Friday, Feb. 7, marked the cutoff for bills to pass out of their policy committees of origin, while Tuesday, Feb. 11, marked the cutoff for bills to advance from fiscal committees (the House Committee on Appropriations and the Senate Committee on Ways & Means). We are pleased to announce several of our high-priority bills are in good shape as we advance to the next phase of this year’s legislative session. There are other bills of concern that are still alive.
Below is the status of some of WSHA’s top-priority bills that finance staff may be most interested in tracking. For a more comprehensive listing, see our recent Inside Olympia.
- SB 6275: Increasing patient access rights to timely and appropriate post-acute care
WSHA strongly supports SB 6275 (and companion HB 2597) to expedite hospital discharge for Medicaid patients in need of post-acute care. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. SB 6275 has passed the Senate Committee on Ways & Means and is now awaiting further consideration by the Senate. Read more from the Jan. 27 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)
- SB 6404: Recommending prior authorization standards and appropriate use criteria in patient care
WSHA strongly supports SB 6404, which would help create uniform recommendations for when prior authorization is used. The bill has been modified since its initial introduction. It would require carriers to provide the Office of the Insurance Commissioner with information regarding the number and approval rates of prior authorizations. It would also create a prior authorization workgroup to annually select and review services requiring prior authorization and make recommendations to create more consistency for patients. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. SB 6404 passed out of Senate Health and Long Term Care last week and has since passed out of Senate Ways and Means. It now awaits further consideration by the Senate. (Andrew Busz)
- SB 6358: Requiring Medicaid managed care organizations to provide reimbursement details of health care services provided by substitute providers
WSHA strongly supports SB 6358, which would require Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to follow Medicare policy in how to substitute providers are reimbursed when they fill in at a facility for longer than 60 days. It would also expand the instances in which substitute providers could be used. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. This bill passed the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care last week and now awaits further consideration by the Senate. Read more from the Jan. 27 Inside Olympia. (Lauren McDonald)
- HB 2621 / SB 6359: Creating regulation exemptions for rural health clinics providing services in a designated home health shortage area
WSHA strongly supports HB 2621/SB 6359, which would allow Rural Health Clinics in shortage areas to offer a limited scope of services — including home nursing visits — to homebound patients, increasing access to critical services in underserved communities. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. Both bills have passed their respective budget committees and await full chamber consideration. Read more from the Jan. 27 Inside Olympia. (Jacqueline Barton True)
- Senate Bill 6492: Addressing workforce education investment funding through business and occupation tax reform
WSHA supported SB 6492. This legislation replaces HB 2158, which passed the legislature last year. The legislature had to quickly replace HB 2158 due to workability issues. SB 6492 has passed in both the Senate and the House and has been signed by Governor Inslee. WSHA worked hard and was successful in ensuring the exemption from the surcharge for hospitals that were in HB 2158 was maintained in the replacement bill. SB 6492 specifies that hospitals will continue to pay their existing B&O tax rate, rather than a higher rate. SB 6492 also preserves the standard B&O tax rates for unaffiliated smaller entities with taxable income less than $1 million. (Andrew Busz)
- HB 2036: Health system transparency
WSHA opposes HB 2036, which institutes burdensome and excessive reporting requirements on hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities. HB 2036 passed the House Committee on Appropriations and now awaits further consideration by the House. Read more from the Jan. 13 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)
- HB 2457: Establishing a cost transparency board
WSHA has concerns with HB 2457, which would establish a cost transparency board to analyze the total health care expenditures in Washington, identify trends in health care cost growth and establish a health care growth benchmark. HB 2457 has passed the House Committee on Appropriations and awaits further consideration by the House. Read more from the Jan. 20 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)