Washington State Budget:
Big Challenges, Big Opportunities, Big Decisions
Our elected officials
in Washington State have their work cut out for them during this year’s
session, as they balance funding to adequately fund education, while maintaining
and improving other critical programs such as health care. Governor Jay
Inslee’s budget proposal, issued in late 2016, proposes expansion and reform of
the state behavioral health system as a high priority (one which hospitals
across the state strongly support) and also funding for education – including
proposed budget presents a challenge for Olympic Medical Center because
although it is progressive in many ways, it also proposes to cut payments to off-campus
hospital-based clinics and departments. If enacted, the budget proposal could
have devastating consequences to the health care OMC is able to offer Clallam
County. The entire Sequim campus and
Olympic Medical Center’s 8th Street Clinics would be deeply affected
by this proposal due to reimbursement cuts of approximately $2.5 million annually.
Olympic Medical Center’s off-campus hospital-based clinics and departments offer
most of the only sources of specialty and diagnostic services for Medicaid or
Medicare enrollees in Sequim. In the case of cancer care, Olympic Medical
Center offers the only source of care for cancer patients in the entire County.
Medicaid is also a main source of coverage for patients in the primary care
clinics and the local Children’s Clinic. Medicaid already pays significantly
less than the actual cost of providing care and the proposed cuts threaten
access to these services for our entire community.
In Olympia this
session, Olympic Medical Center will work to:
- Prevent Medicaid off-campus hospital-based
cuts from being included in Senate and / or House budgets, and ultimately
the final State budget;
- Improve the mental health
system in Washington State; and
- Support more timely placements
for hospital patients who need long-term care.
Olympic Medical Center
also supports the Washington State Hospital Association’s many policy and
budget priorities that are designed to improve access to care, fight potential
cuts in hospital reimbursement and maintain health coverage for Washingtonians.
Click here for a list of WSHA policy and budget priorities, including bill
numbers and other helpful information to help you stay informed about what’s
happening in regards to health care in our state’s capital.
Legislators to Preserve Coverage
Congress and President Donald Trump's administration have made it a priority to
repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (also known as
"Obamacare") during the convening of the 115th Congress.
Olympic Medical Center is joining the American
Hospital Association and hospitals across the nation in urging our
representatives and senators to preserve health coverage as part of any effort
to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Legislation to repeal the
ACA should not occur without either simultaneous replacement or a restoration
of hospital cuts previously endured by hospitals to help support the expansion
of Medicaid coverage. Olympic Medical Center in particular has experienced cuts
to Medicare reimbursement rates annually to help pay for the Medicaid expansion
– resulting in nearly $4 million in cuts in 2016 alone.
In 2017, Olympic
Medical Center’s priority at the federal level will be advocating to ensure coverage is
maintained for all individuals who received insurance coverage under the
Affordable Care Act. In Washington State alone, the Medicaid expansion and
health insurance exchange subsidies provided insurance and access to care for
more than 700,000 low- and moderate-income working individuals! In Clallam
County, more than 10,000 residents gained coverage through the Affordable Care
Act, with more than 7,000 of those people receiving coverage through the
The federal environment
in regard to health care is relatively unpredictable; as new policies and
legislation are firmed up and proposed for consideration, we will keep the
Remember, You Have a
Voice with Your Legislators
We encourage you to educate yourself about current issues facing rural health care and reach out to your elected officials. If you're interested in advocating, please locate "How Can You Help Advocate" on the right side of this page.