5 Things We’re Watching – Washington, August 2013

With our inaugural Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference coming up next month, we thought we’d preview some of the topics you’ll find at this year’s Sept 12th conference.

From the Exchange, to Medicaid Expansion, to innovative provider care models to a frank discussion of cost drivers, the program is full of content you won’t find all in one place anywhere else.

It’s the sharing of ideas, strategies, and successes that make this conference something to watch.

DJ Wilson - Host, State of Reform

1. 55 speakers, 21 sessions and counting!

In four weeks, 55 speakers will dig into the biggest topics – but at the most local of levels.  It’s content you’d typically find at a national level, but in this case, it’s hosted in the Inland NW.

So whether you’re a novice to health care or an accomplished veteran in the field, it’s never too early to start planning your day.  Check out our detailed agenda for the full schedule of breakout sessions and tracks.  You can register for the event here.

2. Health Benefit Exchange: It’s the final countdown…

With the event just weeks before the “go-live” launch of the state’s Health Benefit Exchange, Washington Healthplanfinder, we thought you might have a few questions.  So we’re bringing you straight to the source.

Exchange board members, like Teresa Mosqueda and Bill Baldwin, will shed some light on what to expect October 1st and beyond. Exchange Operations Program Manager Brad Finnegan will also host a session to discuss in more detail how the Exchange will work and what it will mean for employers.

Empire Health

3.  OIC ruling tough on Medicaid plans

Three of the five carriers that were not approved by the OIC for the Exchange also happen to be three of the five state Medicaid plans. This is causing considerable concern over “churn” in coverage as incomes fluctuate for the Medicaid-eligible population.

The primary reason?  The OIC said there were often not sufficient provider networks.  But, if these plans have provider networks which are good enough for Medicaid patients, shouldn’t they be good enough for exchange beneficiaries?

You can ask MaryAnne Lindeblad, Director of the Washington State Medicaid Program, that question yourself at our event.  She’ll be talking about the Future of Medicaid.

4. “State Innovation Models” planning process update

Washington is one of only three states to receive a State Innovation Model Pre-Testing Award. It’s a $1m grant to prepare a larger implementation grant request to CMS.

Nathan Johnson, Assistant Director of Health Policy for the Health Care Authority, will discuss innovation planning efforts as part of this grant.  He’ll outline the status of the work, and get your feedback to inform the process.  The State Health Care Innovation Plan is due to CMS by September 30, 2013.

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5. Direct insight from state policy leaders

The Inslee administration and State Legislature face some of the most complex health policy decisions our state has ever entertained.  So, we’ve tried to get a number of them there and engaged.

Governor Inslee’s Senior Health Policy Advisor Bob Crittenden, MD will walk us through the tasks and roadmap laying before Governor Inslee and his team.   Sen. Linda Evans Parlette, Sen. David Frockt, Sen. Karen Keiser, Rep. Marcus Riccelli, Rep. Joe Schmick, and Rep. Shelly Short will walk us through recent policy changes and plans for the upcoming session.