SEATTLE, March 22, 2017 /PRNewswire/ -- Five organizations that represent Washington State's largest health care delivery systems, physicians and providers are stating their opposition to the American Health Care Act. The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), Washington State Medical Association (WSMA), Washington Association of Community and Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC), and the Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW), along with its subsidiary non-profit managed care company, Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW), are calling on Congress to reject the House proposal that puts their patients at risk. Collectively, these groups represent 107 hospitals, 267 clinics, 10,000 physicians and other providers, 315,000 members, and more than 17 million patient visits a year statewide.
The overriding concern for these organizations is preserving patient coverage, particularly among the 600,000 Washingtonians (80 percent of whom are working families) who have gained it through Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The proposed American Health Care Act does not deliver on this priority. By eliminating Medicaid expansion and converting to a per capita block grant system, the results will be less coverage and fewer benefits, ultimately leading to less healthy Washingtonians.
Community health centers and hospitals are the backbone of the state's health care safety net, and their patients will be negatively impacted by the House plan.
Cassie Sauer, CEO of WSHA said, "With the historically low uninsured rate of 5.8 percent in Washington State, our hospitals have seen uncompensated care drop dramatically as people have been able to get the care they need before it's an emergency. The American Health Care Act is projected to drive uninsured rates up to 15 percent, which will result in our emergency departments being filled once again with preventable health crises. It would be a huge blow to the progress we've made in community health."
Leanne Berge, CEO of CHPW and CHNW said, "This plan takes away the high-quality, cost-effective coordinated care services that Medicaid provides low-income and medically vulnerable populations and replaces it with nothing. There is no doubt that health outcomes will deteriorate, and communities will suffer."
According to Bob Marsalli, CEO of WACMHC, "It is no exaggeration to say that Medicaid coverage literally means the difference between life and death for many of our community health center patients. The prospect of losing coverage has caused incredible anxiety and fear among our patients, but actually losing their Medicaid coverage will have devastating consequences to their ability to manage their health, care for their families, and be productive community members."
Jennifer Hanscom, CEO of WSMA said, "We need adequate funding of our state's Medicaid program to avoid damaging ripple effects throughout the entire health care system. But the American Health Care Act puts the funding obligation for Medicaid onto Washington State, which is already struggling with serious budget challenges. It's a threat to our state and our patients."
Together, CHNW, CHPW, WACMHC, WSHA, and WSMA urge the House to reject the American Health Care Act and develop a plan that improves our health care system and puts patient coverage at the forefront. We are eager to be partners with our lawmakers to discuss health care reforms that make the system better for our patients, our communities, and our state.
About Community Health Network of Washington (CHNW) Since 1992, Community Health Network of Washington has served as a statewide system of community health centers that works to ensure all Washingtonians have access to medical care and health insurance coverage. From the provision of medical care, to IT solutions, to advocacy at the public policy level, CHNW works to improve individuals' and families' access to health care, by overcoming barriers including geographic location, insurance status and income.
About Community Health Plan of Washington (CHPW) Founded in 1992 by a network of community and migrant health centers in Washington State, Community Health Plan of Washington is a not-for-profit health plan. The mission of CHPW is to deliver accessible managed care services that meet the needs and improve the health of our communities and to make managed care participation beneficial for community-responsive providers.
About Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers (WACMHC) The Washington Association of Community & Migrant Health Centers is a non-profit organization formed in 1985 to advocate on behalf of the low-income, uninsured, and underserved populations of Washington State served by community health centers. These health centers serve nearly 1,000,000 Washington residents with preventive and primary health care and enabling services at more than 250 clinic sites across the state.
About Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) The Washington State Hospital Association works to improve the health of all Washington state residents by being active on key issues of policy and quality. The Triple Aim guides its members and its work, as it strives to improve the patient experience, improve the health of populations and reduce the cost of health care.
About Washington State Medical Association (WSMA) The Washington State Medical Association represents physicians, physician assistants, residents, fellows and medical students in all specialties and practice settings across Washington State. Its vision is to make Washington the best place to practice medicine and to receive care. For more information on the WSMA, visit wsma.org.
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SOURCE Community Health Network of Washington