Senate Budget: Hospital Safety Net Assessment Program Problematic; Concerns About Mental Health Fund

The Washington State Senate released its budget proposal today. One of the biggest pieces of news out of the Senate budget is the treatment of Hospital Safety Net Assessment funds.   The assessment is levied on hospitals and used to leverage federal dollars to help pay for services provided to Medicaid patients. The program was... Read More >>

House Budget Overview and Top WSHA Priorities: Big Improvements on Mental Health and No Clinic Cuts

The state House of Representatives released its proposed operating budget today, with a lot of good news for health care. This is one of the best budgets we have ever seen for mental health funding, and a good one for health care overall. There are new investments in the system, especially in work force and... Read More >>

Telemedicine

Two big telemedicine bills have hearings this week. Our primary focus continues to be on SB 5175, which requires commercial and Medicaid health plans to reimburse providers for health care services delivered through audio and video technology if the plans would cover the same service delivered face-to-face. Read the Issue Brief here. This bill passed... Read More >>

Focus: Mental Health and Substance Abuse Legislation

Mental health is a top policy and budget priority for WSHA this year, and for legislators as well. The Supreme Court case on psychiatric boarding helped bring the issue to the forefront, and a record number of bills on the subject have been introduced. However, funding all the new policy bills is a big challenge:... Read More >>

Bill Focus: SB 5593 Suspect and Inmate Guarding

Overview of the Week The caucus and floor action continues as we approach this week’s cutoff for bills to be voted on and passed by their house of origin. Since most of the work is being done on the floor, no WSHA members testified at hearings last week, and we are not scheduled to testify... Read More >>

Week in Review

Bills that impact the state budget had another major cutoff last week, when they were supposed to have been voted on by their fiscal committees. By March 11, bills must be voted on and passed by their house of origin. Although the hearing schedule is significantly lighter when compared to the early weeks of the... Read More >>

Overview

It was an exciting week leading up to Friday’s cutoff for bills to be voted out of their committee. (Cutoff calendar is here) To make it easy, we’ve listed all of the major bills we’ve been tracking—the first table is the bills that have been passed out of committee, and the second table is the... Read More >>

HB 1870: Prohibiting Certificate of Need for Partnerships Among Washington State Hospitals

Representatives Joe Schmick and Eileen Cody have introduced a bill that would prohibit the Department of Health from giving a Certificate of Need (CN) for a purchase, sale, or lease of a hospital to any entity that already owns a hospital in Washington State. Under the current CN law, this would only apply to true... Read More >>

Wellness Trust – HB 1946

HB 1946, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins, would tax hospitals at 6 percent of revenue to fund a “Wellness Trust.” The trust would be used to fund local public health departments and mental health services. This tax would be levied on revenue less charity care and community benefit spending. WSHA is strongly opposed to a... Read More >>

Key Boarding Bills Being Heard

On Friday, two bills were added to the Senate schedule related to last year’s state Supreme Court decision to end the practice of psychiatric boarding.   We support SB 5645, a simple bill to create a mechanism for the state to track cases when people who meet detention criteria, but for whom no appropriate bed... Read More >>

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