Washington passes health care reform package

Washington passed a package of legislation designed to implement health care reform in the state. Under the terms of the package, state health care payments will be based on patient outcomes, a new collaborative will be implement to cut waste, fraud and abuse and the state will begin requiring increased transparency of insurance providers.

Washington has been working through its own plan to reform health care in-state. As CivSource noted last month, the state received a $1 million grant to integrate the state’s Medicare and Medicaid delivery services. Through initiatives like this, Governor Gregoire hopes to continue lowering health care costs in state and improve overall service delivery. The Governor’s plan calls for using evidence-based guidelines for supplies and medications purchasing, ending payments for botched surgeries and refocusing payments on outcomes.

Consumers will also get clearer picture of what they pay for health insurance with this package. Under the terms of one measure, consumers will be able to review the information insurance companies send to the state to justify their rate increases. Information on how premiums are spent will also be available to the public.

“My goal is to limit the overall increase in health care costs to 4 percent each year,” Gregoire said. “We have shown this goal is within reach and the cost of health care is not beyond our control. By making better use of our resources and helping families and employers control costs, we are helping taxpayers and businesses save money and helping patients improve their health.”

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