Olympic Medical Center is a comprehensive health care provider serving the residents of Port Angeles, Sequim and surrounding communities. Inpatient services include a level-three trauma designated emergency department, surgical services, and labor and delivery. Outpatient services include cardiac care, cancer care, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy and rehabilitation, laboratory, orthopaedics, surgical services, sleep center, home health, primary care, a walk-in clinic and specialty physician clinics.
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Legislative Advocacy

Looking at a busy 2019
Washington State Legislative session

Olympic Medical is seeing unrelenting pressure on finances given continuing Medicare cuts and insufficient Medicaid reimbursement, in addition to ongoing unfunded regulatory mandates. 

Olympic Medical Center’s work during the 2019 legislative session is focused on maintaining adequate reimbursement, improvements for rural health care and working on important initiatives that impact health care delivery across the state. 

The following areas are key priorities for Olympic Medical in Olympia this session:

  • The one-year Sole Community Hospital Medicaid enhancement budget proviso passed in 2018 has been essential for OMC and Grays Harbor and the communities we each serve. We are asking for another budget proviso to maintain this critical support through the biennium. This is much needed funding to support access to needed services in Clallam County. 
  • We are concerned about wrongful death legislation and ask that changes to the wrongful death statute be limited to the removal of residency requirements, and if necessary, requirements of financial dependency for parents and siblings. Expanding the law on who may sue and for what types of damages dramatically expands liability; in turn, this may result in insurance premiums spiking and may make it more difficult for hospitals to provide patients access to services, particularly in more rural areas. 
  • In regard to nurse staffing, we are encouraging legislators to give House Bill 1714 (passed in 2017, fully implementing January 2019) a chance to take root. Across the state, hospitals have, for the first time, just submitted joint staffing plans to the Department of Health after development with local union members.  We believe this collaborative effort between WSHA, WSNA, SEIU 1199NW and UFCW 21 deserves an opportunity to succeed. 
  • We are pleased to see so much bipartisan interest in improving behavioral health. As work progresses on this, we are asking legislators to consider partial hospitalization coverage under the Medicaid program, as well as increased long-term care rates for memory loss and dementia patients on Medicaid. 
  • A 2018 budget proviso for Peninsula College to expand its nursing, certified nurse assistant and medical assistant programs has already begun to bear fruit. We hope the state is able to extend this for another two years, then the expanded programs will be fully funded by Peninsula College operations. 
  • The state is considering ways to transform the rural health care delivery system, and we encourage legislators to support reasonable guardrails to protect the long-term stability of the rural health system in Washington State as work continues toward global budgeting. We fear many rural hospitals are at risk in the short-term – and could greatly suffer in the long-term – if rural transformation efforts aren’t thoughtfully and strategically implemented.  

Working with the Washington State Hospital Association, our top priorities for this session will help ensure that hospitals can be stable institutions in our communities long into the future, improve the behavioral health system for patients, and maintain flexibility for hospital operations, while preventing burdensome and costly new regulations. Please click here for a full list of legislative priorities on the Washington State Hospital Association website

Federal Advocacy

Fighting site neutral and protecting the

340B program at the top of our agenda 

 

Olympic Medical Center proceeds with lawsuit

In 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) implemented a rule that cuts Medicare reimbursement by 30% in 2019 and increases to 60% in 2020 for clinic services provided in off-site clinics. 

Olympic Medical Center is a named plaintiff in an American Hospital Association- and Association of American Medical Colleges-sponsored lawsuit filed against the US Department of Health and Human Services over the rule. Developments will be posted as they occur.

As the lawsuit proceeds, Olympic Medical will continue to talk with federal legislators about fixing this rule in Congress. 

Preserving the 340B program

The 340B Drug Pricing Program has provided financial relief to safety net hospitals for high prescription drug costs and access to costly drugs to low-income seniors for more than 20 years. As a rural Sole Community Hospital, Rural Referral Center and safety net hospital, Olympic Medical Center began participating in the program in 2015.

The congressional intent of the 340B program was to reduce government spending for drugs and to help hospitals expand access to medical treatment in vulnerable communities by stretching limited resources. Unfortunately dramatic cuts, a 28.5% reduction in reimbursement specifically, were made to the program that essentially gut the program of its benefits. As a federally designated Sole Community Hospital OMC is protected from this new rule for at least the first year; however, OMC supports the AHA in continuing to fight against these cuts and further protect the 340B program.

To learn more about how OMC and the community benefits from the 340B program, please review the 340B Impact Statement.

Closing Loopholes for Orphan Drugs Act 

Olympic Medical Center continues to support a House legislative fix to the 340B program called Closing Loopholes for Orphan Drugs Act. This legislation better defines the 340B program’s "orphan drug” exclusion. An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical that is that has been developed specifically to treat a rare medical condition, and the 340B program discount does not apply to orphan drugs. However, insurance companies have expanded the orphan drug exclusion, and do not allow the discount for these drugs even if they are commonly used to treat conditions outside of the original orphan drug designation. This is particularly impactful at Olympic Medical Cancer Center, for example, where some of these pharmaceuticals are highly effective cancer therapies, yet the drug’s orphan status is not related to cancer treatment. Olympic Medical Center supports the bill to close the loophole related to orphan drugs by limiting the exclusion to allow greater access by patients to treatment and services. 

How Can You Help Advocate?

Take an active role in helping to solve the health care crisis! Educate yourself about current issues facing the industry, and ask your state and federal representatives to ensure adequate funding for health care providers in Washington State.

Write to your legislators. Your letters count! Let your legislators know how you feel about health care decisions. After all, legislators rely on constituent input in order to be effective. Please visit our "Call to Action" section above (when applicable) to find template letters addressing current legislative concerns.

You can also click here to read the American Medical Association’s publication, “A Guide to Communicating with Members of Congress.”

Click here for contact information for federal representatives.

Click here for contact information for state representatives.

For more information on the work OMC is doing on Legislative Advocacy, email advocacy@olympicmedical.org.

Additional Advocacy Resources:

American Hospital Association's "Coalition to Protect America's Health Care".

American Medical Association's (AMA) "Patient Action Network".

Resources on this topic are also found at the AMA’s main website, www.ama-assn.org and at the Washington State Hospital Association’s (WSHA) website, www.wsha.org.

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