5 Things Washington: Bob Ferguson, social determinants, the patient perspective

We are now two weeks out from our 2019 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference at the Westin in Downtown Seattle.  We already have over 600 registrants set to be with us, along with about 110 speakers.  Our ‘deep dive’ Pre-Conference Sessions still have a couple of spots left if you’d like to join those, but are close to sold out.  Our pre-event Networking Reception at the WAC January 9th still has room for folks, though!

Because the conference features the things we’re all talking about and working on in Washington State health care today, the 5 Things We’re Watching this month are all also on our agenda for January 10th. So, we wanted to feature five sessions worth coming to at State of Reform.


DJ 5 Things Signature


With help from Emily Boerger and
Sara Gentzler.


1.  AG Bob Ferguson to join lunch keynote

Our lunch time keynote on the 10th will be divided into five one-on-one keynote conversations with some of the region’s most prominent senior market executives and health policy leaders. New to the impressive list of speakers joining us during the keynote is Washington State Attorney General Bob Ferguson.

Ferguson has been an outspoken critic of the Trump Administration, and has to date filed 32 lawsuits against the Trump administration — three of which relate to the Affordable Care Act. We will discuss the recent judgement declaring the ACA unconstitutional, along with efforts challenging the ruling where Marjie High and Sara Gentzler on our team estimate a decision possibly as soon as June 2020.


2. Community-based care and the mental health system

Transitioning mental health care from large institutions to a more community-based model will be one of the major issues in the 2019 legislative session. Our panel, “Community-Based Care and the Mental Health System,” will discuss the legislation teed up, as well as identify some of the important hurdles and challenges that remain.

This panel will feature Rashi Gupta, Senior Policy Advisor on Behavioral Health Integration for the Office of Gov. Inslee, and Kathie Olsen, Interim Vice President of Health Care Services at Molina Healthcare of Washington. Also joining the panel is Senator Steve O’Ban, Ranking Member of the Senate Human Services & Corrections Committee, who was part of a trio of Republican senators that recently introduced a package of legislation aimed at reforming Washington’s mental health system.

3. The “nitty gritty” of behavioral health integration

On January 1st, Medicaid will launch full financial and clinical integration of medical and behavioral health services in four new regions, including King, Pierce and Snohomish Counties. It’s a big move, and stems out of legislation passed in 2014.  At our 2019 Washington State of Reform Conference, our panel on this topic will discuss the details of doing the work of integration, and the range of models in Washington State seeking the same end of improved care.

Speaking on our “The ‘Nitty Gritty’ of Behavioral Health Integration” panel is Coordinated Care Medical Director Dr. Sasha Waring, Wellfound Behavioral Health Hospital CEO Maureen Womack, and Neighborcare Health Chief of Operations Meredith VaughanMilena Stott, Healthcare Practice Lead at Altruis Partners, will moderate this important discussion.

4.  Health equity’s connection to the social determinants

While health care reform efforts move forward, the disparity in health outcomes and equity across geography and demography remains a broad and persistent challenge. On January 10, we’ll host leaders who will review why the issue consistently lingers, and the impacts of the inter-generational transfer of social determinants.

Panelists will come to the issue from a variety of angles. They include Leanne Berge, CEO of Community Health Plan of Washington; Katie Escudero, Policy Analyst at the King County Housing Authority; Jennifer Tran, Senior Policy Analyst at the Washington Budget and Policy Center; and Ivor Horn, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Accolade.

5. The patients’ perspective on health policy

On our convening panel of stakeholders in the health care industry, the importance of hearing from patients is a common refrain. In January, we’ll host a conversation about how advances in health care frequently outpace policy makers, and — from patients’ perspectives — how best to build a new policy framework that supports innovation while protecting consumers and the financial stability of the system.

Joining us for the conversation will be Toby Willis, who will offer firsthand knowledge as a Gene Therapy Patient; Brenda Gleason, President of M2 Consulting; and Ashanthi DeSilva, Rare Disease Editor for The Mighty.