Inside Olympia: Bills that have passed their chamber of origin

March 14, 2019

This Inside Olympia reports on many of the bills WSHA is working on that have passed their chamber of origin – a key first step toward being enacted into law. House bills (HB) have passed the House; Senate bills (SB) have passed the Senate.

The bills will now move to the opposite chamber — House to Senate, and vice versa — where the committee hearing process starts over again. The next major cutoff is Wednesday, April 3, when bills must be referred to policy committees in the opposite chamber.

Bills WSHA Supports

SSB 5734: Concerning the hospital safety net assessment

The Hospital Safety Net Assessment program is key to protecting our state’s most vulnerable hospitals by augmenting Medicaid payments. WSHA strongly supports extending the program. Besides providing funding to hospitals for Medicaid services, the program provides significant revenue to the state’s operating budget. SSB 5734 is the version of the bill that WSHA supports. Read more from the March 4 Inside Olympia. (Andrew Busz)

EHB 1175: Concerning health care decision making for patients who lack capacity

WSHA supports EHB1175, which expands who can be a surrogate decision maker for a patient who lacks capacity. The bill also adds options for executing advance directives. EHB 1175 has passed the House and is scheduled for executive session March 14 in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. Read more in the Jan. 21 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)

2SHB 1394: Exempting psychiatric beds from Certificate of Need

WSHA strongly supports 2SHB 1394 to continue the Certificate of Need (CN) exemption for psychiatric beds. CN has been identified as a challenge to increasing inpatient psychiatric services, and WSHA supports more access to these services. Read more from the Jan. 28 Inside Olympia. (Shirley Prasad)

2SHB 1166: Omnibus bill supporting sexual assault survivors

WSHA supports 2SHB 1166, which is an omnibus bill that addresses issues related to sexual assault. Among other important things, the bill places a one-year moratorium on the destruction of unreported sexual assault kits (kits collected from a survivor who has not made a police report) and requires the Best Practices Taskforce to develop policies and recommendations on the storage, retention and destruction of unreported sexual assault kits. The bill also creates specific rights for sexual assault survivors. Read our issue brief. (Zosia Stanley)

SSB 5380: Opioid use disorder treatment and prevention

The governor’s omnibus opioid bill seeks to expand treatment for people with opioid use disorder. WSHA supports the current version, which would make improvements to state law that better enable patients to access treatment and overdose-reversal medications. The bill would also create a work group to examine how the state can improve integration between electronic health record platforms and the state’s prescription drug monitoring program.  (Lauren McDonald)

SHB 1931: Workplace violence prevention

WSHA and the Washington State Nurses Association have worked collaboratively on legislation, SHB 1931, to help hospitals prevent workplace violence. The legislation modifies current law requiring workplace violence prevention plans. It adds a requirement for an annual review of incidents and development and implementation of a plan every three years. The bill would also require hospitals to provide violence prevention training to all employees, including contracted security personnel, and specifically allows the training to be adjusted to meet the needs of the specific employee. (Lauren McDonald)


  • SSB 5385: Telemedicine payment parity
    WSHA supports SSB 5385, which requires health plans to pay the same rate for health care services provided through telemedicine as an in-person service. After responding to member concerns, WSHA helped to amend the bill to allow hospitals, health systems, provider groups of 11 or more, and telemedicine companies to negotiate and agree to reimbursement rates for telemedicine services that may be different from reimbursement rates for in-person services. The bill also removes the requirement that if a service is provided through store-and-forward technology, there must be an associated office visit with the referring provider. (Shirley Prasad)
  • SSB 5386: Telemedicine training standards
    WSHA supports SSB 5386, which permits a health care professional who provides telemedicine services to complete a telemedicine training, which will be made available by the Telemedicine Collaborative. WSHA successfully helped to have this training be optional rather than mandatory. (Shirley Prasad)
  • SB 5387: Telemedicine credentialing
    WSHA supports SB 5387, which permits an originating site hospital to rely on a distant site hospital’s decision to grant credentials when granting or renewing credentials of any physician providing telemedicine or store-and-forward services. (Shirley Prasad)

E2SHB 1874: Parent-initiated treatment

WSHA supports E2SHB 1874, which amends laws relating to adolescent behavioral health. WSHA worked to ensure changes to the law align with federal law. This bill seeks to improve adolescents’ access to mental health and substance use disorder treatment by: authorizing parents to obtain evaluation and treatment for their adolescent in inpatient and outpatient settings, without the adolescent’s consent; expanding the definition of parent; and clarifying when providers may disclose treatment information and records to parents. WSHA continues to work on technical amendments to perfect the bill. (Jaclyn Greenberg)

SHB 1406: Encouraging investments in affordable and supportive housing

WSHA supports SHB 1406, which would authorize counties and cities to choose to implement a local sales tax to fund affordable or supportive housing. The proceeds may be used to increase the amount of affordable housing or rental assistance for small cities and counties. The bill passed the House and is referred to the Senate Committee on Housing Stability & Affordability. (Shirley Prasad)

