Potential government shutdown

In the event of a federal government shutdown, individuals enrolled in Apple Health (Medicaid), Public Employees Benefits Board, and School Employees Benefits Board coverage—and those accessing behavioral health services—will not experience a disruption in care. In addition, health care providers will continue to be paid for the services they provide.

If a shutdown occurs, we will share more information at that time.

What we're working on

We have various major projects under way to improve care coordination through health information technology. These projects are guided by the Washington State Medicaid HIT Plan and accompanying operations plan.

HIT operations plan

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) requires we have a strategy supporting service delivery and payment transformation as part of our Medicaid Transformation work. We developed a strategic roadmap identifying activities advancing health information exchange in response to this. The roadmap further calls out specific tasks which the annual Health IT operational plan outlines. We share progress on these tasks with stakeholders during monthly meetings and in quarterly reports to CMS.

View HIT operations plan resources

988 crisis line

In recognition that suicide is a leading cause of death in the United States and that this public health crisis has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic:

  • In July 2020, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) designated 988 as the dialing code for individuals in crisis to connect with suicide prevention and mental health services.
  • In October 2020, the National Suicide Hotline Designation Act of 2020 was signed into law requiring all telephone service providers to direct all 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline calls to the existing National Suicide Prevention Lifelines (NSPLs) crisis centers by July 16, 2022. There are three NSPLs in Washington.
  • In 2021, Vibrant Emotional Health, the national administrator for the 988 Lifeline, made grant awards available to states to plan for the implementation of the 988 Lifeline.
  • In 2022, SAMHSA awarded $282 million in grants to help states transition the NSPL crisis centers to the 988 Lifeline, support the telephone, call/chat infrastructure, and strengthen crisis center staffing. 
  • In 2021, Washington passed E2SHB 1477 which set out expectations to build and implement a complex, statewide crisis call and response platform and behavioral health integrated client referral system.

When people reach out to the 988 NSPL Lifeline by call, text or chat they will be connected 24/7/365 to trained counselors who will proceed with established protocols to respond to the specific needs of the person including, as needed, coordinating with regions and providers to send mobile crisis response (MCR) teams and/or other in-person responders, providing support and resources, and as necessary, referring the person to an appointment or other needed community or facility-based services. The system will support bi-directional electronic referrals allowing the sending provider to create a referral and the receiving provider to accept or decline the referral, and if accepted to send a report regarding the outcome(s) of the referral. The system will support access to near-real time information needed to support the person in crisis. The statewide goal is to ensure that the system provides equitable services to underserved communities and adequate follow-up and support to all users of the system. This complex process requires implementation of several technology solutions by multiple actors across five crucial domains: call center, referrals and appointments to resources, bed referral/registry, responder dispatching, and reporting. Several of these domains will require the use of provider resource directories.

View 988 resources

Clinical Data Repository (CDR)

"Enabling real time medical, dental, social service support, and behavioral health care information to follow the patient across care settings and over time – regardless of the insurer, plan, or provider."

When fully populated with clinical records, the CDR will provide authorized access to integrated records to help providers make treatment, medication, and referral decisions.

This effort will result in an integrated record for Apple Health (Medicaid) clients who may have moved from provider to provider or from health care plan to health care plan. To improve coordination of care and patient outcomes, complete and relevant real-time data must be delivered to the right provider, for the right patient, at the right time.

View CDR information and resources

Promoting Interoperability Program (PIP)

"Helping hospitals and providers make the switch from unsecured, paper records to secure EHR systems."

We want to help hospitals and providers make the switch from unsecured, paper records to secure electronic health record systems. Through EHR systems, doctors and patients are able to work together to manage private and up-to-date health records, avoiding repetitive tests, and increasing efficiency.

Hospitals and eligible health care providers who serve Apple Health (Medicaid) clients in Washington state can get federal funding to set up and use certified electronic health record systems.

View PI information and resources