Liability protection bill passes the Senate

February 23, 2021

Monday, Feb. 22 marked the second cutoff of session, when all bills must have passed through fiscal committees. The next cutoff is Tuesday, March 9, when all bills must pass through their house of origin to continue advancing. Bills still alive will then advance through the opposite chamber.

SSB 5271: Providing liability protections for health care providers and facilities that recognizes the evolving standards of care during COVID-19

WSHA strongly supports SB 5271, which provides legal protections for health care providers and facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. We are pleased to report the bill has passed the Senate with unanimous support and now advances to the House. WSHA worked hard to negotiate this bill in advance of the legislative session given hospitals’ central role caring for COVID patients during this pandemic. Read more about SSB 5271 from the Feb. 8 Inside Olympia. (Alicia Eyler)

SHB 1095: B&O tax exemption for COVID-19 emergency grants

WSHA strongly supports SHB 1095, which exempts emergency-related state or federal grants from business and occupation (B&O) tax as long as the grants are spent on emergency expenditures consistent with the grant’s terms. WSHA provided input to the Department of Revenue (DOR) to ensure the exemption also applies to federal and state grants provided through authorized third-party organizations. The bill also contains a provision that exempts grantees from the sales and use tax on grants received, though purchases using grant funds will still be subject to sales and use tax. Given that the sales tax rate is higher than the B&O tax rate, this provision provides significant benefit in addition to the B&O exemption.

The bill, which was drafted by the DOR, has passed both chambers of the Legislature and has been delivered to the governor for his signature. This legislation will be helpful for COVID relief, as it will allow funding to be more impactful since much of it will not be subject to tax. Read more from WSHA’s issue brief. (Andrew Busz)

Bills still alive after cutoff

Bills WSHA supports

SHB 1074 Concerning overdose and suicide fatality reviews.
SHB 1095 Concerning the taxation of governmental financial assistance programs addressing the impacts of conditions giving rise to a gubernatorial or presidential emergency proclamation (exempting federal, state, and local COVID grants from B&O tax). WSHA provided significant input on this bill prior to session.
HB 1096 Concerning nonmedicare plans offered through the Washington State health insurance pool.
ESHB 1120 Concerning state of emergency operations impacting long-term services and supports.
SHB 1141 Increasing access to the death with dignity act.
SHB 1196 Concerning audio-only telemedicine. WSHA strongly support this version of the bill.
HB 1316 Concerning the hospital safety net assessment.
HB 1325 Implementing policies related to children and youth behavioral health.
SHB 1354 Concerning youth suicide review teams
HB 1367 Revising 2019-2021 fiscal biennium appropriations of state and federal funding for previously implemented Medicaid rates and other Medicaid expenditures in the developmental disabilities and long-term care programs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
ESHB 1368 Responding to the COVID-19 pandemic through state actions supported by federal funding.
HB 1378 Concerning the supervision of medical assistants.
SHB 1445 Concerning the definition of compounding for purposes of the practice of pharmacy.
2SHB 1504 Modifying the workforce education investment act.
2SSB 5062 Concerning the management, oversight, and use of data.
2SSB 5071 Creating transition teams to assist specified persons under civil commitment.
SSB 5073 Concerning involuntary treatment. Concerning involuntary treatment.
SSB 5074 Relating to establishing safe station pilot programs for persons in need of substance use disorder treatment.
SSB 5178 Establishing automatic waivers of select state health care laws to enable timely response by the health care system during a governor-declared statewide state of emergency.
SSB 5179 Concerning blood donation.
SSB 5185 Concerning capacity to provide informed consent for health care decisions.
SSB 5236 Extending certificate of need exemptions for psychiatric beds.
SSB 5271 Amending the necessary elements of proof of injury during the state of emergency declared due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
SSB 5294 Concerning the creation of statewide epidemic preparedness and response guidelines for long-term care facilities.
2SSB 5313 Concerning health insurance discrimination.
SSB 5325 Concerning telemedicine. This version has been modified to apply to community behavioral health providers.
SSB 5370 Updating mental health advance directive laws.
2SSB 5420 Concerning data reporting requirements for hospitals.
SSB 5423 Concerning telemedicine consultations.

Bills WSHA opposes or with which it has concerns

2SHB 1073 Expanding coverage of the paid family and medical leave program.
2SHB 1076 Allowing whistleblowers to bring actions on behalf of the state for violations of workplace protections.
SHB 1097 Increasing worker protections.
SHB 1124 Concerning nurse delegation of glucose monitoring, glucose testing, and insulin injections.
2SHB 1160 Concerning health provider contracts.
2SHB 1272 Concerning health system transparency.
2SHB 1477 Implementing the national 988 system to enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services. WSHA has provided extensive comments on this bill to ensure the concepts match the reality of the behavioral health system. Additionally, we have been advocating for more resources for the system.
SSB 5025 Concerning the consumer protection improvement act.
SSB 5064 Concerning qualifications for unemployment insurance when an individual voluntarily leaves work.
SSB 5097 Expanding of the paid family and medical leave program.
SSB 5115 Establishing health emergency labor standards.
SSB 5140 Protecting pregnancy and miscarriage-related patient care.
2SSB 5155 Concerning prejudgment interest.
SSB 5190 Providing health care workers with presumptive benefits during a public health emergency.
2SSB 5195 Relating to prescribing opioid overdose reversal medication.
2SSB 5377 Increasing affordability of standardized plans on the individual market (public option)
SSB 5412 Facilitating supportive relationships with family and significant individuals within the behavioral health system.

Bills WSHA has gotten amended to neutral or did not take a position on

2SHB 1086 Creating the state office of behavioral health consumer advocacy. WSHA worked to ensure this bill did not create a duplicate regulatory process for hospitals providing behavioral health care.
SHB 1109 Concerning victims of sexual assault.
2SHB 1148 Protecting patients in acute care hospitals.
2SHB 1152 Supporting measures to create comprehensive public health districts.
2SHB 1161 Modifying the requirements for drug take-back programs.
SHB 1197 Concerning health care decisions made by a designated person.
SHB 1314 Concerning veteran diversion from involuntary commitment. WSHA worked to ensure efforts to connect people to VA services did not interfere with the involuntary treatment process.
SSB 5025 Concerning the consumer protection improvement act.
SSB 5034 Concerning nonprofit corporations.
SSB 5254 Concerning the use of protective devices and equipment during a public health emergency. WSHA worked to ensure this bill reflected hospital concerns for infection control.

WSHA weighing in: Feb. 22-26

WSHA is weighing in on the following bills this week:

Monday, Feb. 22

  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 5371: Funding public health services and health equity initiatives through a statewide sweetened beverage tax.


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