Governor Inslee submits grant application for a Healthier Washington to U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

July 22, 2014

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Multi-year project would transform Washington’s health care system

OLYMPIA, WA – Gov. Jay Inslee yesterday submitted the state’s Healthier Washington project as part of a $92.4 million grant application to support innovative models for transforming the state’s health care system.

“Our goal is to help Washington’s seven million residents lead healthier lives and access the best quality health care at the best price,” Inslee said. “This plan for a Healthier Washington is one way we can support people in all areas of the state to improve their health and catalyze the changes needed to transform our health care.”

Last year, the Washington Health Care Authority received a $1 million grant to develop the State Health Care Innovation Plan. The plan is the basis for the application submitted today and the framework for the Healthier Washington project.

“Building on the innovation plan, the Healthier Washington project will continue our collaborative work with statewide partners and communities to achieve better health, better care, and lower costs for Washington residents,” said HCA Director Dorothy Teeter.

More than 1,100 providers, insurers, consumers, hospitals, clinics, businesses, tribes and social service organizations, working with 12 state agencies, contributed ideas that shaped the direction of the innovation plan and resulting grant application.

The Healthier Washington project will:

  1. Build healthier communities and people through prevention and early attention to disease.
  2. Integrate care and social supports for individuals who have both physical and behavioral health needs.
  3. Reward quality health care over quantity, with state government leading by example as Washington’s largest purchaser of health care.

A third-party actuarial analysis estimates market-wide savings across all payers could reach $1.05 billion over the duration of the four-year project.

“Already, Washington is a leader in reforming health care,” Inslee said. “We came together on a bipartisan basis to expand Medicaid, and we launched our own state-based health care exchange. More than 600,000 people found health insurance through the Washington Healthplanfinder and, as a result, more Washingtonians in every part of the state are able to take care of their health. This grant would give us additional resources to do even more.”

Landmark health care legislation requested by Inslee and built on the State Health Care Innovation Plan received bipartisan support in the Legislature this year, moving the state forward on integrating substance abuse and mental health services with physical health care by 2020 (HB 2572 and SB 6312). The legislation also started Washington on the path to greater transparency in health care quality and pricing, and created grants to support regional collaboration on health issues. Business leaders, health care providers and insurance companies are working with the state to develop innovative payment systems that pay for health care outcomes rather than procedures.

“Washington has a track record of innovation, from computing and agriculture to aerospace and e-commerce,” Inslee said. “Transforming our health care system to deliver better health, better care and lower costs is a challenge Washington is ready and eager to take on.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is expected to announce successful grant applications in late October with funding available in January 2015.

For more information on the Healthier Washington project, visit www.hca.wa.gov/shcip.

Media Contact 

Office of the Governor
Jaime Smith
360-902-0617