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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Thursday, May 22, 2014
•   Cathy Wolfe, Thurston County Commissioner
•   Winfried Danke, CHOICE Regional Health Network Executive Director

New Alliance Aims to Bring State Health Dollars to South Sound, Coastal Communities
Cascade Pacific Action Alliance seeks state grant for Health Care Innovation Plan

Stakeholders and community partners from 10 counties gathered Wednesday, May 21 in Tumwater to form the new Cascade Pacific Action Alliance—a coalition of private and public organizations that is working to improve community health, and working to get more state healthcare dollars invested in South Sound and coastal communities.

The meeting gathered representatives from a broad spectrum of industries and organizations that are involved in healthcare and community health throughout Western Washington. People from state agencies, school districts, hospitals and clinics throughout the region joined numerous elected officials and representatives of public health departments and other government agencies to formalize an alliance that would help direct funding and resources from the Washington State Health Care Authority and other state programs that are part of the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act.

At the end of the meeting, Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Thurston and Wahkiakum counties were the first five to have signed on to the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance to form an "Accountable Community of Health"—a term the state has developed to refer to regional collaboratives formed around improving healthcare and building healthier communities. Representatives from five additional counties were also invited to participate and potentially join the alliance—Clallam, Cowlitz, Jefferson, Kitsap and Pacific.

The state is encouraging public and private organizations in Washington to form regional collaboratives like the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance to help identify ways to improve how we pay for health services, ensure health care focuses on the whole person, and build healthier communities through collaboration in order to be more competitive when the state begins awarding Health Care Innovation Plan grants.

In a letter sent to state representatives to declare the alliance's intent to apply for a Health Care Planning grant, CHOICE Regional Health Network Executive Director Winfried Danke wrote:

"We believe that the state's Health Care Innovation Plan and the development of Accountable Communities of Health like the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance represent a huge opportunity for our region to substantively improve our communities' health by engaging a broad range of diverse stakeholders in charting a course that better integrates our health system and leads to improved health outcomes for our residents."


Thurston County Commissioner and Board of Health Chair Cathy Wolfe released the following statement at the conclusion of the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance meeting on Wednesday, May 22:

"The rollout of our state's Affordable Care Act programs is an incredible opportunity for local jurisdictions like Thurston County to re-engage our local leaders and local stakeholders on issues like healthcare access, better integration of the health systems in our communities, and improving community health for our residents. Forming the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance is a big step forward for those efforts, but it is just the first step of many where we can walk hand-in-hand with our partners to bring those goals to fruition.

"I am very pleased with the progress we've made in such a short period. I think we have structured the alliance for success, and I think this coalition that we've formed will be very competitive when it comes to winning grant funds to support the many programs and services our jurisdictions already have in place.

"I think Thurston County has laid a fantastic foundation and has set an example of the kinds of strides the alliance can make with our Thurston Thrives initiative. We've worked tirelessly over the last year to not just talk about better integration or better access to healthcare, but develop practical, boots-on-the-ground action agendas.

"What we learned from others at the Cascade Pacific Action Alliance meeting shows that we have a lot in common. I look forward to working together to achieve concrete, measurable successes when it comes to building healthier communities and getting better health outcomes for our residents."


County Commissioners:

Carolina Mejia
District 1

Gary Edwards
District 2

Tye Menser
District 3