A successful year, but there’s more to do

December 13, 2023

This year was one of great successes, and our progress toward improving health care in our state is largely thanks to you: our hospital members. In the state legislative session, we successfully advocated for the Safety Net Assessment Program, bringing much-needed Medicaid payment increases. We fought off another attempt to instill nurse-to-patient ratios, which would have had devastating effects on patient care. We successfully advocated for programs that support long-term care providers so patients can more readily discharge from the hospital on time, and programs that support youth mental health.

WSHA also partnered to launch TeamBirth, using evidence-based best practices to improve the birthing experience. This fall, we surveyed member hospitals to produce a report on hospital staffing innovations, offering insight to the new approaches hospitals are using to address staffing challenges. In the spring, we returned to Campbell’s Resort in Chelan for the first time since 2019 for the Rural Hospital Leadership Conference, which was a triumph.

Although we’ve accomplished many of our goals, hospital finances are still poor. In the first six months of the year, our members reported $750 million in operational losses. This year wasn’t as bad as 2022, but the situation is still unsustainable. Hospitals continue to face the prospect of shuttering specialty services, potentially reducing access to critical care across the state — particularly in our most vulnerable rural communities.

Concern continues to rise about health care spending. Health care is expensive and complex, and we continue to counter harmful narratives and proposed regulations that unfairly target hospitals and ignore other factors, such as insurance carriers and government underpayment. The 2024 legislative session will include a challenge to hospitals and health systems’ ability to merge and affiliate to maintain access to care in their communities. We will need your help to tell lawmakers how this regulation would make it more difficult for your communities to get the care they need.

The next year is sure to include many more achievements to celebrate and new challenges to address, and we will face both together as a unified membership. It has been a pleasure serving you this year, and I look forward to continue serving you in the new year.


Cassie Sauer
WSHA President & CEO




Contact Us

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

Map / Directions

206.281.7211 phone
206.283.6122 fax


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