5 Things Washington: Legislative leadership, Rx policy, Cost of care


Eli Kirshbaum


We are one week out from our 2022 Washington State of Reform Health Policy Conference. The conference will feature 4 keynotes, 20 breakout sessions, and close to 80 curated speakers who will talk through some of the most pressing and impactful issues facing Washington’s health care system.

In light of increasing infections due to the Omicron variant, we have decided to move the conference to a digital platform. As you know, over the past 19 months, we’ve gotten pretty good at hosting virtual events! While we would love to see you in person, we don’t feel now is the time to test everyone’s luck.

With that in mind, for this edition of “5 Things We’re Watching,” we feature a handful of the upcoming sessions that we’re looking forward to hosting. We’d love to have you join us!

Emily Boerger
State of Reform


1. Legislators shaping health policy

Some of the most important legislators in health policy will join us at the conference on January 6. On our “Policy leadership: Democrats” panel we’ll hear from Reps. Eileen Cody and Jessica Bateman, who serve as chair and vice chair of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, respectively. We’re also looking forward to hearing from Sens. Karen Keiser and Emily Randall, who both serve on the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

Joining us on our “Policy leadership: Republicans” panel will be Rep. Joe Schmick, ranking minority member of the House Health Care & Wellness Committee, Rep. Paul Harris, minority caucus chair, and Sen. Judy Warnick, member of the Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee.


2. Leveraging collaboration to drive cost control

The pandemic has disrupted health systems across the country, but the focus is slowly shifting back to costs. From market pricing power to utilization and prior authorization, various issues are producing novel strategies to tamp down the unit cost of care. This panel will include a conversation on some of those strategies, highlighting both the lessons learned from success as well as those from setbacks.

This panel of thought leaders will include Dr. Michael Anderson, senior vice president/chief medical officer at Virginia Mason Franciscan Health, Gina Noh, healthcare executive director for the Seattle/Alaska market at Genentech, Sheree Paloutzian, PhD, senior director of health plans and payer markets for the west region at Quest Diagnostics, and Anthony Chen, director of the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.


3. The new social determinant imperative

The importance of the social determinants is now well known, but doing something to employ that knowledge in a meaningful and sustainable way is still elusive. During our “The new social determinant imperative” panel, this group of experts will discuss the intersection of the delivery system and community, and the lessons learned from work to connect the two.

Kelsey Potter, executive director of Apple Health Medicaid at Coordinated Care, and Anthony Davis, managing director of quality and accreditation services at HMA, will join a multi-perspective panel on this important topic. Melissa Sherry, PhD, vice president of social care integration at Unite Us, and Nathan Buck, director of education and community services at Neighborhood House, will also join the conversation.

4. Measuring tradeoffs in Rx policy

Prescription drug pricing and purchasing has been a major topic of discussion in both policy and market-centered conversations. We’re looking forward to hosting a group of experts on our “Measuring tradeoffs in Rx policy” panel for a discussion on state prescription drug policy and the impacts of COVID on the industry.

Panelists will include Omar Daoud, PharmD, director of pharmacy at Community Health Plan of Washington, Dharia McGrew, PhD, director of state policy at PhRMA, and Brian Warren, director of government affairs for the western region at Biotechnology Innovation Organization. Be sure to bring your questions to what will be a particularly forward-looking conversation.

5. Surveying changes in payment methodologies

Policy makers are moving to reform payment of primary care, but it’s unclear whether such efforts will generate the momentum needed to move the system on its own. This breakout session will discuss the work to reform financial models, as well as the conversations related to the reimbursement system for primary care.

Our “Surveying changes in payment methodologies” panel will bring together Preston Cody, director of network management at Amerigroup, Tami Hutchison, vice president at Signify Health, Nathan Johnson, vice president at Premera Blue Cross, and Elizabeth Dreicer, chief executive officer at Nobil.