WSHA’s 2022 Legislative Summary is now available digitally on the WSHA website, and physical copies will be mailed to hospital and health systems next week.
The annual publication highlights the association’s work during the state legislative session, including policy and budget priorities and a bill-by-bill breakdown of the results. We are pleased to report overwhelmingly positive results for hospitals and health care from this 60-day “short” session.
Short sessions typically do not address major or controversial changes to state law. This year was an exception, with nursing unions and their partners in the Legislature attempting to pass strict hospital staffing mandates. While the bill, HB 1868, passed the House, it died in the Senate Ways & Means Committee. This was a massive victory for health care in Washington State, as the legislation would have resulted in significant bed closures. We could not have achieved this success without members’ advocacy efforts. Thousands signed in opposed to the bill, contacted their lawmakers and testified.
In other positive news, the Legislature funded all of WSHA’s budget priorities. This included nearly $50 million for health care workforce development, creating more slots in nursing programs, investing in simulation training equipment, providing grants to nurses who supervise students, offering loan repayment for nurse educators and expediting the nurse licensing process. The Legislature also allocated nearly $550 million to address barriers to hospital discharge and ensure that patients who are ready to leave the hospital have an appropriate place to receive long-term services during the pandemic and beyond.
Looking ahead, the Government Affairs team’s focus shifts to work empowering members in building legislative relationships, advocating during agency rulemaking and new law implementation, and planning for the next legislative session. We want to offer our sincerest thanks to our members who testified before lawmakers, participated in WSHA Advocacy Week and analyzed the impact of bills on hospital operations. Your effort is instrumental to our legislative successes!