DSHS' Medical Assistance Administration Expands 'Community Conversations' - Now It's on the Net!

Apr 30, 2001, 01:00 ET from Washington State Department of Social & Health Services

    OLYMPIA, Wash., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Medical Assistance
 Administration (MAA) of the Washington State Department of Social & Health
 Services (DSHS) wants you to speak out, and now there's a web site to help you
 do it.
     The new web site, part of the DSHS Internet site, will report on MAA's
 "Community Conversations" program as well as give visitors an easy way to add
 their own opinions to the process.
     The series of "Community Conversations" across the state started in March
 as an effort to help build a strategic plan that will reshape Medicaid and the
 Children's Health Insurance Program by 2007.
     The goal is to better reflect the needs of Washington State residents and
 to address the realities of skyrocketing drug costs, increasing caseloads, an
 aging population, a crunch of tax initiatives, and the threat of fewer
 resources.
     "Our theme from the start has been:  Let's plan the changes we want to
 make, not those we haven't planned for," said Jim Wilson, Assistant Secretary
 for Medical Assistance Administration.
     "A critical part of our plan has been to listen to people describe the
 services and the settings they expect to see in Medical Assistance within the
 next six years. We've been doing that in community meetings. Now we're ready
 to open up a new line of communications on the Internet and offer people the
 chance to send us an email outlining their personal vision of medical
 assistance over the next five to seven years."
 
     Visitors to the web site will find:
 
     -- Fact sheets and news releases detailing the Community Conversations
        program.
     -- Schedules and timelines for the Community Conversations process.
     -- Summaries of the input provided at Community Conversations already held
        around the state.
     -- A easy-return feedback form to add comments and suggestions.
     -- A wealth of other information about the agency and its services,
        including a capsulized overview called "DSHS in Detail."
 
     Wilson noted that the web site also will help DSHS fulfill its commitment
 to return to the communities later this year and report on the strategic
 decisions made as a result of Community Conversations. He said the six-year
 timeframe was deliberate, because he does not want the program to bog down on
 past problems or to wax unrealistic about a distant future.
     "Our intent was to define a shared vision reaching about six years into
 the future. That's close enough for us to act on the ideas we hear from state
 residents, but it's not so distant that we will be tempted to put these ideas
 on the shelf and let them gather dust in the meantime."
     The community input will be presented this summer to a Vision Steering
 Team whose members represent customers, stakeholders and suppliers. The goal
 is to glean three or four clear strategies from the meetings that can be
 relayed back to an agency Executive Team, where the recommended actions will
 be refined, and then implemented.
     "One part of truly listening to others' ideas is that we do something with
 what we're told," Wilson said. "We don't want this input to gather dust on a
 shelf, so we're committed to going back to the communities and saying, 'Here
 is what you told us. Here is what we're doing about it.'"
     Wilson noted that the Community Conversations ideally will open up even
 more avenues of communication for the future.
     "The web page is another step in that process," he said. "It will help us
 keep up an ongoing dialogue with the community about what we're doing, where
 we're headed, and how we're going to be meeting the needs that we have
 identified together."
 
     DSHS Bookmarks:
 
     Community Conversations:  The Medical Assistance Administration of DSHS is
 looking for feedback on changes that will be occurring in Medicaid and the
 Children's Health Insurance Program over the next five or six years. A special
 web site outlines the community meetings held around the state and offers
 visitors an easy way to add their own opinions and suggestions to the process.
 https://wws2.wa.gov/dshs/maa/comconv/ . You can also find an easy link to this
 site by visiting the main DSHS web page at www.wa.gov/dshs.
     DSHS in Detail:  "DSHS in Detail" is a snapshot view of the Department of
 Social and Health Services, with complete program listings, client profiles,
 and geographic breakdowns of DSHS services. The site also features quick
 connection to program and service information for prospective clients. Visit:
 http://www.dshs.wa.gov/indetail/index.html .
     Toll-free Abuse Hot Line (866-ENDHARM):  DSHS has established a new
 toll-free phone number (866-ENDHARM or 866-363-4276) to make it easier for
 neighbors or community members to report suspected abuse or neglect. For more
 information, visit the web site:
 http://www.dshs.wa.gov/geninfo/endharm.html .
 
