5 Things Washington: Q&A w/ Rep. Maycumber, Public option rulemaking, K-12 behavioral health

In case you missed it, Early Bird Registration is now open for the 2022 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up on January 6! We want to extend a huge thank you to our Convening Panel which met yesterday to talk through the issues and topics that will be teed up for discussion at the event.

We are still in the early stages of putting together the agenda, so if you have any topics, speakers, or content ideas, we would love to hear them.

Emily Boerger
Managing Editor
State of Reform

 

1. Q&A: Rep. Maycumber discusses 2022 health policy

Rep. Jacquelin Maycumber is a member of both the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and the House Capital Budget Committee. In this Q&A, Maycumber offers a preview of the issues and policies she’ll prioritize in the 2022 legislative session.

Maycumber says supporting continuity of care, addressing deferred care from the pandemic, and ensuring a more effective mental health crisis response will all be top of mind. “Sometimes it’s hard to get help, but having a mental health provider respond at the time with a 911 call is really good because you’re actually communicating in that crisis moment. And you can see the needs that they have — whether that is housing, or medical, or just a support system — you can really see those social services that are necessary at the time.” She’ll also have her eye on the Total Cost of Insulin Work Group, which was put in place through her 2020 insulin price cap bill.


2. 5 Slides: Gene therapy and the promise for rare disease

Gene therapy represents a new generation of medicine that shows great promise in the fight against rare genetic diseases. On Thursday, October 21, from 12:00pm – 1:00pm PDT, we’ll bring a panel of experts together for a conversation on gene therapy, how policy makers are responding, and what obstacles stand in the way of wide-spread gene therapy treatments.

Joining our “5 Slides: Gene therapy and the promise for rare disease” virtual conversation will be Dr. Jennifer Hodge, US Rare Neurology Medical Team Lead at Pfizer, Carolina Sommer, Founder of the Northwest Rare Disease Coalition, and Ryan Fischer, Chief Advocacy Officer at Parent Project Muscular Dystrophy. This event is free to attend, but you have to register to join us. You’ll be able to pose questions and participate in the conversation as well, just as you do in our conferences. We’d love to have you with us!

 

3. HCA discusses public option participation requirements

Last week, the Health Care Authority provided stakeholders with information on the rulemaking process for mandatory public option hospital participation requirements put in place through “Cascade Care 2.0.” During the conversation, stakeholders highlighted low negotiated rates, administrative burden, and preserving the continuity of care as being barriers to hospital participation.

When it comes to ensuring hospital compliance, one participant suggested that instead of assigning fines, HCA should assign administrators to closely assist non-compliant hospitals. Stakeholders also asked for clarity about what constitutes “an offer” from a health plan, and how that will impact hospitals. State of Reform has coverage of the full rulemaking informational meeting here.

 

4. Nursing burnout: “It’s like a warzone”

According to a Washington Center for Nursing study, 42% of surveyed nurses in the state have thought about or made plans to leave the field of nursing, and 69% reported moderate or extreme COVID-19-related staffing concerns. To get an on-the-ground perspective of this issue, State of Reform Reporter Soraya Marashi caught up with Nikki May, a registered nurse at Kadlec Regional Medical Center, for an in-depth look at her experiences as a nurse in a strained and understaffed ICU unit.

May says “it’s like a warzone.” She says full ICU beds, a lack of support from the community, and a feeling of being undervalued by hospitals have contributed to increased burnout in recent months. “Everybody is so overworked; we’re stretched thin. And if something major doesn’t change, and it doesn’t change fast, it’s not going to be good. People aren’t going to get the care that they deserve. And we’re not going to have any nurses to take care of anybody.” One solution that would make a difference, she says, is passing a national policy establishing safe nurse-patient ratios.


5. Committee meeting: K-12 behavioral health needs

A COVID-19 survey of Washington students found 44.7% of middle schoolers and 57.7% of high schoolers reported feeling depressed or sad most days in the past year. This data and the outlook for BH needs in K-12 education were some of the issues discussed at a recent Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee meeting.

During the meeting, lawmakers received an update on partial hospitalization and intensive outpatient program opportunities on both the east and west sides of the state. OSPI also ran through its 2022 supplemental operating budget request which includes $27 million in FY 2023, $63 million in FY 2024, and $100 million in FY 2025 to increase school nurse staffing across the state.