First, do no harm: Everett Clinic CEO Rick Cooper, chairman of the Washington Healthcare Forum, a coalition of doctors, hospitals, health plans and state associations, writes about the state's healthcare budget and decisions that will be made this legislative session.
A key area where state investments impact our citizens is the healthcare workforce. Not only is our state growing — it’s growing older. Baby Boom doctors and nurses are retiring, and right now there are not enough resident training positions in our state to meet the demand for care. We need to train more physicians to increase access to care. Reductions in state programs that pay for workforce training can lead to shortages of physicians and nurses. In fact, it is estimated there will be a shortage of nearly 1,700 primary care physicians in Washington by 2030, hitting underserved rural communities the most.
When it comes to our health-care system, we ask legislators to consider how each move weighs on other parts of the budget. The Washington state health-care community stands ready to work with lawmakers to help craft an acceptable plan that sustains and accelerates the innovation and improvement that is under way.
Read his guest opinion piece with Rick Rubin CEO of OneHealthPort in The Seattle Times, "How health care can survive the ups and downs of state funding."