s one in three.”

5. Washington HealthCareCompare launches

Washington HealthCareCompare, the state all-payer claims database, launched June 29th. The database aggregates the health care claims information of almost 4 million Washington residents in an effort to provide more transparency into health care costs and pricing.

Governor Inslee proposed the database in 2015 to give consumers a tool to make better informed choices about health care by comparing prices. HealthCareCompare is one of six all-payer claims databases in the country to have a publicly accessible front for consumers to search pricing and providers of services in their area. The legislation requires the state Medicaid program, all health care providers, claims administrators, and HMOs to report claims and payment information to the state.