One of my favorite movies is Groundhog Day. Bill Murray is hilarious and thought-provoking as a weatherman cursed to re-live February second over and over until he can learn to be a better person. Perhaps this is a lesson for all of us in self-improvement, paying attention to our community, colleagues, and neighbors, and making the best of whatever situation in which we are dropped. James Parker of the Atlantic calls the movie “a profound work of contemporary metaphysics.” My favorite scene is Murray sitting before a table in the diner saying, “I don’t worry about anything anymore” as he stuffs an entire angel food cake slice in his mouth.

In our last blog post we touched on what we learned from the recent State of Reform conference about the uncertain future of the Affordable Care Act and linked to an article from The Seattle Times outlining Washington State’s experience with health care reform construction and subsequent dismantling in the 1990s. In light of today’s health care environment, two themes from Groundhog Day stick with me: questions about how we can possibly predict what is coming next, federally speaking, that will impact our health care system – will we see our shadow? – and whether what we do will stick – will we have to relive the same experience over and over?

I can’t say whether we can expect six more weeks of winter or an early spring, but I can say that I am very optimistic by our Washington State health care system’s willingness to work together to build a better future. On Monday, I attended the Health Innovation Leadership Network meeting, where we heard updates on Healthier Washington, including on the officially approved Medicaid Demonstration Project. These are exciting projects that will help build the infrastructure for a system that better meets patient needs and is more affordable, of higher quality, and sustainable. The Bree Collaborative continues to be a part of these conversations. We are helping support the Clinical Engagement Accelerator Committee that is working to engage clinical leadership and we continue to work with the Health Care Authority, patients, our state’s hospitals, health plans, clinicians, and others to look at key health care topics for improvement.

Right now, there are a few opportunities for you to engage with our work and partner with us on some of these important topics. First, our Behavioral Health Integration Recommendations are out for public comment. Feedback via survey is due by 5pm on Friday, February 24th. Next Wednesday, February 8th, our workgroups on Alzheimer’s Disease and Other Dementias and our Re-Review of the Total Knee and Total Hip Replacement Bundle and Warranty are meeting. Our new workgroup looking at treating opioid use disorder will meet Friday, February 17th, and our ongoing workgroup looking at evidence-informed opioid prescribing will meet Wednesday, February 22nd.

I welcome you to join us at any or all of these meetings. I can’t promise that we won’t worry about anything anymore, or that we will serve angel food cake – but I can promise coffee and collaboration to build a healthier Washington.

Ginny Weir, MPH
Director, Bree Collaborative