November 2018 Newsletter

As the 2018 year ends, we have many things to be thoughtful and grateful for. We’re sharing our Fall thoughts with you by calling on us all to remember the season and what we can learn from the tribes about our relationship to the earth and outdoors. Read and enjoy the brief piece from Liz here

We have also extended the deadline for expressing interest in joining the North Sound ACH Board of Directors. You can find directions and links to the key application info at this link

Our newsletter also had some important links to upcoming events:

  • The 2019 Northwest Rural Health Conference will be March 25-27 at the Hilton Hotel and Conference Center in SeaTac WA. The deadline to respond to the Call for Presentations and Posters is December 3rd. You can find more details at this link
  • There is a webinar in the next week around how digital programs can engage people on Medicaid and perhaps impact health outcomes. You can register for November 27th webinar at this link
  • Snohomish Health District is looking for local providers and tribes to participate in “data walks” – a series of events beginning on November 27th. The first meeting is November 27th (registration link) with additional shorter meetings on December 4th in Lynnwood, and December 11th in Monroe (registration link).
  • The final North Sound ACH Board meeting will be held on December 14th at the North Sound BHO building in Mount Vernon, from 9-2. You can find the calendar at this link, and the agenda and details (even for past meetings) at this page on our website. Meeting materials are posted 4-5 days ahead of the meeting. 

Time Extended to Express Interest in North Sound ACH Board

The North Sound ACH is still accepting applications to serve on the Board of Directors. The Board is looking to fill several for the coming year. The Board appointments are three-year terms.

Specifically, the Board is seeking to diversify its membership (including race, ethnicity, LGBTQI+, persons younger than 45) and is looking for experience in one or more of the following areas:

  • Fund Development
  • Legal
  • Housing/Homelessness
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Transportation
  • On Medicaid, or a caregiver for someone on Medicaid

If you are passionate about improving the region’s health and are looking for a way to get involved and contribute, please download an application to join the Board.

You can see who is currently on the Board at this link

The Board will be accepting applications until December 1st.

Gratitude and Celebration

November is Native American Heritage Month, proclaimed by Governor Inslee as a time to “honor the unique heritage of this continent’s First People and reaffirm the commitment to respect each tribe’s sovereignty and cultural identity.”  We give thanks for the leadership of the tribes and their approach to whole person care. Our team continues to learn from them and aim to grow those practices in other parts of the North Sound region.

While the media focuses on the day after Thanksgiving as “Black Friday” we hope you will join us in two other (more important) ways. First, Washington is one of several states that celebrates the day after Thanksgiving as Native American Heritage Day, naming it a state and school holiday. But the holiday is only one part; the proclamation also calls for educating students about the history achievements, and contributions of the tribes. Washington is rich in its 29 tribes and you can learn more about each tribe at this link. Spend at least part of your day learning about the Washington’s tribes, their history and culture.

Second, the day after Thanksgiving is a day where we are called to Opt-Outside. You can #optoutside or check out this link at the Nature Conservancy to find ways to get out and connect to the outdoors. The tribes we work with have known the connection between nature and health since time immemorial, and continue to show leadership in positioning the health of our communities, ecosystems, and wildlife as inextricably linked. They might encourage us to ‘Opt Outside’ every day to find the path to our wellness and wholeness. 

We wish you wellness and gratitude this week, and hope you will celebrate your connectedness to others who were here before us, are here in our communities now, and the amazing land that surrounds us. 


Change Plans Due November 2nd!

Partners who completed Sections 1 and 2 of the application process earlier this are now working on Change Plans. We have had several informational calls, and have posted FAQs here for reference and review. Once the Change Plans are submitted and our team has a chance to review them, we’ll be scheduling follow-up in person meetings with each organization.

Check out our October 2018 Newsletter at this link.

Call for North Sound ACH Board Member Solicitation

The North Sound ACH is now accepting applications from individuals interested in serving on the Board of Directors. The Board is looking to fill two seats being vacated by board members with expiring terms on December 31, 2018. The Board seats are for three-year terms with the possibility of renewing for additional three terms.

In addition, the Board is seeking applicants who are either on Medicaid, or a caregiver for someone on Medicaid to fill the balance of a term (two years remaining) for a seat that is identified for a “consumer” voice. Please note, that a person on Medicaid can also apply for one of the other two open seats.

Specifically, the Board is seeking to diversify its membership (including race, ethnicity, LGBTQI+, persons younger than 45, and others) and is looking for individuals with experience in one or more of the following policy or practice areas:

  • Fund Development
  • Legal
  • Housing/Homelessness
  • Education
  • Criminal Justice
  • Transportation

If you are passionate about this region’s work to transform health and are looking for a way to get involved and contribute, please download an application to join the Board.

You can see who is currently on the Board at this link

The Board will be accepting applications until 5:00 PM on November 19.

