43.06.150  <<  43.06.155 >>   43.06.200

Health care reform deliberationsPrinciplesPolicies.

(1) The following principles shall provide guidance to the state of Washington in its health care reform deliberations:
(a) Guarantee choice. Provide the people of Washington state with a choice of health plans and physicians, including health plans offered through the private insurance market and public programs, for those who meet eligibility standards. People will be allowed to keep their own doctor and their employer-based health plan.
(b) Make health coverage affordable. Reduce waste and fraud, high administrative costs, unnecessary tests and services, and other inefficiencies that drive up costs with no added health benefits.
(c) Protect families' financial health. Reduce the growing premiums and other costs that the people of Washington state pay for health care. People must be protected from bankruptcy due to catastrophic illness.
(d) Invest in prevention and wellness. Invest in public health measures proven to reduce cost drivers in our system, such as obesity, sedentary lifestyles, and smoking, as well as guarantee access to proven preventive treatments.
(e) Provide portability of coverage. People should not be locked into their job just to secure health coverage, and no American should be denied coverage because of preexisting conditions.
(f) Aim for universality. Building on the work of the blue ribbon commission and other state health care reform initiatives and recognizing the current economic climate, the state will partner with national health care reform efforts toward a goal of enabling all Washingtonians to have access to affordable, effective health care by 2014 as economic conditions and national reforms indicate.
(g) Improve patient safety and quality care. Ensure the implementation of proven patient safety measures and provide incentives for changes in the delivery system to reduce unnecessary variability in patient care. Support the widespread use of health information technology with rigorous privacy protections and the development of data on the effectiveness of medical interventions to improve the quality of care delivered.
(h) Maintain long-term fiscal sustainability. Any reform plan must pay for itself by reducing the level of cost growth, improving productivity, dedicating additional sources of revenue, and defining the appropriate role of the private and public sectors in financing health care coverage in Washington state.
(2) Over the past twenty years, both the private and public health care sectors in the state of Washington have implemented policies that are consistent with the principles in subsection (1) of this section. Most recently, the governor's blue ribbon commission on health reform agreed to recommendations that are highly consistent with those principles. Current policies in Washington state in accord with those principles include:
(a) With respect to aiming for universality and access to a choice of affordable health care plans and health care providers:
(i) The Washington basic health plan offers affordable health coverage to low-income families and individuals in Washington state through a choice of private managed health care plans and health care providers;
(ii) Apple health for kids will achieve its dual goals that every child in Washington state have health care coverage by 2010 and that the health status of children in Washington state be improved. Only four percent of children in Washington state lack health insurance, due largely to efforts to expand coverage that began in 1993;
(iii) Through the health insurance partnership program, Washington state has designed the infrastructure for a health insurance exchange for small employers that would give employers and employees a choice of private health benefit plans and health care providers, offer portability of coverage and provide a mechanism to offer premium subsidies to low-wage employees of these employers;
(iv) Purchasers, insurance carriers, and health care providers are working together to significantly reduce health care administrative costs. These efforts have already produced efficiencies, and will continue through the activities provided in *Second Substitute Senate Bill No. 5346, if enacted by the 2009 legislature; and
(v) Over one hundred thousand Washingtonians have enrolled in the state's discount prescription drug card program, saving consumers over six million dollars in prescription drug costs since February 2007, with an average discount of twenty-two dollars or forty-three percent of the price of each prescription filled.
(b) With respect to improving patient safety and quality of care and investing in prevention and wellness, the public and private health care sectors are engaged in numerous nationally recognized efforts:
(i) The Puget Sound health alliance is a national leader in identifying evidence-based health care practices, and reporting to the public on health care provider performance with respect to these practices. Many of these practices address disease prevention and management of chronic illness;
(ii) The Washington state health technology assessment program and prescription drug program use medical evidence and independent clinical advisors to guide the purchasing of clinically and cost-effective health care services by state purchased health care programs;
(iii) Washington state's health record bank pilot projects are testing a new model of patient controlled electronic health records in three geographic regions of the state. The state has also provided grants to a number of small provider practices to help them implement electronic health records;
(iv) Efforts are underway to ensure that the people of Washington state have a medical home, with primary care providers able to understand their needs, meet their care needs effectively, better manage their chronic illnesses, and coordinate their care across the health care system. These efforts include group health cooperative of Puget Sound's medical home projects, care collaboratives sponsored by the state department of health, state agency chronic care management pilot projects, development of apple health for kids health improvement measures as indicators of children having a medical home, and implementation of medical home reimbursement pilot projects under **Substitute Senate Bill No. 5891, if enacted by the 2009 legislature; and
(v) Health care providers, purchasers, the state, and private quality improvement organizations are partnering to undertake numerous patient safety efforts, including hospital and ambulatory surgery center adverse events reporting, with root cause analysis to identify actions to be undertaken to prevent further adverse events; reporting of hospital acquired infections and undertaking efforts to reduce the rate of these infections; developing a surgical care outcomes assessment program that includes a presurgery checklist to reduce medical errors; and developing a patient decision aid pilot to more fully inform patients of the risks and benefits of treatment alternatives, decrease unnecessary procedures and variation in care, and provide increased legal protection to physicians whose patients use a patient decision aid to provide informed consent.


Reviser's note: *(1) Second Substitute Senate Bill No. 5346 became chapter 298, Laws of 2009.
**(2) Substitute Senate Bill No. 5891 became chapter 305, Laws of 2009.
Findings2009 c 545: "The legislature finds that the principles for health care reform articulated by the president of the United States in his proposed federal fiscal year 2010 budget to the congress of the United States provide an opportunity for the state of Washington to be both a partner with, and a model for, the federal government in its health care reform efforts. The legislature further finds that the recommendations of the 2007 blue ribbon commission on health care costs and access are consistent with these principles." [ 2009 c 545 § 1.]
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