Monthly Archives: November 2011

No more three-visit limits on ER’s


Just got this from the Washington State Medicaid lifts three-visit limit

on non-emergency use of emergency rooms

This statement from the Washington Health Care Authority, which oversees seven state health plans, including Basic Health. Looks like the three-visit limit on hospital emergency rooms is off. Rachel Pritchett

OLYMPIA – Health Care Authority Director Doug Porter said he is lifting a month-old three-visit limit on non-emergency use of hospital emergency rooms after a Thurston County Superior Court judge held the state did not follow proper rule-making procedures in establishing the limit.

Medicaid began notifying providers immediately after the ruling that HCA’s emergency amendment to WAC 182-550-1200 establishing the three visit emergency room limitation was invalid due to an improper use of the Administrative Procedure Act’s emergency rule process. Judge Paula Casey’s decision was based on the technical aspects of rule-making, not the three-visit limit itself.

The three-visit limit was ordered as part of the Medicaid budget for the current biennium. It was expected to save more than $30 million in state funding over the period from October 1, 2011, to June 30, 2013.

Ninety-seven percent of the state’s Medicaid clients do not exceed three emergency room visits in the course of an average year. Non-emergency use includes visits that would be better directed to primary care or chronic care providers. A small but expensive group of clients run up large numbers of visits per year, some exceeding 100, usually in search of pain medication such as opioids.

Porter said he had ordered his staff to revisit rulemaking procedures involved in the judge’s order and to correct the deficiencies.

“We remain under a legislative mandate to implement this limit and contribute savings to help relieve the state’s extreme financial crisis,” he said.

The Health Care Authority does not discriminate and provides equal access to its programs and services for all persons without regard to race, color, gender, religion, creed, marital status, national origin, sexual orientation, age, veteran’s status or the presence of any physical, sensory or mental disability.

Jobs fair for veterans next Thursday in Bremerton

BEMERTON — WorkSource of Kitsap County, the local public employment office, will host a job fair for veterans from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 10, at the Kitsap Conference Center, 100 Washington Ave., on the Bremerton redeveloped waterfront.
All job-seekers are invited, but the fair will focus on the needs and skills of veterans.
More than 30 private and government employers will be represented.
Free shuttle busses will run to the fair from the WorkSource office at 1300 Sylvan Way, and also from the Kitsap Community Resources office at 1211 Bay Street, Port Orchard.
This is the fourth year for the fair. For more information, call (360) 337-4810 or visit

AAA study looks at high cost of traffic collisions


Got this from AAA in Bellevue, calling for improved traffic safety measures to bring down the cost we all pay for traffic collisions. Here it is:

BELLEVUE – The annual societal cost of traffic crashes is $299.5 billion, more than three times the $97.7 billion cost of congestion, according to a report released today by AAA. In the Seattle/Bellevue/Tacoma metropolitan area, the annual cost of traffic crashes is $4.3 billion, which is slightly more than double the area’s $2.1 billion annual congestion costs, reports AAA Washington.
AAA’s “Crashes vs. Congestion – What’s the Cost to Society?” report highlights the overwhelming and far-reaching economic impacts traffic safety crashes have on our nation and encourages policymakers at all levels of government to ensure safety is a top priority. 
“The burdens associated with congestion are top of mind for many Americans as they travel to and from work each day,” said Dave Overstreet, director of public affairs for AAA Washington. “However, at $300 billion annually, crashes cost our society more than three times the amount of congestion. This report further underscores the importance of a long-term, multi-year federal transportation bill that will provide the necessary and sustained investments that lead to better and safer roads for all Americans.”
According to the study conducted for AAA by Cambridge Systematics, the overall cost of crashes ($299.5 billion) equates to an annual per person cost of $1,522, compared to $590 per person annually for congestion ($97.7 billion overall). The cost of crashes are based on the Federal Highway Administration’s comprehensive costs for traffic fatalities and injuries that assign a dollar value to a variety of components, including medical and emergency services, lost earnings and household production, property damage, and lost quality of life, among other things.
The report calculates the costs of crashes for the same metropolitan areas covered by the annual Urban Mobility Report conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute. The results showed crash costs exceeded congestion in every metropolitan area studied, from very large to small. For very large urban areas (populations of more than three million), crash costs are nearly double those of congestion. Those costs rise to nearly six times congestion costs in small urban areas (populations less than 500,000) where motorists face less congested conditions.
“Almost 33,000 people – 635 per week – die on U.S. roadways each year and that’s unacceptable,” said Overstreet. “While the decline in traffic fatalities in recent years signifies a positive trend, our work is far from over. Continued progress will require active and focused leadership, improved communication and collaboration, and an investment in data collection and evaluation to make sure we’re addressing the nation’s most serious safety challenges.”
AAA Washington has been serving members and the traveling public since 1904.  The organization provides a variety of exclusive benefits, including roadside assistance, discounts, maps and personalized trip planning, to its 1,035,000 members. In addition, its full-service travel and insurance agencies provide products and services for members and the public. Additional information is available through the company’s offices in Washington and northern Idaho, at, or by calling 1-800-562-2582.