Rafton’s Round Up: October 2023

Sarah Rafton, MSW, Executive Director

I cannot imagine the challenges you face each day as you set foot in the hospital or the clinic, though I know the children, teens, and families you serve inspire you and help keep you going.

You should also feel inspired by the collective difference you are making for kids and families as a member of WCAAP.

You are making macro-level impacts through partnerships with our state legislature and community. I am deeply grateful for your membership in WCAAP and your efforts with us. You should feel proud and know that together we are making a measurable difference for kids!

As you’ll read in this issue of Developments, the Medicaid rate increase we achieved in 2021 continues today, bringing much of pediatric primary care reimbursement to near parity with Medicare (about 94-97% of Medicare) and reimbursement for pediatric hospital care to near 80% of Medicare rates.

Your advocacy on kids’ mental health access in the 2022 and 2023 legislative sessions is bearing fruit on the front lines in clinics across the state:

  • Today 11 clinics are receiving a one-time infusion of financial support from the Washington State Health Care Authority to build behavioral health integration for kids in primary care. With generous support from The Americas Foundation, WCAAP is supporting these clinics through March 2024 in a learning network led by Leslie Graham, MSW, LICSW, Wendy Pringle, LMHC, and WCAAP members doctors Mary Ann Woodruff and Larry Wissow.
  • Starting in early 2023, there are now over 40 Pediatric Community Health Workers to support behavioral health in 30 primary care clinics across the state, including seven tribal clinics. With financial support from our partners at DOH, WCAAP is strengthening this new workforce and their clinic-teams with a Learning Collaborative through May 2024 – to ensure role clarity and sharing care.
  • Thanks to your recent advocacy in the 2023 session, the First Approach Skills Training team at Seattle Children’s is already deepening and widening its resources for mental health professionals, parents and PCPs by increasing its education and support to mental health professionals working in Community Mental Health Centers across the state and increasing resources in Spanish.

As I have shared with you in the past, your credibility, training, experience and commitment to saying what kids need and deserve results in timely and meaningful change in our state. Thanks to you, we have made these rapid strides in child health care access. And, thanks to our Chapter staff, government contracts, and philanthropic support, we are helping to make these state investments as effective as they can be with our learning networks and learning collaboratives.

Please join us in continuing to make effective change for Washington’s children, teens and families: