Olympic Medical Center is a comprehensive health care provider serving the residents of Port Angeles, Sequim and surrounding communities. Inpatient services include a level-three trauma designated emergency department, surgical services, and labor and delivery. Outpatient services include cardiac care, cancer care, diagnostic imaging, physical therapy and rehabilitation, laboratory, orthopaedics, surgical services, sleep center, home health, primary care, a walk-in clinic and specialty physician clinics.
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Legislative Advocacy

CMS Implements Site Neutral Cuts

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its final outpatient rule on site neutral policies on November 2, and cuts to hospital-based reimbursement will move forward. The final rule phases in the 60% cut to Olympic Medical Center in practice expense reimbursement over two years.  As of January 1, 2019, reimbursement to OMC will be decreased approximately $1.7 million. The following year, beginning January 1, 2020, an additional estimated cut of $1.7 million will take effect.  

OMC will begin working with federal legislators to propose legislation to fix this problem, and will be strategically considering other ways of opposing the CMS decision.

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Looking Ahead to 2019 Washington State Legislative Session

Olympic Medical Center representatives will be busy in Olympia during the 2019 legislative session working to improve the rural health care delivery system. OMC's advocacy objectives include:

  • Advocate to maintain and make into law the improved Medicaid reimbursement for rural Sole Community Hospitals.
  • Work with the Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA), other health care providers, community colleges across the state, legislators and policy makers to establish state programs that support training a skilled rural health care workforce.
  • Support the WSHA legislative agenda, currently in development, but includes initiatives that support improved access to care, maintaining adequate reimbursement for Medicaid, workforce development and working to achieve a reasonable regulatory environment. 

State Advocacy Highlights from 2018

Olympic Medical Center's work during the 2018 legislative session benefits rural health care in our community. This work specifically impacts our community:

  • As of July 1, 2018, and through the end of June of 2019, OMC receives an enhanced Medicaid reimbursement. This 2018 budget proviso particularly helpful in supporting OMC's efforts to provide needed services locally to everyone in our community, regardless of a person's ability to pay. 
  • In the fall of 2018, Peninsula College will welcome expanded cohorts of students into the nursing, medical assistant and certified nursing assistant programs. The expansion of these programs is a direct result of advocacy at the state level to recognize the need to train a health care workforce in rural communities.

Federal Advocacy: Preserve 340B Drug Program

The 340B Drug Pricing Program has provided financial relief to safety net hospitals for high prescription drug costs and access to costly drugs to low-income seniors for more than 20 years. As a rural Sole Community Hospital, Rural Referral Center and safety net hospital, Olympic Medical Center began participating in the program in 2015.

The congressional intent of the 340B program was to reduce government spending for drugs and to help hospitals expand access to medical treatment in vulnerable communities by stretching limited resources. Unfortunately dramatic cuts, a 28.5% reduction in reimbursement specifically, were made to the program that essentially gut the program of its benefits. As a federally designated Sole Community Hospital OMC is protected for this new rule for at least the first year; however, OMC joins the AHA in continuing to fight against these cuts and further protect the 340B program.

To learn more about how OMC and the community benefits from the 340B program, please review OMC's 340B Impact Statement

Closing Loopholes for Orphan Drugs Act (HR 2889): Olympic Medical Center continues to support a House legislative fix to the 340B program called Closing Loopholes for Orphan Drugs Act. This legislation better defines the 340B program’s "orphan drug” exclusion. An orphan drug is a pharmaceutical that is that has been developed specifically to treat a rare medical condition, and the 340B program discount does not apply to orphan drugs. However, insurance companies have expanded the orphan drug exclusion, and do not allow the discount for these drugs even if they are commonly used to treat conditions outside of the original orphan drug designation. This is particularly impactful at Olympic Medical Cancer Center, for example, where some of these pharmaceuticals are highly effective cancer therapies, yet the drug’s orphan status is not related to cancer treatment. Olympic Medical Center supports the bill to close the loophole related to orphan drugs by limiting the exclusion to allow greater access by patients to treatment and services. 

How Can You Help Advocate?

Take an active role in helping to solve the health care crisis! Educate yourself about current issues facing the industry, and ask your state and federal representatives to ensure adequate funding for health care providers in Washington State.

Write to your legislators. Your letters count! Let your legislators know how you feel about health care decisions. After all, legislators rely on constituent input in order to be effective. Please visit our "Call to Action" section above (when applicable) to find template letters addressing current legislative concerns.

You can also click here to read the American Medical Association’s publication, “A Guide to Communicating with Members of Congress.”

Click here for contact information for federal representatives.

Click here for contact information for state representatives.

For more information on the work OMC is doing on Legislative Advocacy, email advocacy@olympicmedical.org.

Additional Advocacy Resources:

American Hospital Association's "Coalition to Protect America's Health Care".

American Medical Association's (AMA) "Patient Action Network".

Resources on this topic are also found at the AMA’s main website, www.ama-assn.org and at the Washington State Hospital Association’s (WSHA) website, www.wsha.org.

About Medicare

Medicare is the federal health insurance program, mostly covering people who are 65 or older.

Nearly 60% of Olympic Medical Center's patients are covered by Medicare. Currently, Medicare pays approximately 80% of the actual cost for providing health care for these patients, and further Medicare reimbursement reductions continue to be proposed.

Adequate Medicare reimbursement is critical to the future financial viability of Olympic Medical Center.

About Medicaid (Apple Health)

Medicaid is a health and long-term care coverage program that is jointly financed by Washington State and the federal government. Individuals between the ages of 19 and 65 (parents, and adults without dependent children) with incomes up to 138% of federal poverty level based on modified adjusted gross income are eligible for Medicaid (also known as Apple Health). Washington Apple Health continues to provide medical care for children in households with incomes up to 138% of federal poverty level.

Medicaid reimbursement is significantly below cost and Olympic Medical Center continues to advocate for adequate reimbursement from the program.

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