     A conversation on the Web
     Visitors can easily find the Community Conversations page by visiting the
 DSHS main site at www.wa.gov/dshs.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X65786771
 
 

SOURCE Washington State Department of Social & Health Services
    OLYMPIA, Wash., April 30 /PRNewswire/ -- The Medical Assistance
 Administration (MAA) of the Washington State Department of Social & Health
 Services (DSHS) wants you to speak out, and now there's a web site to help you
 do it.
     The new web site, part of the DSHS Internet site, will report on MAA's
 "Community Conversations" program as well as give visitors an easy way to add
 their own opinions to the process.
     The series of "Community Conversations" across the state started in March
 as an effort to help build a strategic plan that will reshape Medicaid and the
 Children's Health Insurance Program by 2007.
     The goal is to better reflect the needs of Washington State residents and
 to address the realities of skyrocketing drug costs, increasing caseloads, an
 aging population, a crunch of tax initiatives, and the threat of fewer
 resources.
     "Our theme from the start has been:  Let's plan the changes we want to
 make, not those we haven't planned for," said Jim Wilson, Assistant Secretary
 for Medical Assistance Administration.
     "A critical part of our plan has been to listen to people describe the
 services and the settings they expect to see in Medical Assistance within the
 next six years. We've been doing that in community meetings. Now we're ready
 to open up a new line of communications on the Internet and offer people the
 chance to send us an email outlining their personal vision of medical
 assistance over the next five to seven years."
 
     Visitors to the web site will find:
 
     -- Fact sheets and news releases detailing the Community Conversations
        program.
     -- Schedules and timelines for the Community Conversations process.
     -- Summaries of the input provided at Community Conversations already held
        around the state.
     -- A easy-return feedback form to add comments and suggestions.
     -- A wealth of other information about the agency and its services,
        including a capsulized overview called "DSHS in Detail."
 
     Wilson noted that the web site also will help DSHS fulfill its commitment
 to return to the communities later this year and report on the strategic
 decisions made as a result of Community Conversations. He said the six-year
 timeframe was deliberate, because he does not want the program to bog down on
 past problems or to wax unrealistic about a distant future.
     "Our intent was to define a shared vision reaching about six years into
 the future. That's close enough for us to act on the ideas we hear from state
 residents, but it's not so distant that we will be tempted to put these ideas
 on the shelf and let them gather dust in the meantime."
     The community input will be presented this summer to a Vision Steering
 Team whose members represent customers, stakeholders and suppliers. The goal
 is to glean three or four clear strategies from the meetings that can be
 relayed back to an agency Executive Team, where the recommended actions will
 be refined, and then implemented.
     "One part of truly listening to others' ideas is that we do something with
 what we're told," Wilson said. "We don't want this input to gather dust on a
 shelf, so we're committed to going back to the communities and saying, 'Here
 is what you told us. Here is what we're doing about it.'"
     Wilson noted that the Community Conversations ideally will open up even
 more avenues of communication for the future.
     "The web page is another step in that process," he said. "It will help us
 keep up an ongoing dialogue with the community about what we're doing, where
 we're headed, and how we're going to be meeting the needs that we have
 identified together."
 
     DSHS Bookmarks:
 
     Community Conversations:  The Medical Assistance Administration of DSHS is
 looking for feedback on changes that will be occurring in Medicaid and the
 Children's Health Insurance Program over the next five or six years. A special
 web site outlines the community meetings held around the state and offers
 visitors an easy way to add their own opinions and suggestions to the process.
 https://wws2.wa.gov/dshs/maa/comconv/ . You can also find an easy link to this
 site by visiting the main DSHS web page at www.wa.gov/dshs.
     DSHS in Detail:  "DSHS in Detail" is a snapshot view of the Department of
 Social and Health Services, with complete program listings, client profiles,
 and geographic breakdowns of DSHS services. The site also features quick
 connection to program and service information for prospective clients. Visit:
 http://www.dshs.wa.gov/indetail/index.html .
     Toll-free Abuse Hot Line (866-ENDHARM):  DSHS has established a new
 toll-free phone number (866-ENDHARM or 866-363-4276) to make it easier for
 neighbors or community members to report suspected abuse or neglect. For more
 information, visit the web site:
 http://www.dshs.wa.gov/geninfo/endharm.html .
 
     A conversation on the Web
     Visitors can easily find the Community Conversations page by visiting the
 DSHS main site at www.wa.gov/dshs.
 
                      MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X65786771
 
 SOURCE  Washington State Department of Social & Health Services