5 Things Washington: Cathy McMorris Rodgers, SEBB update, Morris Pettit

Early registration for our upcoming 2019 Inland NW State of Reform Health Policy Conference is strong, already exceeding each of our previous six conferences.  Since the agenda is full of the most pressing topics in Washington State health care, and since we try to cover those in this newsletter, you’ll see some crossover below!


DJ 5 Things Signature

With help from Emily Boerger
and Emily Viles



1. CMR highlights health care in E. Washington

This week, Reporter Emily Boerger was in Spokane reporting on a series of events with U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. On Tuesday, the Congresswoman was joined by HUD Secretary Ben Carson to tour Spokane’s EnVision Center, which aims to connect individuals with wraparound services such as housing support and health care. Carson described the center as “outstanding” and as a best practice model for other areas.

McMorris Rodgers also visited the Spokane Tribal Council and one of Spokane’s Ideal Option clinics about her work in health care at the federal level.  We’ll have staff from Rep. McMorris Rodgers office, as well as US Senators Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell with us at our Spokane event on Sept. 10th.


2. Detailed Agenda now available!

In case you didn’t catch the email earlier this week, we are excited to announced the release of our Detailed Agenda for the 2019 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference! We’ve got a very strong lineup of speakers that we are excited to bring together on September 10th for one the more prominent health care and health policy events in the state.

Also, be sure to 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. An update on SEBB

Last week, the School Employees Benefits Board announced approved final medical premiums, plans, and service areas for school employees. The changing system of providing benefits to school employees is having an impact across the carrier and provider communities, particularly in some rural communities.

At this year’s Inland Northwest State of Reform Conference, we have a panel dedicated to providing an update on the latest progress in this transition and what it might mean for Washington State. Joining us are West Valley School District Superintendent Gene Sementi, Nine Mile Falls School District Superintendent Brian Talbott, and Rep. Timm Ormsby, Chair of the House Appropriations Committee.

4. Video: Morris Pettit, Turnleaf

Morris Pettit is the Founder of Turnleaf. He joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss using blockchain for credentialing.

“What [blockchain] does is it takes information, distributes it, and it keeps it safe. But it also makes it an immutable record so that nobody can grab this information that’s out there in a lot of different places. And so, particularly with credentials, you have a single point of truth for that credential, for that physician or that health care professional. So, we’re really excited about tackling this really tough problem that’s been going on in health care for a long time.”


5. McGill, Chiang, Myers, Lyman on the move

Under the leadership of Antony Chiang, and key staff like Brian Myers, Sarah Lyman and others, the Empire Health Foundation (EHF) has had an out-sized impact on health care and health policy in the state. The initial ground work for the 1115 waiver was funded by a grant from EHF, for example, with a priority on ACH formation.

Chiang announced this week that he is decamping Washington State to North Carolina. Chief Strategy Officer Myers will join him. This follows the departure of EVP Sarah Lyman, who is now CEO of Alliance Health Foundation in San Diego.

Meanwhile, longtime health policy advisor to two governors, Jason McGill, moved over to the HCA where he will work on Medicaid operations. He gave us an update on his move, where he will now implement some of the policy he has spent years working to develop.