5 Things Washington: Rep. Nicole Macri, Dan Ferguson, Sen. Joe Fain

Early Bird rates for our upcoming 2019 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference go up this Friday evening.  So, if you know you want to be with us on January 10th, go ahead and get registered this week.  You’ll save $50 of the registration price for what has been called “the most important health policy conference of the year!”

DJ 5 Things SignatureWith help from Marjie High and
Emily Boerger.



1. New data: health care is the top issue in midterm political advertising

Health care continues to be a key issue in federal midterm races across the country, according to a new analysis by the Wesleyan Media Project. Between Sept. 18th and Oct. 15th, 45.9 percent of broadcast television ads for federal races mentioned health care. In pro-Democrats ads, health care was mentioned in 54.5 percent of ads, a major jump from 2016 when it was mentioned in just 10 percent of ads.

The analysis also tracked races with the most political ad airings. The data shows Washington’s 8th CD race between Dino Rossi and Kim Schrier ranking in the top 20 House races in the country based on ad airings during the month long period. In this race, where health care is also a key issue, 6,217 ads aired during the month, estimated to cost $4.2 million.

2.  Podcast: A conversation with Rep. Nicole Macri

Representative Nicole Macri represents the 43rd Legislative District, covering parts of Seattle including Downtown, the University District, and Green Lake. Macri serves as the Vice Chair of the Washington State House Healthcare & Wellness Committee as well as Vice Chair of the Community Development, Housing & Tribal Affairs Committee.

I sat down with Rep. Macri for this podcast to discuss House healthcare leadership, the dynamics in the House Democratic Caucus, as well as some of her priorities for the 2019 legislative session.  Those include improving Washington’s behavioral health system and addressing the state’s homelessness crisis. Take a listen here, and be sure to subscribe!


3.  Video: Dan Ferguson, Allied Health Center of Excellence

Dan Ferguson is the Director of the Washington State Allied Health Center of Excellence. With 30-plus years of experience in higher education, non-profit management, health care and human services, Ferguson works to assist the community college system in understanding and adapting to health care workforce changes. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss breaking down silos and working together.

“We have students coming into healthcare training programs who are passionate, who are holistic, and then we break them down and they become siloed practitioners. And so, we need to figure out in an academic setting how we don’t break them down, how we actually help them to be inclusive…”

4. Oral health projects at the ACH level

As part of Washington’s Medicaid Transformation Waiver, Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs) are working to integrate and coordinate previously siloed sectors of health care to deliver a more whole-person approach to health. Arcora, the Foundation of Delta Dental, is a leader in building these collaborations to strengthen oral health integration.

Arcora is partnering with North Sound ACH and Olympic Community of Health — both of which have placed a strong emphasis on oral health integration — on a variety of support initiatives. These include Dentist LinkLocal Impact Networks (LINs), and provider trainings in collaboration with Qualis Health. Arcora is also offering initiatives, such as Dentist Link and LINs, to all ACHs.  It’s a lot of activity for what is quietly one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations focused on oral health.

5. 57 questions for Sen. Joe Fain from his accuser

The rape allegation against Sen. Joe Fain got some early media attention. Fain called for an investigation to clear his name, and denied all allegations.  Except there is no independent investigative authority to review such claims.  In the case of Rep. Matt Manweller, it was the House Republican Caucus that pushed Manweller to step down from his position, but only after a complete investigation had run its course.  Now, Fain’s accuser has outlined a set of 57 questions that she says any investigation should explore. The questions are compelling, powerful, and read like a cross examination.

We don’t pass judgement on this sort of thing at State of Reform.  But, we believe that – once the issue has been raised in the public domain – relevant information should be available for all parties to clear their name or support their claim. So, after considerable discussion, we’ve decided to highlight these 57 questions for you.  I think the question is now this:  what investigative role should the state Senate play (and specifically the Republican Caucus) in this matter to resolve any open questions?