DSHS' Medical Assistance Administration Sets 'Community Conversations' In Bellingham, SeaTac, Shoreline

Apr 23, 2001, 01:00 ET from Washington State Department of Social & Health Services

    OLYMPIA, Wash., April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The
 Medical Assistance Administration of the Washington State Department of Social
 & Health Services (DSHS) will visit SeaTac, Shoreline and Bellingham this week
 during a series of "Community Conversations" that let people describe the
 services they want to see in Medical Assistance within the next six years.
     The meetings will be held in SeaTac's Highline Community College on
 Thursday, April 26; in the Shoreline Senior Center on Friday, April 27; and in
 Bellingham on Saturday, from 2 to 5 p.m.  Earlier conversations were held in
 Eastern Washington during March and in other parts of Western Washington
 earlier in April.
     Jim Wilson, Assistant Secretary for Medical Assistance Administration,
 encouraged anyone with an interest in programs like Medicaid or the Children's
 Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to attend the Community Conversations.
     Washington has been a national leader in health care reform and extending
 needed services to state residents.  But the state needs new ideas for the
 future in order to escape the squeeze of rising costs, increasing caseloads,
 tax initiatives, and spending limits.
     "We want to hear from everyone," Wilson said.  "Some people who attend
 will be real savvy and knowledgeable about the system.  Others may just want
 to know more about it.  But we want everybody to have a chance to describe
 their own vision.  We'll even have provisions for a 'later thoughts forum'
 that people can use to relay good ideas back to us even if they come up some
 time after our community meeting."
     Wilson said the six-year timeframe for strategic planning was deliberate,
 because he does not want the meetings 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."
 
     Additional Community Conversations are scheduled in:
     -- Sea-Tac, Thursday, April 26, from 6 to 9 p.m., Highline Community
        College, Room 213, Building 26
     -- Shoreline, Friday, April 27, from 6 to 9 p.m., Shoreline Senior Center,
        18560 1st Avenue NE
     -- Bellingham, Saturday, April 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., St. Luke's Health
        Education Center, 2901 Squalicum Parkway
     -- Aberdeen, Thursday, May 3, Hoquiam Senior Center, 526 Eighth Street
 
     Part of each meeting also will bring those attending up to date on factors
 that are already making dramatic changes in Medical Assistance.  Among them:
 The vision of new DSHS Secretary Dennis Braddock, the effect of cost-drivers
 like prescription drugs or the state's aging population, current changes
 occurring in managed care, and the widespread changes coming in patient
 privacy and electronic health care information transmissions over the next two
 years under the federal HIPAA law.
     The community ideas ultimately will be presented to a Vision Steering Team
 composed of DSHS customers, stakeholders and suppliers.  Wilson said the goal
 is to glean three or four clear strategies from the meetings that can be
 relayed back to the executive team, refined, and then implemented.
     For further information, contact DSHS Public Information Officer
 Jim Stevenson at 360-902-7604.
 
     Bookmark Briefs:
     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.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X92855865
 
 

SOURCE Washington State Department of Social & Health Services
    OLYMPIA, Wash., April 23 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- The
 Medical Assistance Administration of the Washington State Department of Social
 & Health Services (DSHS) will visit SeaTac, Shoreline and Bellingham this week
 during a series of "Community Conversations" that let people describe the
 services they want to see in Medical Assistance within the next six years.
     The meetings will be held in SeaTac's Highline Community College on
 Thursday, April 26; in the Shoreline Senior Center on Friday, April 27; and in
 Bellingham on Saturday, from 2 to 5 p.m.  Earlier conversations were held in
 Eastern Washington during March and in other parts of Western Washington
 earlier in April.
     Jim Wilson, Assistant Secretary for Medical Assistance Administration,
 encouraged anyone with an interest in programs like Medicaid or the Children's
 Health Insurance Program (CHIP) to attend the Community Conversations.
     Washington has been a national leader in health care reform and extending
 needed services to state residents.  But the state needs new ideas for the
 future in order to escape the squeeze of rising costs, increasing caseloads,
 tax initiatives, and spending limits.
     "We want to hear from everyone," Wilson said.  "Some people who attend
 will be real savvy and knowledgeable about the system.  Others may just want
 to know more about it.  But we want everybody to have a chance to describe
 their own vision.  We'll even have provisions for a 'later thoughts forum'
 that people can use to relay good ideas back to us even if they come up some
 time after our community meeting."
     Wilson said the six-year timeframe for strategic planning was deliberate,
 because he does not want the meetings 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."
 
     Additional Community Conversations are scheduled in:
     -- Sea-Tac, Thursday, April 26, from 6 to 9 p.m., Highline Community
        College, Room 213, Building 26
     -- Shoreline, Friday, April 27, from 6 to 9 p.m., Shoreline Senior Center,
        18560 1st Avenue NE
     -- Bellingham, Saturday, April 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., St. Luke's Health
        Education Center, 2901 Squalicum Parkway
     -- Aberdeen, Thursday, May 3, Hoquiam Senior Center, 526 Eighth Street
 
     Part of each meeting also will bring those attending up to date on factors
 that are already making dramatic changes in Medical Assistance.  Among them:
 The vision of new DSHS Secretary Dennis Braddock, the effect of cost-drivers
 like prescription drugs or the state's aging population, current changes
 occurring in managed care, and the widespread changes coming in patient
 privacy and electronic health care information transmissions over the next two
 years under the federal HIPAA law.
     The community ideas ultimately will be presented to a Vision Steering Team
 composed of DSHS customers, stakeholders and suppliers.  Wilson said the goal
 is to glean three or four clear strategies from the meetings that can be
 relayed back to the executive team, refined, and then implemented.
     For further information, contact DSHS Public Information Officer
 Jim Stevenson at 360-902-7604.
 
     Bookmark Briefs:
     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.
 
                     MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT -  Click Here
                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X92855865
 
 SOURCE  Washington State Department of Social & Health Services