Legislative Advocacy

Advocacy Works!

Taking an active role in legislative advocacy is a strategic priority for Olympic Medical Center. From visiting our state officials in Olympia to discuss Medicaid reimbursement and inform them of regulatory concerns, to fly ins to Washington, DC to talk with federal policymakers about Medicare and rural health policies, our legislative advocacy team works diligently to be heard. Read on to learn more about our legislative, policy and budget priorities.

Site Neutral, 340B, Federal Funding & Workforce

Olympic Medical Center’s federal advocacy agenda prioritizes adequate funding of rural health care delivery systems and ensuring access to valuable programs and resources that allow us to meet the needs of our community.

Despite 2019 Judgment, Site Neutral Cuts Set to Rise to 60% in 2020

In early December, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) stated it will automatically reprocess 2019 claims in order to repay Olympic Medical Center and other hospitals for its reductions to payments to off-site, hospital-based outpatient clinics.

Olympic Medical Center joined the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Association of American Medical Colleges and other hospitals in filing a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services over the payment cuts. The courts ruled in favor of the AHA lawsuit in September, saying that CMS exceeded its statutory authority in implementing the 2019 cuts, and in October the judge reaffirmed her previous order to CMS to vacate the payment cut.

Despite this ruling, CMS declared its intent to reduce payments in 2020 to 60%, and on December 16, a federal judge said hospitals must file claims in 2020 to show the effects of cuts.

CMS also filed its intent to appeal the 2019 ruling last week.

Out of due diligence, Olympic Medical Center officials planned for CMS to continue cuts and built the loss of funding into the 2020 budget, squeezing investments for growth and needed technologies; however, current services will continue to be maintained. As this plays out in the courts, our advocacy team continues to talk with elected officials about what adequate reimbursement means to our community.

U.S. House Representative Derek Kilmer earlier this year introduced The Protecting Local Access to Care for Everyone (PLACE) Act, as a vehicle to halt the CMS rulemaking related to these cuts. Representative Kilmer continues to build bipartisan support for this bill.

Other Federal Priorities

Most recently, Olympic Medical Center advocacy team members have met with elected officials and health care aides to discuss programs that protect rural communities’ access to care. These priorities include:

  • Preventing cuts to the Medicaid Disproportionate Share program
  • Protecting the 340B drug discount program
  • Developing common-sense solutions to “surprise billing” that protect patients, yet do not harm the ability of hospitals to negotiate with insurers
  • Continue and improve valuable programs to fill the current workforce needs and build the workforce of the future

The American Hospital Association offers more information on these issues, along with many others important to advancing health care in America.

Planning for the 2020 Washington State Legislative Session

In partnership with the Washington State Hospital Association, Olympic Medical Center is busy planning for the 2020 legislative session in Olympia. This will be a “short session,” meaning the state legislature has approximately three months to address policies and budget adjustments.

At the state level, our priorities continue to be maintaining adequate reimbursement, improving access to care for rural patients to behavioral health and other essential services, and working on commonsense regulatory solutions.

Reach Out, Be Heard

It is important for citizens to have their voices heard on issues that are important to them. If you have a view or a wish that you’d like genuinely considered at the state or federal level, we encourage you to reach out to those representing Clallam County and share your thoughts.

Find our region’s elected officials here.

Meet Our Legislative Advocacy Committee

Our active legislative advocacy committee meets monthly and regularly engages with legislators and the community on important state and federal issues affecting health care in our community. The committee works with community partners throughout Clallam County, when appropriate, in an effort to strengthen support for adequate funding for rural health care.

For more information on Olympic Medical Center’s legislative advocacy priorities or to inquire how you can advocate to support local health care, please email advocacy@olympicmedical.org.

  • John Nutter
    OMC Board Commissioner
  • Jim Leskinovitch
    OMC Board Commissioner
  • Thom Hightower, RN
    OMC Board Commissioner
  • Eric Lewis
    Chief Executive Officer
  • Jennifer Burkhardt
    General Counsel & Chief Human Resources Officer
  • Bobby Beeman
    Communications & Public Affairs Manager

Additional Advocacy Resources

If you’re interested in more information regarding national and state health care, you can check out a number of resources available to you: