September 14, 2023

The Spokane Convention Center

2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference

Conference Overview

The 2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference will once again be taking place in-person at the Spokane Convention Center on September 14th, 2023!

The State of Reform conference is focused on bridging the gap between health policy and political reality. Too often, those with good ideas for reforming healthcare don’t have a solid understanding of how the legislative process works. Those who understand politics don’t always comprehend the intricacies of the healthcare system. If you are interested in understanding what occurs at the nexus of health policy and politics, then this is the conference for you!

Join us at the Spokane Convention Center on September 14th to discuss the most important healthcare activities taking place in Eastern Washington. If you have any questions or speaker suggestions, please feel free to drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

Topical Agenda

Here is our 2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference Topical Agenda! This represents input from hours of conversations with our Advisory Panel and stakeholders across the spectrum of Washington healthcare over the last number of months.

If you have suggestions for speakers, please feel free to drop us a line. We would love to hear your thoughts on this! If you have not already registered, you can do so here.

Please note that all agenda times are local.

We are honored to release our list of Advisory Panel members ahead of our 2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference!

If you know Inland Northwest healthcare, then you know this is a “who’s who” of senior Healthcare executives and health policy leaders in the state! These folks will help shape our September agenda through a process that launches early summer of 2023.

Want to be a speaker? Want to join the Advisory Panel? Just have questions? If so, drop us a line and let us know you’re interested.

LaurenAdlerGovernment Relations Director, WashingtonElevance Health
JoanAltmanDirector, Government Affairs & Strategic PartnershipsWashington Health Benefit Exchange
RosaleeAllanFaculty, Public Health and Health AdministrationEastern Washington University
JaneBeyerSenior Health Policy AdvisorWashington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner
EmilyBriceSenior Attorney & Policy AdvisorNorthwest Health Law Advocates
DwayneDabbsSenior Director, Community Transformation - Complex HealthCareSource
AndreaDavisVice President, Government Relations & CommunicationsCoordinated Care
DekkerDirksenDirector, Public PolicyCommunity Health Plan of Washington
DanFergusonDirectorWA State Allied Health Center of Excellence
JimFreeburgFounder and Executive DirectorPatient Coalition of Washington
JustinJohnsonAssistant DirectorSpokane County Regional Behavioral Health Division
VickiLoweExecutive DirectorAmerican Indian Health Commission of Washington State
DarrylPotykAssistant Dean for Regional Clinical EducationUW School of Medicine
StaciaRasmussenLife Sciences Spokane Business Development ManagerGreater Spokane Inc.
JohnSklutSenior Advisor to the President & Liaison for External and Government RelationsGonzaga University
CourtneySmithChief Strategy OfficerWashington Association for Community Health
JeffThomasCEOFrontier Behavioral Health
DawnWeimarSenior Regional Director, Government and Regulatory Affairs3M Health Information Systems

Event Sponsors


Major Sponsors

Aetna Health Management Associates Premera Blue Cross United Healthcare PCMA Community Health Plan of Washington

Track Sponsors

Carelon Humana Fourfront Contributor Kaiser Permanente Washington State University (WSU) Spokane

Exhibitor Sponsors

Consistent Care Regence

Event Sponsors

Major Sponsors

Aetna Health Management Associates Premera Blue Cross United Healthcare PCMA Community Health Plan of Washington

Track Sponsors

Carelon Humana Fourfront Contributor Kaiser Permanente Washington State University (WSU) Spokane

Exhibitor Sponsors

Consistent Care Regence

Want to sponsor an upcoming conference?

See Sponorship Details

Our 2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference Detailed Agenda features the list of over 40 speakers we have lined up to speak on event day.

Thank you to our Advisory Panel, made up of leaders in Washington State healthcare, who helped us put together a well-informed agenda. If you’re not already registered, you can do so here.

Let us know if you have any questions about the conference. We look forward to seeing you in Spokane!

7:30 - 8:30

Registration/Networking Breakfast

The networking breakfast will take place before the start of the conference to allow attendees to grab a light refreshment and connect with their fellow colleagues before we kick things off for the day.

8:30 - 9:15

Opening Keynote: Legislative Outlook for 2024

Join Reps. Marcus Riccelli and Joe Schmick as we kick off our conference by exploring what’s on the horizon for healthcare in the Washington Legislature. These leading health lawmakers will discuss their priorities for the 2024 sessions and what they expect to be the prominent themes for policymaking in the upcoming session.

