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Looking ahead in 2017

The new year has just begun, but the Alliance is already off to a busy start. Earlier this week, the Alliance and The Bree Collaborative issued a call to action, inviting health care leaders across the state to join a coordinated response to Washington state’s opioid addiction crisis. The impetus for this call to action came from the Alliance’s Quality Improvement Committee. Joining with The Bree Collaborative, they decided they were in a unique position, as a group of clinician leaders, to reach providers and health plans with the message of concrete actions that they can take to stem the epidemic. Letters have been sent to chief medical officers at major health care systems and to health plans in our state, with specific recommendations and actions they can take.

Also this week, joining with regional collaboratives across the country, the Alliance was successful in a competitive process to secure a second year of funding for the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement’s Total Cost of Care project. The project allows the Alliance to expand its work as part of a multi-regional innovation initiative focused on the production, sharing and use of information about the total cost of health care.

Next month, we will release a report showing the fourth version of our disparities in health care report. This report is part of our continuing effort to identify and address the issue of health care disparities in our state. The results are produced by stratifying the Community Checkup quality measures by race, ethnicity and language for Medicaid enrollees in the state of Washington. This year, the Alliance is partnering with Qualis Health, which provided Medicare enrollee data for five of the measures in the report. The Medicare data provide a more complete view of health care quality for patients enrolled in publicly funded insurance in Washington state, and how clinicians serving our community can better target improvement efforts. The report will be highlighted during a February event featuring a panel of local health leaders who will share information about innovative strategies they are using to address disparities in their own organizations.

In December we released the tenth version of the Community Checkup report, along with the second set of results for the Washington State Common Measure Set for Health Care Quality and Cost. Thanks to the dozens of organizations that supplied measure results and that supplied us with their data so that we could produce results. Work is already well underway for the next Community Checkup report, which will include new pediatric measures in the Common Measure Set. These include well-child visits in the first 15 months of life, a measure that dovetails with the state’s overall focus on improving results for well-child visits.

As you can see, we’re keeping up the busy pace we set for ourselves last year. We could not do this work without your support. Thank you for helping make the Alliance a strong voice for quality and transparency in our state.

Published: January 11, 2017

About Nancy A. Giunto

Nancy A. Giunto is executive director of Washington Health Alliance. Ms. Giunto served 14 years as executive director of Foster Pepper law firm in Seattle. She has had a long career in health care, with experience at National Institutes of Health in Washington D.C., the American Hospital Association. She has held leadership positions at Intermountain Health Care and Providence Health & Services.

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