Community Partners Working to Achieve Oral Health Equity

Author, Glenn Puckett MPA, Director of Health Systems Integration at the Arcora Foundation

Arcora Foundation and North Sound ACH have agreed to a multi-year partnership, to establish a Local Impact Network (LIN) that improves oral health outcomes in the five county, North Sound region. This partnership is the direct result of the demonstrated commitment by North Sound ACH to address whole person health disparities, including oral health.

Arcora Foundation sponsored LINs leverage local expertise and focus on approaches most likely to achieve lasting change. They link community partners who blend resources to improve oral health for those in the community who need it most. By addressing the factors that influence oral health, including disease prevention, access to dental care, and healthy behaviors, the goal is to make measurable progress toward oral health equity in three to five years by creating a sustainable network of local resources.

Arcora Foundation’s three year commitment to North Sound will include grants, technical assistance, advocacy and other resources to help build local support and leverage local resources. This community-led approach ensures solutions reflect local needs and values. 

If you want to help improve oral health in North Sound, email Ross Howell at to learn about joining the North Sound LIN.

Here’s how Local Impact Networks work:

  1. Arcora Foundation partners with a local organization to coordinate the LIN, including cultivating partners to head each anchor strategy (see list below).
  2. Arcora Foundation provides start-up funding for the lead organization and for each anchor strategy.
  3. The anchor strategy organizations develop creative approaches to reduce barriers and coordinate access to care.
  4. The LIN engages clinical experts, policy advisors, and local funders to spread best practices and develop sustainability plans.

Typical LIN Anchor Strategies include, but are not limited to:

  • Community Care Coordination – Connecting people to dental care that accepts their insurance or provides no- or low-cost dental services.
  • Medical Dental Integration – Providing oral health preventive services in medical settings and connecting patients to local dental providers for routine care.
  • Access to Care – Weaving together access pathways for vulnerable populations, testing new care approaches, including teledentistry, and increasing the number of dentists serving Medicaid patients.
  • Sealants – Increasing the number of children who receive dental sealants at school.
  • Place-Based Approaches – Providing coordinated medical, dental, and behavioral health services in community-based settings.
  • Community Education – Promoting targeted education messages to influence health behaviors and community norms.

Check out our October 2018 Newsletter at this link.

A Look Back, A Look Forward

We’ve been distracted more than a few times by deliverables and documents, but we finally have a summary that shows what we’ve been up to the last year and a half. You can find it online at this link and we hope to have some print copies by the time of our Board meeting in October. 

Many thanks to the team at Shew Design for helping us get this together. 


Positions Posted for North Sound ACH!

The North Sound ACH is adding team members, and we’d appreciate your help in spreading the word. You can find our job postings at this link

We currently have three positions open, and we are trying to reach diverse applicants who can add perspective and experience to our team. We are currently recruiting for a couple of project managers (with one specifically focused on care coordination and use of Community Heath Workers),  and a team member who can multi-task with billing/finance and general administrative support. 

If you know of someone who might be a fit for the ACH team, please forward this link and suggest they reach out. It is a fast-paced environment with a team committed to continuous learning, equity and transforming how care and services are delivered to people in the North Sound region. 


Care Coordination Agencies (CCAs)

As part of North Sound’s commitment to improving care coordination across partners who intersect with patients and clients, we are piloting a model that enhances communication and information sharing in real time. To that end, we have selected four Care Coordination Agencies (CCAs) in implementing a Community HUB to better align the delivery of care coordination services and resources.

We had more than 30 organizations apply to be CCAs, and selected these four organizations to begin piloting the work:

  • Compass Health
  • Northwest Regional Council
  • San Juan County (San Juan County Health and Human Services)
  • Sea Mar Community 

These four partners serve clients/patients in all five North Sound counties, and work across clinical and community settings, including work with tribal partners. Some of the initial work will include developing an Advisory Committee with representatives from other providers, referral sources, and community members.  Stay tuned for more on how you might remain involved as this work expands.


Happy New Year!

As we close out the final days of 2017, and march into the new year, we are grateful for the breadth and depth of knowledge, innovation and passion that exists within the North Sound partners and communities. Together, you all have laid the groundwork for change, and our team sees so much opportunity in front of us. To address an issue as challenging – and devastating – as opioids will take us all, with the usual and unexpected partners working together. 

In 2018, we will be working with you to – 

  • Support the counties and the BHO (Behavioral Health Organization) as they forge ahead in integrating managed care and behavioral health services;
  • Detail out the initiatives that will be carried out in our region, with the goal of having those initiatives starting on the ground in the second half of the year;
  • Negotiate contracts with partners who will be carrying out the initiatives; 
  • Pushing out data that describes needs and assets across the region;
  • Analyze workforce (current and future needs), value based payment and population health management strategies;
  • Explore opportunities with partners to support regional work beyond the Medicaid Transformation Project (recognizing that the current Transformation funds will only carry us so far).

That is the promise of the ACH – to be a regional table that coordinates work across partner organizations, optimizes funding to partners who do the work of transforming Medicaid; solicit and incorporate insights and perspectives from community members to guide the work, and find the ‘next’ opportunity to work together for positive change. Thank you for being on this journey with us, and we wish you all a healthy and happy new year!