Rep. Marcus Riccelli: Chair, House Health Care & Wellness Committee

Rep. Joe Schmick: Ranking Minority Member, House Health Care & Wellness Committee

Kathleen Nolan: Regional Vice President, Health Management Associates (moderator)

9:30 - 10:30

Political Insights into the WA Legislature

In this session, we’ll key off of the opening plenary to take a deeper dive into the legislative agenda. This curated group of experts will provide a preview of what are likely to be the key conversations around health policy in the legislature in 2024 and what it all means for local stakeholders.

John Sklut: Senior Advisor to the President & Liaison for External and Government Relations, Gonzaga University

Molly Voris: Senior Policy Advisory, Office of Gov. Jay Inslee

Jennifer Ziegler: Lobbyist, Association of Washington Healthcare Plans

9:30 - 10:30

Developing a Reliable Workforce Pipeline

Washington has explored many avenues for supplementing its healthcare workforce. It joined the Nurse Licensure Compact this year, after previously being one of only 13 states that was not a member. Hospitals hope that will help support their nurse staffing, but more will need to be done. Check out this panel for ideas our experts have in mind for supporting the state’s healthcare workforce.

Marissa Ingalls: Senior Manager of Government Relations & External Affairs, Coordinated Care

Christina Peters: Tribal Community Health Provider Project Director, Northwest Portland Area Indian Health Board

Michelle Whitney: Superintendent, Pasco School District

Dan Ferguson: Director, Washington State Allied Health Center of Excellence (moderator)

9:30 - 10:30

Regional Challenges in Reproductive & Maternal Healthcare

Reproductive and maternal healthcare access is an issue throughout Washington State, but rural regions have their own unique access challenges for those in need of these critical services. Join this panel for an insightful discussion about how to tackle some of these region-specific challenges and increase access to care for reproductive and maternal health.

Elizabeth Barrera, DO, MPH: Substance Use Disorders Medical Director, Amerigroup

Theresa Hollinger: Chief Nursing Officer, Newport Hospital & Health Services

Clover Simon: Vice President, Human Resources, Planned Parenthood of Greater Washington and North Idaho

Jac Davies: Committee Liaison, The Rural Collaborative (moderator)

10:45 - 11:45

Implementation Issues in Closing the Coverage Gap

There is a strong commitment to healthcare coverage across the state, but there are significant challenges ahead in meeting that promise. Under the COVID health emergency, many Washingtonians received and sustained Medicaid coverage. As we go forward, significant churn is expected, and efforts are needed to support transitions to other programs. Panelists will discuss coverage continuity challenges, programs for outreach and affordability, and the next stages of the coverage environment.

Joan Altman: Director of Government Affairs & Strategic Partnerships, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

Leanne Berge: Chief Executive Officer, Community Health Plan of Washington

Emily Brice: Deputy Director, Northwest Health Law Advocates

Rebecca Carrell: Deputy Director of Medicaid Programs, Washington State Health Care Authority

10:45 - 11:45

Innovative Strategies for Addressing Behavioral Health Capacity

Several new behavioral health treatment facilities are slated to open in Washington over the next couple years. The facilities fall in line with Gov. Jay Inslee’s 2019 behavioral health transformation plan that aims to reshape how and where patients receive care. However, the need for these services continues to grow. Learn about initiatives that can help at this panel, as they explore current initiatives and the impact of changes to date.

Jane Beyer: Senior Health Policy Advisor, Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner

Supriya Kang, MD: Behavioral Health Medical Director, UnitedHealth Group

Tom Sebastian: Chief Executive Officer; Member, Compass Health; Fourfront Contributor

10:45 - 11:45

Communities Coming Together on Social Determinants of Health

Addressing social determinants of health like housing, income, and race/ethnicity are undoubtedly a top priority for leaders in Washington healthcare. There is also a growing recognition that engaging individuals at the community level is a key aspect of this work. This panel will talk through the ways in which local communities can help close health equity gaps by working to address SDOH.

Dave Iverson: Chief Executive Officer, Healthy Ferry County Coalition

Martha Lanman: Executive Director, Southeast Washington Alliance for Health

Jenny Smith: Director of Strategy & Community Engagement, Newport Hospital and Health Services

Jac Davies: Committee Liaison, The Rural Collaborative (moderator)

11:45 - 12:45

Networking Lunch

1:00 - 2:00

Exploring CBO Partnerships to Address Health Equity

Community-based organizations are increasingly being recognized as key partners for making healthcare delivery more equitable. How are these partnerships emerging in Inland Washington State, and what are some of the obstacles to efficient collaboration between the two groups? Grab a seat at this panel for a robust conversation about CBOs’ role in improving equity in healthcare.

