One-of-a kind collaboration expected to train health care workers on Peninsula – PDN

This is a great idea to try and work to train and bring on qualified local people quickly.  Thanks to the Littlejohns and the Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe for also helping to fund the initiative. Jefferson Healthcare has tried with little success to find medical professionals willing to relocate here for the long term. I personally have seen them pass over qualified local candidates in favor of people from elsewhere, only to see them leave after a few years of work here. Now this program presents the opportunity to grow candidates on the peninsula, which is far more likely to having them stay for the long haul. A good use of our tax dollars, I’d say.

PORT ANGELES — Peninsula College is teaming up with health care providers from Clallam and Jefferson counties in a wide-ranging $1 million effort funded by state lawmakers, the college foundation, local hospitals and others. The goal: Add registered nurses, medical assistants and certified nursing assistants to a rural medical industry workforce on the North Olympic Peninsula that is typically starving for job applicants.

Medicare proposal bad news for OMC, says CEO – PDN

So here comes the first of many negative changes to the health care from the Republican dominated Congress. There is still a chance this won’t be implemented, but don’t bet on it. Americans have put these people into office, they have taken away the government’s ability to negotiate drug prices and now are going to take away the funds needed to protect the most helpless of us from losing their medications.

PORT ANGELES — In the first six months of 2017, Olympic Medical Center reported a $1.1 million loss in revenue, and it could face more financial setbacks next year if Medicare weakens a discount drug program, Chief Executive Officer Eric Lewis said.

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POINT OF VIEW: The Peninsula’s dental health emergency – PDN

By Dr. Michael Maxwell
ACROSS THE STATE and in the North Olympic Peninsula, low-income people are facing an oral health crisis.
Simply put, there are not enough clinics and providers to serve them.
In Clallam County, only 22 percent of adults on Medicaid and just 41 percent of children on Medicaid received dental care in 2015.
In the same year in Jefferson County, only 12.7 percent of adults on Medicaid and just 37 percent of children on Medicaid received dental care.
This is not a cosmetic luxury but a serious health concern that is taking a huge toll on our communities.
Many health care advocates are urging our state Legislature to address this crisis.
Read the rest of the story at:
Dr. Michael Maxwell is a family physician and CEO of the North Olympic Healthcare Network, a ­federally qualified community health center in Port Angeles.
He lives in Port Angeles.

Washington leaders announce $2.7 million federal grant to increase apprenticeship opportunities

More good news. The Federal government has just granted Washington State $2.7 Million dollars to help fund apprenticeship programs. Related to the issues covered by this blog, there is this phrase:

Under Project RAISE, the state will work with various partners to expand apprenticeships, develop a high school-based manufacturing program at select schools, and increase industry demand in rural health care networks. (Jefferson and Clallam County hospitals are considered part of rural health care networks). It will also allow L&I to improve its tracking of growth and success of youth apprenticeships.

L&I filed for the grant based on the need to help more people find and keep jobs. The agency’s Apprenticeship Program helps employer and employee groups develop and maintain on-the-job training programs. There are more than 12,000 active apprentices participating in programs across the state.

We will continue to track this story for outcomes in our region.


Hundreds of Washington workers will have opportunities for job-based apprenticeships, thanks to a new $2.7 million federal grant the state will receive over the next 18 months. Washington state and federal leaders announced today that the U.S. Department of Labor has chosen Washington as one of 37 grantees to help grow and diversify apprenticeships around the country

State Press Release:

Federal Press Release.

Update on the Governor’s new State-Federal Partnership

The announcement last week from the Governor.

OLYMPIA –Gov. Jay Inslee and the Washington State Health Care Authority (HCA) announced today a new state-federal partnership that will bolster state efforts to improve the physical and mental health of Washington families and transform the state’s Apple Health (Medicaid) program to control costs.

After months of detailed negotiations, the HCA—in partnership with the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS)—and the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reached an agreement in-principle, on a five-year Medicaid demonstration waiver to continue implementing the governor’s Healthier Washington plan.

To get more input on this, I talked to Dr. Elya Moore, who is the Executive Director of the Olympic Community of Health, which is the Accountable Community of Health (ACH) that will help implement this new project on the Olympic Peninsula, and in Kitsap County.  There are eight similar ACH’s in various districts around the State.

Dr. Moore described the new program as a very positive step towards focusing on prevention and proactive management for conditions like diabetes and mental illness, along with addressing opiate dependency. To help illustrate the scope of this federal grant, the figure is 1/2 of the NFL budget, so it’s a large number. The breakdown of need  for our three counties are illustrative: In 2015 24% of people in our three counties were on Medicaid (27% is the statewide average); 30% of the health care recipients have been  prescribed opiates. Opiate use also often can lead to opiate abuse. The problem is very large in our counties. This grant will be used to address those and other issues.

The program, as described by the Governor, will also fund supported employment and housing services and long term care services along with supports for unpaid family caregivers so they are able to keep caring for their loved ones. The hoped for result will be less use of high-cost services  and better health outcomes.

The ACH in our district is comprised of a 22-member Governing Board including  15 sectors and seven tribes. There is also an Executive Committee and Regional Health Assessment and Planning Committee to review health assessments and advise board on regional priorities.

Dr. Moore said she hopes that  the money will be spent on programs to do the following:

  • Address chronic disease management and prevention.
  • Help with access of dental, behavioral  health,chronic disease, aging in place, integration of care and early childhood health.

The money from the Federal government will flow through two different paths. Approx $65 million will go towards the Healthier Washington program, and then into programs that the ACHs help coordinate that are the focus of that program. An additional new $1.25 Billion will flow through State programs  and also into State ACHs, for the programs that will help in healthcare transformation. Another $375M will be used on programs for in place housing programs for care maintenance and services that delay or divert the need for intensive interventions such as support for people who need long-term services. . (That money will not flow through the ACH’s but a different state program).

Once the funding has arrived, which is supposed to be very soon, the ACH for the Olympic Peninsula will then kick off projects to use that money effectively and on priorities. Opioid prevention and response is a major priority project to kick off. It is to be determined how much money will be used on this project, as the project has not yet been scoped. Other projects that address the other issues will follow soon.

We will continue to track this program in the future.