Upcoming Changes and Washington State Health Policy Leadership

In this issue:  upcoming changes in O’ConnorReport:  health policy leadership changes in Olympia; proposed Health Care Oversight Committee;  other state leadership changes. 

We are building a new website so we can post several stories at the same time—national issues and as well as Washington State issues. The O’ConnorReport is the only independent, non-sponsored blog/newsletter on health care in Washington State. We have an extensive network nationally as well as in Washington.

We have an independent Editorial Advisory Board whose first members will be announced next week.  We will have in depth articles as well as quick links to interesting stories around the country. We will also have reviews of our favorite must read health care books.

We also look to our readers for story ideas.

Inslee Health Care Team in Place

There are some new faces and some old faces.

Secretary of DSHS

Kevin Quigley is the new Secretary of DSHS.  While not from the health care industry, he was a Washington State Senator from 1993-97 and served as chair of the Senate’s Health  Care Committee.  As a business executive, he headed US Fab LLC, the largest shipbuilder in the Northwest.  He also headed the Everett Shipyard and prior to that he was in e-retail and served as the Executive Director of Strategic Initiatives and Global Business Development for Teledesic, a global satellite communications venture founded by Bill Gates and Craig McCaw.

Secretary Department of Health

John Wiesman replaces Mary Selecky as Secretary of the Department of Health. Wiesman was Public Health Director for Clark County Public Health. He also serves on the board of the National Association of County and City Health Officials. He has more than 25 years of experience working on HIV/AIDS issues and public health.

Director Health Care Authority

Dorothy Frost Teeter is the new director of the Health Care Authority which oversees health care services for state employees and low-income residents. She started in March.

Frost Teeter was a senior advisor at the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation in Health and Human Services in Washington DC.  The Center tests innovative models of payments and service. Prior to working as CMMI’s Senior Advisor for Policy and Programs, she served as Chief of Health Operations and Interim Director of Seattle & King County Public Health. She also served as Vice President of Quality and Systems Resources at Group Health Cooperative and was a President of the Foundation for Health Care Quality from 2001-2002.

MaryAnne Lindebland, former acting director of the Health Care Authority will serve as the HCA’s Medicaid Director. She also served as the Assistant Secretary for Aging and Disability Services Administration in DSHS.

Governor’s Senior Health Care Policy Advisor

Bob Crittenden, M.D., M.P.H., Booth Gardner’s Special Assistant for Health in the early 1990’s, was named Inslee’s Senior Health Policy Advisor. Crittenden is a family physician and a faculty of the University of Washington’s Schools of Public Health and Medicine.  Bob was also the Executive Director of the Herndon Alliance.  Crittenden joins health care policy advisory Jason McGill, J.D. on the Governor’s legislative affairs team.

Richard Onizuka, remains CEO of the Health Benefit Exchange and Mike Kreidler, remains Insurance Commissioner.

The players are in place.  But add to the mix:


Health Care Oversight Committee Passes Senate

Given all the changes with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, the Senate Health Care Committee passed a bill creating a health care oversight committee while the ACA is being implemented. The Committee will be responsible for overseeing the activities of the Health Care Authority, the Health Benefit Exchange, the Department of Health, the Insurance Commissioner’s Office and DSHS. The Committee will be co-chaired by the Chairs of the Senate and House committees on health.  It will also have four Senators and four Representatives on the Committee.  The Committee will expire on December 31, 2017.

The bill passed the full Senate on March 1 and a hearing in the House Health and Long-term Care Committee was held on March 14th.  For a complete copy of the bill see:



State Receives Medicare Innovation Grant

Washington is one of the first states to receive an innovation grant from the CMS Innovation Fund.  The $1 million grant is to plan and develop health care delivery models that improve quality, reduce variations in care and address new ways to compensate physicians and hospitals.

The HCA can resubmit its original larger grant in the next funding round. The original grant requested $34 million over three years to develop payments based on evidence-based medicine and outcomes, based on work by the Foundation for Health Care Quality, the Bree Collaborative and the Puget Sound Health Alliance.


In Other State Leadership Changes

Washington Health Foundation CEO Heads to Arizona 

Greg Vigdor, former President and CEO of the Washington Health Foundation, is off to Arizona to be the CEO of Arizona Hospital and Health Care Association. Vigdor was President and CEO of the Washington Health Foundation since its creation in 1992. Vigdor was also a Senior Vice President of the Washington State Hospital Association and the Executive Director of the Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts.

James Whitfield is the new President and CEO of the Foundation. Prior to that he served as George W. Bush’s HHS Regional Director for Region X. Prior to joining the Washington Health Foundation he was a licensed insurance consultant with Kibble and Prentice.

Medical Societies Leadership Changes

Tom Curry, CEO of the WSMA has retired. The new Executive Director/CEO is Jennifer Hanscom.

Kristina Larson, is the new Executive Director, King County Medical Society, replacing Charles Heaney who retired in September.





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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