Bills WSHA Opposes or Remains Concerned About

SSHB 1155: Nurse staffing and nurse fatigue legislation

SSHB 1155, mandating uninterrupted meal and rest breaks and restricting overtime and on-call, passed the House and is already moving in the Senate. WSHA is very concerned about the impacts this bill would have on patient care. A public hearing is scheduled for March 14 in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce. SSB 5344, which WSHA strongly supported, did not move out of the Senate, and died Wednesday, March 13. (Lauren McDonald)

SSB 5163: Wrongful death

WSHA opposes SSB 5163, which would broadly expand who may sue when a loved one dies because of the act of another (“wrongful death”) and what types of damages they may recover. Specifically, the bill removes the requirement that parents or siblings be financially dependent on the deceased in order to bring suit. This, mixed with the bill’s other proposed changes and Washington State’s existing joint and several liability law, would dramatically increase hospitals’ liability exposure—regardless of their proportionate share of the fault. Read more in the Jan. 21 Inside Olympia. (Jaclyn Greenberg)

2SHB 1065: Balance billing

WSHA remains concerned with HB 1065, though the bill has improved. The bill prohibits balance billing to protect patients from large, surprise bills and establishes an arbitration process to ensure fair compensation for providers. WSHA still has some concerns with some provisions of the bill, such as the use of the Medicare payment rate as an arbitration criterion for determining a commercially reasonable payment rate. Read our issue brief. (Andrew Busz)

Public Option Health Plans: E2SHB 1523 and ESSB 5526 pass

E2SHB 1523 would allow Washingtonians the option to purchase lower-costing health insurance coverage on the Health Benefit Exchange (the individual market). In this bill, a key driver of keeping the cost of these plans down is by requiring hospital and provider rates not be more than Medicare rates. While WSHA supports expanding access to health care coverage, it does not support efforts where hospital and provider rates are set at Medicare levels.

ESSB 5526 in the Senate, unlike the House bill, removes any reference to hospital and provider rates being set at Medicare rates in order to reduce the cost of premiums. WSHA supports this version of the bill. This bill calls for the Health Care Authority to engage in procurement negotiations with carriers to offer a public option health plan. The focus is to offer at least one public option health plan in every county in the state, with the goal of negotiating premiums below the 2019 average premiums for qualified health plans in the same metal tier. (Shirley Prasad)

Bills WSHA is Neutral On

SHB 1607: Mergers and affiliations

WSHA opposed HB 1607 as originally proposed. The bill would have required health care entities to provide a substantial amount of information as part of pre-transaction notice to the state attorney general for an array of business deals. Following negotiations with the sponsor and proponents to limit the scope of the bill, WSHA is neutral on the current version, SHB 1607. The bill passed out of the House and has been referred to the Senate Law & Justice Committee. (Zosia Stanley)

SHB 1531: Concerning medical debt

WSHA opposed HB 1531 as originally drafted because it would have significantly reduced the interest rate for both pre- and post-judgment interest (from 12 percent to approximately 7 percent) on medical debt and severely limit garnishment options. However, WSHA is neutral on the current version of the bill, which reduces prejudgment interest to 9 percent and puts important protections in place to help consumers understand medical debt and charity care. Read more from the Feb. 4 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)

ESSB 5478: Noncompete agreements

Following negotiations with WSHA and other stakeholders, the bill has been amended to prohibit the use of noncompete agreements for any employee earning less than $100,000 per year, or for independent contractors earning less than $250,000 (both figures adjusted annually for inflation). The bill also prohibits the use of “moonlighting bars,” which restrict additional work outside of employment for anyone who makes less than two-times the applicable state minimum hourly wage unless the work raises issues of safety, interferes with the normal scheduling expectations of the employer, or implicates conflict of interest or duty of loyalty laws. These key provisions reflect a more balanced approach than initially proposed. (Jaclyn Greenberg)

E2SSB 5720: Involuntary Treatment Act

E2SSB 5720 is a complex bill proposing significant changes to the Involuntary Treatment Act system for adults and minors. WSHA did significant work to modify this bill. For ITA patients, the bill moves from a 72-hour detention model to a 5-day detention model, effective Jan. 1, 2020. The bill also allows the use of Single Bed Certifications for Ricky’s Law patients, effective July 2026. The bill establishes a workgroup to evaluate and make recommendations relating to the move to the 5-day model. (Jaclyn Greenberg)

WSHA Legislative Testimony: March 11-15

WSHA is testifying on the following bills this week:
Thursday, March 14

  • House Appropriations
    • SB 5734 (see hospital safety net article above, Andrew Busz)
  • Senate Labor and Commerce
    • SHB 1155 (see nurse staffing and nurse fatigue article above, Lauren McDonald)

Friday, March 15

  • Senate Subcommittee on Behavioral Health
    • 2SHB 1394, concerning community facilities needed to ensure a continuum of care for behavioral health patients (Shirley Prasad)


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