5 Things Washington: Olympia Insiders, Lessons from other states, Cost of care

Last night, our kids and about 10-12 other kids on our street went caroling around the neighborhood. It was dark, and chilly, of course. But, in an hour, we met a 102-woman none of us had met before. The kids hugged the recent widower on the corner. And, we introduced newly arrived neighbors to some of the old guard.

It was a great reminder of the importance of community, and how powerful it can be to get out and spread a little cheer – even if you were in a foul mood, as I was, after the Seahawks game.

So, happy holidays to you, and Merry Christmas! Reach out to your neighbors in the dark. Find the magic of Christmas in kids’ joy. And, beat the 49ers…



With help from Emily Boerger

1. Learning from other states

Improving the health care system is sometimes easier said than done. Although Washington is leading the way in many initiatives, it’s always helpful to hear about what is working in other regions. Our panel, “Lessons learned from other states,” at the 2020 Washington State of Reform Conference features three leaders from three other markets that we’ve curated for our audience in Seattle.

Offering their expertise will be Janet Meyer, Principal at Health Management Associates in Oregon, and Ruby Blum, Policy Advisor for the Office of Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Rounding out the panel will be Abner Mason, Chief Executive Office of ConsejoSano, a patient engagement and patient navigation company based out of Los Angeles.

2.  Why is maternal health still a struggle?

The policy community has increasingly galvanized around the need to do something about the United States’s lingering poor performance on maternal health. This is true in Washington State as well. However, health care’s performance in addressing maternal health, from prenatal care to the ‘fourth trimester,’ continues to produce mixed results. This session will explore the health of mothers and mothers-to-be in Washington State.

On this panel we’ll hear from Patty Hayes, RN, MN, Director of Public Health for Seattle & King County, Elya Prystowsky, PhD, Executive Director of Washington Rural Health Collaborative, and Bree Collaborative Director Ginny Weir.


3. Taking on health care costs in WA

Cost is increasingly the most prominent topic in health care and health policy. While the data shows utilization of high cost services is level or down, the unit price of health care services – and thus the total cost – continues to rise. What policy and market responses ought we seek to promote to address this cost trend?

At our conference on January 9, we will take on the issue of cost in our “Getting our hands around the total cost of care” panel. Joining us for the conversation is Nancy Giunto, Executive Director at Washington Health Alliance, Hugh Straley, MD, Chair of the Bree Collaborative, and David Grossman, MD, Senior Associate Medical Director of Market Strategy & Public Policy at Kaiser Permanente.

4. Olympia insiders talk shop

One of the most popular sessions we host every year features lobbyists from Olympia who share their thoughts on health policy. They usually tell it like it is, explaining why you’ll be reading some headlines and not others during the 60-day session next year. Bring your questions, as well as your own insights, to a session that is particularly interactive and forward thinking.

This year, we’ve lined up Joan Altman, Associate Director of Legislative & External Affairs at Washington Health Benefit Exchange, and Chelene Whiteaker, Senior Vice President of Government Affairs at the Washington State Hospital Association. Matt Miller, Director of Government Affairs at CHI Franciscan will join the panel, as well.


5.  Lessons from tech startups and venture capital

There are substantive changes in health care being driven by health technology. How are the investments made in new tech companies attempting to re-shape the industry? This diverse group of speakers will offer a range of perspectives on the topic, and highlight the learnings from these attempts to disrupt and improve the system.

This afternoon session will feature Ian Shakil, Founder and Chairman of Augmedix, Heather Redman, Managing Partner at Flying Fish Partners, and Robbie Cape, Chief Executive Officer of 98point6.