Important deadlines approaching for hospital staffing law

April 2, 2024

Three months into the implementation of RCW 70.41.420 (2023), hospital staffing committees (HSC) across the state are hard at work. With just three more months to go until the next big deadline, here is a look at some important upcoming dates to mark on your calendars.

By July 1, 2024:

  1. Proposed hospital staffing plans are due to hospital CEOs. The HSC must approve a staffing plan proposal by majority vote prior to submitting it to the CEO. The Department of Health (DOH) is expected to publish the uniform staffing plan form with instructions for filling out the form in early April to assist HSCs in this process.
  2. HSC must file a charter with DOH. WSHA has worked collaboratively with the three major unions representing nursing staff (WSNA, SEIU1199NW and UFCW3000) on a charter template to assist committees in developing charters unique to each committee that are compliant with the staffing law.
  3. Hospitals must begin tracking compliance with uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for all employees involved in direct patient care or clinical services who are paid hourly or covered by a collective bargaining agreement. The Department of Labor and Industries (L&I) is finalizing a compliance reporting form and other guidance documents.
  4. Urban/System hospitals must submit the first quarterly meal and rest break compliance report to L&I October 30, 2024.
  5. Rural/Critical Access hospitals are not required to report meal and rest break compliance until October 30, 2026.

Mark your calendars for these future deadlines:

  • October 1, 2024:All hospitals must adopt written policies and procedures regarding compliance with the hospital staffing plan, including intent to staff according to the staffing plan and the process the hospital will follow when there is a variation from the staffing plan.
  • January 1, 2025: Final approved hospital staffing plan must be submitted to DOH using the uniform staffing plan form.

A detailed timeline of key dates and additional resources can be found at the Working Together for Patient Care website.

We are here to help throughout the process as you work to implement the law. If you have any questions about this effort, please contact WSHA Director Safety & Quality Workforce Gena Ahlawat at (Gena Ahlawat)


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