5 Things Washington: Inslee’s BH plan, Staici West, Detailed Agenda

We are four weeks out from our 2019 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference. So, some of the topics we’re watching in health care in December are justifiably also teed up for our conference on January 10th.

This will be the 9th State of Reform conference.  Last year at this time, we had 342 registrants ahead of getting to 654 in January. Today, we have 415 registrants already, on our way to…?  But, it’s not a party without you – so get signed up before the start of the new year is upon us all!

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



1. Notable health care legislation coming in 2019

The OIC is going to take another run at a bill that would ban “balance billing” in health care in the 2019 session. The practice of “balance billing” is when a health care provider takes payment from an insurer, but then charges the patient the additional “balance” that the provider still believes is owed.

There will also likely be a bill to develop a “public option” insurance plan in the state. This would allow Washington State, or a junior entity like the City of Seattle, to offer an insurance product to compete with the private market. The policy idea and implications will be discussed in detail on January 10th at the 2019 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference.


2. Detailed Agenda now available!

In case you didn’t catch the email on Tuesday, we are excited to announce the release of our Detailed Agenda for the 2019 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference! We’ve got a very strong lineup of speakers that we are excited to bring together on January 10th for one of the largest, most diverse convenings of healthcare leaders in the state.

Also, be sure check out the Topical Agenda to get a feel for the day, and take a look at our Convening Panel to see some of the folks who helped put the agenda together. If you haven’t registered to be with us yet, we’d be honored to have you join us!

3. Gov. Inslee’s next steps on behavioral health

Governor Jay Inslee announced a $675 million plan this week with an aim to guide a transformation of Washington’s behavioral health system as part of his 2019-2021 budget. The investments follow up on a five-year plan for changing the system that Inslee announced earlier this year.

The new plan includes funding to start planning community facilities across the state that would house over 600 beds for civil patients. Also included in the plan is funding to launch a partnership with the University of Washington that would include visioning for a collaborative teaching hospital. Such a hospital would “serve patients and provide support for the nation’s first comprehensive training program for integrated behavioral health.” According to the plan’s accompanying policy brief, there were 17 vacant psychiatrist positions at Western State Hospital as of last month.

4.  Video: Staici West, Premera Blue Cross

Staici West is the Director of Provider Network Management & Solutions at Premera Blue Cross. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss value-based contracts.

“So, our goal with value-based is really to develop contracts that are threefold. One – improve the patient experience or member experience, two – improve quality outcomes, and three – reduce the total cost of care. But there’s another factor that people don’t think about and that’s really scalability…how do you develop contracts that can be applied to multiple specialties, providers, and hospitals that administratively we can operationalize all of them?”


5. Health care pricing data in Washington State

Claims data is hard to get a hold of in the aggregate across plans and carriers.  But, it’s that data that can show the true cost of care in a system.

So, that’s why we’re so excited to have Robin Gelburd, CEO of FAIR Health, coming out from New York to keynote State of Reform on January 10th.  FAIR Health is the nation’s largest repository of private claims data with over 27 billion claims from the commercial and Medicare markets.

If you are interested in cost, pricing or data, Robin’s presentation will deliver a presentation that is specific – by geozip code – to the experience here in Washington State.  I think this will be a powerful presentation that you’re not likely to find outside of State of Reform.