5 Things Washington: Medicaid enrollment, Brian Warren, COVID spread

We have a great panel on anti-racism teed up for you next week, and what will be an insightful sessions for us on Monday August 10th in item 1 below.

But, our 2020 Inland NW State of Reform Virtual Health Policy Conference will likely be among the stand out events we produce all year. We’ll release our Topical Agenda next week, but our Early Bird rates expire at the end of the day today. So, if you want to save some money and you know you want to join us for this Virtual Conference, get registered to be with us before the clock runs out!





With help from Emily Boerger

1. Virtual Conversation: VM & CHI

Two weeks ago, news broke that Virginia Mason and CHI Franciscan were merging to form a joint operating company after years of working in a strategic partnership. I will get a chance to host a virtual conversation with Dr. Gary Kaplan, chairman and CEO of the Virginia Mason Health System in Seattle, and Ketul J. Patel, CEO of CHI Franciscan.

The event is coming up on August 10 at 12:00 pm. It’s free to register, thanks to the support from Pfizer, but you’ve got to get signed up in advance.


2. Jumps in Medicaid and CHIP enrollment

Washington State Medicaid/CHIP enrollment increased by 602,346 individuals (+53.9%) between the “Pre-Open Enrollment” period (July 2013 – Sept. 2013), prior to Medicaid expansion, and March 2020, according to a recent report. This represents the second largest total growth in enrollment in the country, trailing behind only California. The national percent increase for Medicaid expansion states is 32.3%.

The data also shows that from 2019 to 2020, Washington saw a 3.9% decrease in Qualified Health Plan selections. Nationally, the average change for selected QHPs for state-based marketplace models is an increase of 3%.

3. Providers rank MCO performance in Pierce County

Sen. Steve O’Ban recently sent a letter to the HCA detailing the results of a recent provider survey ranking the performance of MCOs in Pierce County. The survey and letter, which was sent on behalf of the Integration Oversight Board (IOB), was in response to a recent HCA request for proposals which opened the door for a new MCO to operate in Pierce County. The IOB is a collaboration between Pierce County and Elevate Health, the ACH.

The IOB letter suggests the HCA should consider removing underperforming MCOs “or at a minimum reopen the competitive process. Consistent with that objective, providers would almost certainly welcome CHPW if it could demonstrate its responsiveness to providers.” Apparently successful bidders of the RFP were supposed to be announced July 29, according to this amendment, though that may not yet be public.

4.  Video: Brian Warren, BIO

Brian Warren is the Director of Government Affairs at the Biotechnology Innovation Organization (BIO), the world’s largest trade association representing biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers, and other related organizations. He joins us in this edition “What They’re Watching” to discuss preparing the health care system for innovation.

“We’re at a real point where you have truly transformative therapies coming out in the form of cell and gene therapy that are able to provide fixes to genetic diseases…These are expensive therapies and the health care payment system wasn’t designed for drugs like this. So, we’re looking at ways that we can work with payers, with state Medicaid agencies, to ensure that sometimes we’re looking at innovative payment models to help ensure that we have a system that is able to bear some of these new technologies and the prices that they will ultimately have.”


5. A potential “Florida-like condition”

Last week, experts warned Washington could be in a “Florida-like condition” if the state doesn’t take action to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The warning came during a Thursday press conference where Gov. Jay Inslee introduced a series of new restrictions on restaurants, bars, weddings, and fitness centers.

The Institute for Disease Modeling’s latest situation report estimates an effective reproductive number of about 1.16 in western Washington and 1.19 in eastern Washington. Though this is an improvement from the previous situation report which described Washington as being in an “explosive situation,” this is still among the highest reproductive rates since March.