About Washington Rural Health Collaborative
Collaboration is an amazingly dynamic interaction involving teamwork, forming alliances, and relationship building through cooperation. And that is exactly what is happening between 12 Critical Access Hospitals in Washington.
The Washington Rural Health Collaborative (the Collaborative) is an existing, mature and robust rural network consisting of 13 Critical Access Hospitals, all separately governed and predominantly serving the rural areas of Washington State. The Collaborative, which has been in existence since 2003, enjoys stable and competent leadership, a well-defined mission, and a formalized organizational structure. Most importantly, it has a demonstrated history of delivering value to its members and the rural communities they serve. The Collaborative’s strength has always been its ability to come together to achieve much more as a group than the individual members could ever hope to achieve separately.
The Collaborative has been the recipient of several previous federal grants and has successfully deployed those grant funds to achieve meaningful use (2011) and facilitate access to specialists and specialty care (2006 and 2008). In addition, the Collaborative identified priority projects including: teleradiology, telepharmacy and diabetic patient education; developing rural nurse competencies, staff education, healthcare compliance and healthcare quality projects. The projects helped move the Collaborative through its formative stages into the mature collaborative we are today. The Collaborative has formed numerous groups to share ideas, problem solve shared challenges and strengthen resources. Some of the working groups involved in these valuable exchanges include: CEOs, CFOs, staff representing nursing and quality assurance, business office, human resources, information services, health information management, foundation, and marketing.
Today, the Collaborative provides joint contracting/negotiating, HIE, support and staffing of various hospital committees and is actively support expansion efforts related to Medicaid for Collaborative members and their communities. These Collaborative efforts are beginning to take charge of health care delivery and quality in their own communities. Rural hospitals often are the “health care system” for the communities they serve; and, a substantial portion of actual day-to-day network operations are powered by the administrative, clinical, and support staff of Collaborative member hospitals.
Collaborating to stimulate innovation and agile partnerships that improve rural health care quality, efficiency and sustainability.
We achieve this by:
- Bringing CEO’s and department managers from members hospitals together for support, the development of new ideas, and professional growth;
- Promoting efficiencies among our members through benchmarking, grants, shared contracting and services;
- Developing and analyzing models and strategies to negotiate, enter into and carry out joint agreements and contracts for health care service delivery and payment with public and private entities that operate within the State of Washington;
- Fostering quality improvement and Critical Access Hospital requirements by developing and sharing protocols, benchmarking, best practices, and education. Provide survey assistance, networking hospitals and implementing standardization while enabling comparative analysis;
- Jointly negotiating and contracting for shared services, i.e. lab, ICD 10 training, compliance;
- Developing innovative projects and programs; i.e. Health Information Exchange allowing for the exchange of clinical data between disparate EMR’s; and
- Identifying and applying for grants and contract funding to support the mission and goals of member hospitals.