Collaborative Health Policy
A recent study by the William D. Ruckelshaus Center identified strong interest in using university-based third party neutral services to build consensus among diverse and often competing healthcare interests. The Center acts as a neutral resource for collaborative problem solving in the State of Washington and Pacific Northwest and assists leaders in efforts to build consensus and resolve conflicts around difficult public policy issues.
Read the Collaborative Healthcare Policy One-Pager (563 KB)
Read the Healthcare Policy Study (492 KB)
Read the Healthcare Policy Study Flyer (1 MB PDF)
Example Health Policy Projects:
Southwest Washington Accountable Community of Health
The Center is currently working with the SW Washington ACH to assess the collaborative potential of community leaders, healthcare providers and payers to reach consensus around regional implementation (Clark, Skamania and Klickitat counties) of statewide Medicaid transformation goals. Each region must determine how to collaborate at community levels to decrease health disparities, improve access to care and health outcomes, and increase delivery of care efficiencies. This ACH region can earn up to $55 Million of the State’s $1.5 Billion federal Medicaid transformation demonstration, if collaborative progress and outcomes targets are met involving:
- Physical and behavioral health (mental health and substance use disorders) care delivery integration
- Care coordination to address the ‘whole person’
- Opioid prevention and treatment
- Focused efforts around series of optional initiatives, including oral health service access; chronic disease prevention and control, and maternal & child health
For more information, contact Project Manager and Senior Facilitator Kevin Harris.
Yakima Health Provider Capacity
The Center is currently working with Pacific Northwest University- Health Sciences to provide neutral facilitation services to a key set of healthcare providers, including hospitals and rural health centers in the Yakima Valley. Yakima has historically had a disproportionately high uninsured/Medicaid population- Medicaid transformation has swamped local healthcare provider’s ability to provide appropriate primary and specialty care services to their community. The Center is facilitating a process to help executive and operational leadership collaborate to identify short-term interventions and longer-term strategic innovations that will help with emergency room diversion, physician and other practitioner recruiting, and other access to quality care improvements.
For more information, contact Project Manager Kevin Harris.
Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition
The Ruckelshaus Center is providing process design and facilitation services to the Snohomish County Health Leadership Coalition’s LiveHealthy2020 initiative. The Coalition is a convener of over 130 public, private and civic-based organizations, with the vision of improving the health and economic vitality of Snohomish County by improving nutrition, increasing physical activity, enhancing mental and emotional health, and fostering civic health & connectivity. The Center is helping the Coalition design and implement collaborative processes to help their diverse set of signatory organizations and others scale their ‘accelerator’ efforts to create larger impact around Snohomish County population health outcomes.
For more information, contact Project Manager Kevin Harris.
Snohomish Health District
In 2016, the Snohomish Health District asked the Center to assist in navigating a potential transformation of its governance and delivery of care. The Health District provides public health services to Snohomish County’s 755,000+ residents, from maternal and child health programs to safe drinking water. A 15-member Board of Health, including county and city elected officials, oversees policy and budget development. Supporting citizens of the fastest-growing county in Washington, the Health District has struggled with its role within statewide healthcare transformation, sustainable local and state funding, and board member turnover. The Center conducted a situation assessment — a series of interviews with a broad range of leaders and organizations throughout the community to discern issues, opportunities and dynamics among key parties, as well as prospects for collaborative dialogue, to identify and agree on long-term solutions. The District is currently in the process of implementing several key Center recommendations, to improve engagement and streamline the Board’s decision-making process.
The Center partnered with the University of Washington’s Health Policy Center (UW HPC) on a project that examined eldercare workforce capacity in Washington state. In December 2012, the Center and UW HPC received a grant to begin the first phase of this project. The Center also participated in a University Network for Collaborative Governance (UNCG) initiative to launch similar efforts in states across the country that will engage health care and workforce stakeholders in developing eldercare workforce strategies. The UNCG initiative will focus on: 1) Hosting a national colloquium on Eldercare Workforce Collaboration, resulting in a report to serve as the basis for a multi-state pilot; 2) A pilot to evaluate and report on results and lessons learned of the assessments; and 3) Convening assessments in several states through UNCG centers, including the Ruckelshaus Center. For more information, contact Senior Facilitator for Health Policy Kevin Harris.
Additional Resources: Eldercare Workforce
- Washington Eldercare Workforce Assessment Impact Report
- Eldercare Progress Report: Number 1, April 2013 (360 KB PDF)
- Eldercare Progress Report: Number 2, Dec. 2013 (650 KB PDF)
- Eldercare Progress Report: Number 3, Oct. 2015 (344 KB PDF)
- Washington State’s Eldercare Workforce (10.3 MB PDF)
- Aging in Place: A Policy Approach for Aging Well in Washington State (961 KB PDF)
Between 2007 and 2012, the Center assisted in resolving long-standing disagreements concerning hospital staffing decisions. Concerns by the parties included the effects of nurse staffing levels in hospitals, patient safety, costs and working conditions for nurses. Numerous studies have been conducted for this national issue, yet no accepted resolution has been developed. In 2007, the Center held an initial forum between the Northwest Organization of Nurse Executives; SEIU Healthcare 1199NW, United Staff Nurses, UFCW 141, the Washington State Hospital Association, and the Washington State Nurses Association, in which they reached an agreement to work together. In 2008, these parties signed an agreement at a ceremony with Governor Gregoire to begin discussions facilitated by the Center. The goal of all parties in the discussion was to develop a model solution for this pressing problem in health policy.
Additional Resources: Nurse Staffing
- Read the full Nurse Staffing project report
- Third Interim Progress Report 2010 (81 KB PDF)
- Second Interim Progress Report 2009 (651 KB PDF)
- First Interim Progress Report 2008 (468 KB PDF)
- Washington State Legislation RCW 70.41.420 Nurse Staffing committee
- Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 3123 (SHB 3123) (14 KB PDF) Effective Date: 06/12/08
- Nurse Staffing – A Summary of Current Research, Opinion and Policy (251 KB PDF)
- Summary of Findings and Conclusions from the Nurse Staffing Research Paper are shared (121 KB PDF)
Updated on June 28, 2017
Policy Issue and Project Assistance
Are you wondering if your policy issue or project might benefit from the Ruckelshaus Center’s assessment- process design- neutral facilitation- consensus building expertise?
Kevin Harris, Senior Facilitator – Health Policy, recently conducted a national webinar for the Association for Conflict Resolution entitled Collaborative Governance in Health: the Link Between Collaborative Process and Implementation. In case you missed it, watch here.