Gov. Inslee released his proposed $70 billion budget for the 2023-25 biennium on Dec. 14. The budget includes substantial investments in WSHA priority areas, especially difficult-to-discharge patients ($302 million in state funds, $506.5 million total) and behavioral health ($302.7 million in state funds, $506.5 million total). It also includes investments in the health care workforce ($12.6 million in state funds, $14.9 million total).
Unfortunately, the budget does not include increased Medicaid payments to hospitals through the Safety Net Assessment Program. You can read more details about the governor’s budget in Inside Olympia.
We are pleased to see these investments in the budget, which largely focuses on housing and homelessness, public safety, behavioral health, climate change, salmon, reproductive rights and the state agency workforce. The release of the governor’s budget each December signals the nearing of the state legislative session, which begins Jan. 9, 2023, and must adjourn by April 24, 2023.
In addition to the budget priorities of the Hospital Safety Net Assessment and funding for difficult-to-discharge patients, WSHA’s top policy priorities in 2023 focus on hospital workforce, difficult-to-discharge policy changes, creation of 23-hour behavioral health crisis centers, and protections for hospitals that need to merge or affiliate. We will detail our full legislative agenda during our members-only Legislative Preview webcast from 12-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 11, which you can register for here.
We look forward to working with you on these important issues after the New Year. I wish you all a happy and safe holiday season!
WSHA Senior VP of Government Affairs