In Memoriam: Booth Gardner, Governor, Washington State: 1985-1993

In this issue:  In Memoriam; O’ConnorReport Editorial Board Forming;  News from around the web from Oregon Medical Malpractice Revisions to Indian Health Service and  Fraud of the week:  Hospice of Arizona.

Booth Gardner

We have lost a man with a big heart. Booth Gardner, former Governor of Washington, died Friday, March 15, after a long battle with Parkinson’s Disease. As a new governor, he fought for the Basic Health Plan and after his return from Geneva, he fought his last campaign for Death with Dignity Law here in Washington.

I met Booth in 1986 when I staffed a coalition to help pass the Basic Health Plan. He would become a good friend and advocate.  Thanks to the help of Clayton Field, President, First Choice Health Plan, another man with a big heart we lost too soon, we were able to bring Governor Arne Carlson, (R), Minnesota to Washington to spend a day with legislative and business leaders explaining how health care access is not a partisan issue. Minnesota had passed MinnesotaCare which was much like the Basic Health Plan. The Basic Health Plan became law in 1987 as a pilot project and has been operating ever since.

What was so remarkable about Booth was his personal connection with people and his impish sense of humor. After the Basic Health Plan passed, I started writing The O’ConnorReport. When Booth was elected to Chair the National Governors’ Association in 1990-91, he made health care the top agenda for the NGA. When they held their annual meeting in Washington DC, I applied for press credentials, and got them! So, I took my 12 year old son, Remi Miles,  out of school for a couple of days and we flew to DC for the meeting.  I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity for a young man to go to DC, actually meet some governors and tour our nation’s capital, where I had lived when I was his age.

When Miles and I entered the reception the first evening, Booth was walking out. “Governor Gardner,” I said. “I would like you to meet my son.” Booth stopped in his tracks, bent down, looked my son in the eye and said: “Well, that explains the phone call.” My son’s eyes bolted open: “Phone call?” he said.

“Yes,” said Booth. “I got a phone call from a principal that some kid had skipped school to come to this meeting.”

Miles gasped. Booth and I could hardly keep from laughing. Miles took this very seriously, however, and spent the entire plane trip back completing his home work.

When Miles was killed in a car accident in December of 1991, Booth sent me a personal handwritten note telling me of the loss of his mother and sister when he was young, and he knew what hard losses are like. Ever since then, he was always one of my staunchest supporters, speaking at my seminars and agreeing to serve as a member of CodeBlueNow!’s Honorary Board. Because he signed on, three other former governors did  as well, including Arne Carlson. He and Arne were even authors of the first of our 10-part op-ed series The CodeBlueNow! Papers, published by The Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2005, showing once again that health care should not be a partisan issue.

We have lost a great man.  He leaves a legacy for us all on personal courage and leadership.

Building Our Editorial Advisory Board
The O’ConnorReport is building an Editorial Advisory Board to help assure accuracy, independence and integrity. The Editorial Advisory Board will help identify story ideas and be a resource for issues in a wide range of communities and timely topics for reform.
The current members are: Dorothy Graham, the Graham Group, Steven R. Hill, Chair, The Bree Collaborative; Joe Nicols, MD, Health Data Consulting and Mark Secord,MPH, CEO, Neighborcare Health, Seattle.

Dorothy Graham, The Graham Group.  Dorothy served as the Vice President for Human Resources and Labor Relations, Puget Sound Energy. She was a founder and later chair of the Health Care Purchasers Association, an association of large employers who self-fund their employee health care benefits. Currently retired from PSE, she heads the Graham Group, which is a human resources consulting firm. She is also board chair of Pacific Medical Centers.

Steve Hill, Chair, The Bree Collaborative.  Steve has a distinguished career in Human Resources and Health Care Management.  Steve was Senior Vice President of Human Resources for Weyerhaeuser Corporation. After retiring from Weyerhaeuser, he was appointed as the Director of the Health Care Authority and Department of Retirement Systems in Washington State.  Steve also serves on the Board of Directors, of Consumer Reports, based in New York and The Leapfrog Group and the Washington State Public Affairs Network, among many others.  He is also on the faculty of the Bainbridge Graduate Institute.

Joe Nichols, MD, Health Data Consulting Joe is a board certified Orthopedic Surgeon with a long history in health information technology from the provider, payer and vendor side of healthcare business. He has served in positions in executive management, system design, logical database architecture, product management, consulting and healthcare value measurement for the last 15 of his 35 years in the healthcare. He has been focused on the analysis of ICD-10 and the impact on health informatics, cross-walking education and other issues of the ICD-10 transition. He has given over 60 presentations nationally related to ICD-10 over the past 2 years on behalf of payers, providers, integrated delivery systems, consulting groups, CMS, universities, government entities, vendors and trade associations. He continues to provide educational presentation for CMS and most of the state Medicaid organizations on behalf of CMS.  He also co-chairs 3 sub-work groups for WEDI (Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange) and has received the WEDI award of merit 2 years in a row as well as its distinguished service award.

Mark Secord, MPH is Executive Director/CEO of Neighborcare Health, a community based health system serving the uninsured and low income individuals and families.

He has served as CEO December 1996. Prior to assuming this position, Mark was a senior vice Administrator with Virginia Mason Hospital in Seattle.  Mark currently serves as a board member of Community Health Plan of WA, Treasurer of the PTSO Board, a non-profit information technology group, and Vice President of the Community Health Council. Mark has more than twenty years of experience in the administration of complex health care organizations. He was recently named the 2013 Leading Health Care Executive, by Seattle Business Magazine.


 News from Around the Web:

Oregon Medical Malpractice Changes
Oregon passed a medical malpractice law that takes adverse health care events to the Patient Safety Commission. It does not eliminate liability laws, but offers other ways of handling adverse events.

Generic Drug Liability

The Supreme Court will decide on the liability of generic drug manufacturers when a patient has adverse reactions.

CVS Pharmacy Starts “Voluntary” Wellness Program.
The company will penalize employees $600 a year if they don’t take part in its ‘voluntary’ wellness program.

Indian Health Service Hit Hard by Sequester

Hitting some of the poorest of the poor in often remote locations.

Fraud of the Week Award: Hospice of Arizona and Related Entities Pay $12 Million

About Kathleen

Kathleen O’Connor: 30+ year health care consumer advocate, non-profit executive and author. For more information about Kathleen, please see "About" on the main content bar above.
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