Seventy-five percent of opioid misuse starts by someone taking a pain medication that was not prescribed to them. On Saturday, April 24, you can join the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day and return your unused medications to a collection center near you.

You are in control of your medications

When you are prescribed an opioid for pain, you may not always finish the medication. Keeping the medication just in case you need it again may seem harmless but can cause a variety of problems.

National Drug Take Back Day is April 24, 2021.

What harm can my unused meds cause?

Not disposing of leftover opioid medication affects the safety of our kids, families, and our environment in the following ways:


A political refugee from Vietnam, Dr. DoQuyen Huynh, who goes by “Quyen,” came to Seattle at age 11 with her parents and four siblings.

She found herself acting as the family’s translator, and helping her parents navigate a complex and unfamiliar public health care system at a time when resources for interpreters were limited, and social determinants of health were not a focus in health care delivery. This childhood experience defined her life’s work to help immigrant and minority groups access culturally sensitive health care.

Dr. DoQuyen Huynh is the new health equity manager for the Washington State Health Care Authority.

Quyen is a family nurse practitioner and spent a decade as a leader at a…


March 23 marks the 11-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) being signed into law. Before the ACA, thousands of low-income adults in Washington had few options for health care coverage. With the provision in the ACA that allowed states to expand Medicaid to more eligible adults, more than 650,000 additional individuals have enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) to get essential health care services.

Under the ACA, health plans must cover essential health benefits such as emergency services, doctor visits, prescription drugs, maternity and newborn care, lab services, preventive care, mental health, substance use disorder treatment services, and…


After many years of living with untreated mental health conditions, Tiffany developed a substance use disorder as a means of coping with pain. She lost custody of her children, leading her further into struggles with mental health and substance use. Tiffany experienced homelessness and a strong feeling of no way out.

Tiffany’s Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage was there for her when she was ready to seek help.

Tiffany’s Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) coverage was there for her when she was ready to seek help. Apple Health allowed her to work on her mental health while receiving substance use disorder treatment services through an outpatient program. …


Terry Britt helps individuals find and maintain stable housing through the Housing and Recovery Through Peer Services (HARPS) program. Terry is resourceful, tenacious, and great at his job as a peer counselor. He also has a legal history. In 2018 Terry was living in a halfway house, recovering from cancer, and earning his peer counseling certification. After getting certified, Terry faced stigma for his mental health issues and for having served time in prison. Although many behavioral health agencies reached out to Terry with available peer positions, his background would often prevent him from getting hired.

Terry Britt helps individuals find and maintain stable housing through the Housing and Recovery Through Peer Services (HARPS) program.

Society stigmatizes individuals with…


Happy International Women’s Day! Celebrated on March 8, International Women’s Day lifts up the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women worldwide and calls for action to speed up gender equality.

This year’s theme is “Choose to Challenge.” One specific mission this year is “assist women to be in a position of power to make informed decisions about their health.” This is something that many of us at the Washington State Health Care Authority get to do through our work every day.

Many areas in women’s health have seen steady gains and improvements over the years. However, alcohol use…


Every year basketball fans are excited to celebrate the collegiate basketball tournament series known as March Madness. During this time, the gambling public will spend approximately $10 billion wagering on the outcomes of the games played. In response to this, March was selected as Problem Gambling Awareness Month (PGAM).

What is gambling?

Gambling is commonly defined as risking something of value, usually money, on the outcome of an event decided at least partially by chance. Many adults who gamble will never have a problem, however, 2–4 percent of adults who gamble are at risk for developing a gambling disorder.

If your gambling behavior…


A photo of a broze statue of a girl holding a water lily and wearing a mask.
A photo of a broze statue of a girl holding a water lily and wearing a mask.
‘Lily’, the water fountain in front of the HCA building, wearing a mask and social distancing. The building has been nearly empty since March 2020.

We are emerging from one of the most unusual years in our lifetime. It was a difficult year for many of us. We thank our employees for their resiliency and continuing to support those we serve even as we work remotely. We also are grateful for our partners and sister agencies, and community health organizations that stepped forward to help those who need it most.

Here’s a look back at just some of what the Health Care Authority accomplished in 2020.

Apple Health clients exceed 2 million

The work we do impacts real people every day. We topped 2 million…


Nicole and her wife were without health insurance when they got married. Young and healthy, they didn’t realize how quickly things could change. Nicole’s wife started having chronic stomach pains that would leave her ill for days. She had to postpone going to the doctor because they couldn’t afford a visit without health insurance.

Brunette woman and blond woman hugging.
Brunette woman and blond woman hugging.
“Through it all, Apple Health and our local hospital made it less scary and complicated so I could concentrate on my wife during one of the scariest times in our marriage,” said Nicole.

When open enrollment arrived, Nicole applied for health coverage for her family through Washington Healthplanfinder and enrolled in Washington Apple Health (Medicaid). At the time, they didn’t know you can apply for Apple Health coverage year-round. That very night, Nicole took her wife to urgent care…


Expecting their second child, Angela and her family were living in an area with limited access to medical care. Not only was her daughter behind on immunizations, but Angela felt their options to access health care were limited. Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, they had been planning a move to Washington State, which got fast-tracked when the pandemic hit.

Before arriving in Washington, their immediate concern was securing health insurance. Their current health coverage had a high deductible and copays, making it too expensive for their budget. Angela called Washington Apple Health (Medicaid) and learned her entire family met the…

Washington State Health Care Authority

HCA is committed to whole-person care, purchasing health care for 2.5 million+ Washingtonians through Apple Health (Medicaid), PEBB, SEBB & COFA programs.

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