2024 legislative session concludes

March 7, 2024

The 2024 state legislative session concludes today, March 7. As the second year in the biennium, this was a “short,” 60-day session, but it was packed with key issues for hospitals and health care. We are particularly excited about two key outcomes. The first is that SB 5940 passed, allowing EMT-basic, EMT-advanced and paramedics to work in hospitals through a new medical assistant credential using their existing training and education.

Second, we are pleased to report that SB 5241 – which would have placed strict limits on hospitals’ abilities to merge and affiliate, often to keep their doors open – did not pass. While we agree with the intent of the bill – to maintain access to key services – the bill as written did not achieve that goal and could have led to hospital closures in the most vulnerable communities. We could not have had these successes without our members’ advocacy efforts. Read more in the March 4 Inside Olympia, which includes full list of results from this session’s bills.

The Legislature released its final supplemental budget March 6. This year we advocated for complex discharge funding; support for rural labor and delivery sustainability; funding to support reproductive care access in public hospital districts; funding for Medicaid coverage for partial hospitalization/intensive outpatient mental health treatment programs for adults; and increasing Medicaid payments for professional services.

We are pleased the budget funds the Washington Reproductive Access Alliance, a new residential treatment facility for children/youth with developmental disabilities and complex behaviors, and expanded funding for distressed hospital grants, which includes funding for hospitals at risk of reducing labor and delivery services. Read more about the final budget in the March 6 Inside Olympia.

We are disappointed the budget did not include funding for long-term care slots for complex discharge patients who are undocumented, Medicaid coverage of partial hospitalization/intensive outpatient treatment programs for adults or Medicaid payment increases for specialty providers.

We will breakdown the results in greater detail in our members-only Legislative Summary webcast from 12-1 p.m. Tuesday, March 19, (register here), and in our Legislative Summary report, which we will send to members and post on our website later this spring.

Our Government Affairs team now turns its attention to new law implementation and preparing for 2025.


Chelene Whiteaker
WSHA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs


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Washington State Hospital Association
999 Third Avenue
Suite 1400
Seattle, WA 98104

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206.281.7211 phone
206.283.6122 fax


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