Inside Olympia: Advocacy week is here, nurse staffing companion bill bumped back, guardianship bill introduced

January 25, 2022

This week is WSHA’s Advocacy Week! Thank you to everyone who has signed up to participate to meet with legislators to advocate for our health care community and tell the hospital story. We know you all are so busy given the pandemic, but please do your best to prioritize these meetings with your legislators.

We are pleased to report that more than 650 health care advocates signed in against HB 1868 last week, making their voices heard against a bill that would impose rigid staffing minimums and impose other regulations hampering hospital staffing. We would like to thank our hospital members who took part in this effort and especially those who testified at the public hearing. The Senate companion to this bill, SB 5751, will come before the Senate Committee on Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs next week. SB 5751 was originally scheduled for a hearing Monday, Jan. 24, but was removed from the schedule.

The first cutoff of session is Thursday, Feb. 3, when most bills will need to pass out of their committees of origins (except those in fiscal committees).

HB 2083: Addressing consent to long-term care placement and services

Across the state patients are stuck in hospitals awaiting the appointment of a guardian to move to long-term care. WSHA is pleased that HB 2083 has been introduced, which allows close friends and family members to consent to placement in long-term care settings for patients who lack capacity. The bill also amends parts of state law on guardianship to allow quicker process for long-term care placement. As a result of a change of interpretation by the state, a family member can no longer agree to long-term care for a patient who lacks capacity. If the patient didn’t appoint a decision maker in a power of attorney document, the only option is a court-appointed guardian. The guardianship process is expensive, time-consuming and highly restrictive. Since the change in interpretation in state law, hospitals have seen double or triple the number of patients waiting to receive a guardian. Hospitals are full due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the courts are delayed, and it is paramount that patients who no longer need acute care are able to transfer to more appropriate care settings. Read more from WSHA’s issue brief. HB 2083 is scheduled for hearing at 10 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 26 in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. (Zosia Stanley)

WSHA Weighing In: Jan. 24-28

WSHA is weighing in on the following bills this week:

Monday, Jan. 24

  • House College and Workforce Development:
    • HB 2007: Establishing a nurse educator loan repayment program under the Washington health corps. (Ashlen Strong)
  • House Health Care & Wellness
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 5821: Evaluating the state’s cardiac and stroke emergency response system. (Jacqueline Barton True)
    • SB 5892: Establishing pilot projects for utilizing high school student nursing assistant-certified programs to address the nursing workforce shortage and promote nursing careers in rural hospitals. (Jacqueline Barton True)
    •  SB 5900: Creating a provisional paramedic or emergency medical technician license. (Hearing is on the Proposed Substitute.) (Cara Helmer)

Tuesday, Jan. 25

  • House Civil Rights & Judiciary
    • HB 1850: Protecting and enforcing the foundational data privacy rights of Washingtonians. (Cara Helmer)

Wednesday, Jan. 26

  • House Civil Rights & Judiciary
    • HB 2083: Addressing consent to long-term care placement and services. (See article above) (Zosia Stanley)

Thursday, Jan. 27

  • House Health Care & Wellness
    • HB 1893: Allowing emergency medical technicians to provide medical evaluation, testing, and vaccines outside of an emergency in response to a public health agency request. (Cara Helmer)
    • HB 1959: Concerning managed health care system rate review. (Andrew Busz)
  • Senate Labor, Commerce & Tribal Affairs
    • SB 5911: Providing hazard pay retention bonuses to certain health care employees. (Ashlen Strong)

Friday, Jan. 28

  • Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 5829: Concerning appropriations for behavioral health. (Andrew Busz)
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 5790: Strengthening critical community support services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. (Zosia Stanley)
    • SB 5794: Concerning continuity of coverage for prescription drugs prescribed for the treatment of behavioral health conditions. (Andrew Busz)

Thank you for testifying!

Thank you to everyone who has testified in support of WSHA’s legislative efforts:

  • Jennifer Culbertson, Chief Nursing Officer, Swedish Edmonds
  • Katy Erickson, Nurse Manager, MultiCare
  • Jeannie Eylar, Chief Clinical Officer, Pullman Regional Hospital
  • Mike Martinoli, Chief Nursing Officer, Ferry County Memorial Hospital
  • Lisa Morten, Director, Human Resources, Overlake Medical Center
  • Dr. Michael Myint, Infectious Disease Physician and Epidemiologist, MultiCare
  • Brenda Sharky, Chief Nursing Officer, Ocean Beach Hospital
  • Susan Stacey, Chief Executive, Providence Inland Northwest Washington
  • Melissa Strong, Chief Nursing Officer, Mason General Hospital
  • Jill Toombs, President, Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology Puget Sound Chapter


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