Genny Arredondo: Associate Director of Outreach, Washington Health Benefit Exchange

Jessica Beach: Director, Health Equity and Cultural Competency, Molina Healthcare

Carolyn Cox: Executive Director, SPARK Peer Learning Center

Hadda Estrada: Chief Equity & Strategy Officer, Better Health Together

1:00 - 2:00

Multi-Sector Workforce Retention & Operational Challenges

In addition to having a strong workforce pipeline, retaining the current healthcare workforce amidst burnout, staffing shortages, workplace violence, and a variety of other challenges is crucial. So how can different sectors collaborate to support healthcare staff and address these challenges? This panel of leaders in workforce support will discuss the challenges that lie ahead and the most promising strategies for retaining the region’s healthcare workforce.

Meg Lindsay: HR Workforce Development Program Manager, Providence

Meghan Regis: Workforce Innovation & Alignment Manager, Washington State Health Care Authority

Kevin Williams: Division Executive for System Advancement, Spokane Workforce Council

1:00 - 2:00

What's on the Horizon for Apple Health?

State agencies are continually making moves to supplement Washington’s Apple Health program, aiming to cover more residents and provide additional services. CMS recently approved Washington’s request to extend and amend its Section 1115 waiver, which will allow the state to implement new policies and use federal Medicaid funds to improve Apple Health. These panelists will provide insight on what’s in store for the program in years to come.

Courtney Smith Jiles: Chief Strategy Officer, Washington Assocation for Community Health

Jason McGill: Assistant Director of Medicaid Programs, Washington State Health Care Authority

Chase Napier: Medicaid Transformation Project Director, Washington State Health Care Authority

Caitlin Safford: Plan Chief of Staff, Amerigroup Washington

2:15 - 3:15

Efforts to Provide Sustainable Housing in the Region

Washington is experiencing a housing crisis. While much of the attention seems focused on the big cities, every community needs affordable housing with supportive services and both short- and long-term options. The state will need to create 116,000 permanent supportive housing units in the next 20 years. These panelists will discuss the state’s housing needs, and how sustainable homes can be established for those in need.

Rhonda Hauff: Chief Executive Officer, Yakima Neighborhood Health Services

Pam Parr: Executive Director, Spokane Housing Authority

Zeke Smith: President, Empire Health Foundation

2:15 - 3:15

Healthcare Affordability for Rural Communities

While affordability is an universal challenge in American healthcare, rural areas often struggle even more with the cost of care. Patients frequently must travel long distances to receive needed care, which adds to their overall expenditure on healthcare. This group of panelists will discuss how the region’s healthcare system can focus on making healthcare more affordable for rural patients.

Jim Freeburg: Executive Director, Patient Coalition of Washington

Sam Hatzenbeler: Senior Policy Associate, Economic Opportunity Institute

Theresa Lampkin Tamura, MHA: Operations & Engagement Strategist, Policy Division, Washington State Health Care Authority

Jen Sanders: Vice President, Network Management, Premera

2:15 - 3:15

Closing the Digital Divide & Increasing Broadband Access

Access to broadband and telehealth is a top-of-mind issue for those working in the rural Inland Northwest region. Many of the care innovations today, including hospital at home, telehealth, remote health monitoring, rely on regular and reliable access to broadband services. During COVID, many of these innovations became more prevalent, but the availability of technology to ensure private and high-quality remote services must keep pace. Our panelists will discuss the current state of access and what is needed to close the gap for more INW residents.

Michael Cathcart: City Councilmember, City of Spokane

Sylvia Gil: Director, Integrated Programs and Systems Improvement, Community Health Network of Washington and Community Health Plan of Washington

Erika Henry: Deputy Director, State Broadband Office, Washington State Department of Commerce

Ariane Schmidt: Executive Director, Spokane Regional Broadband Development Authority (BROADLINC)

3:30 - 4:00

Closing Keynote: A Conversation with Dr. Fotinos

We’re closing out the conference with a unique one-on-one conversation with Washington State Medicaid Director Charissa Fotinos, MD. Wrap up your day by grabbing a seat and hearing Fotinos discuss her outlook on current policy initiatives and the road ahead for Apple Health.

Charissa Fotinos, MD: Medicaid Director, Washington State Health Care Authority

Kathleen Nolan: Regional Vice President, Health Management Associates (moderator)

What You Missed: 2023 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference


Ethan Kispert



Inland NW, News, Video, What You Missed

What You Missed: 2022 Inland Northwest State of Reform Health Policy Conference


Ethan Kispert



Inland NW, News, Video, What You Missed

See All Inland NW News

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