Inside Olympia: Funding for CHIP, collection of involuntarily detained patient information, telemedicine parity

January 22, 2018

Funding for CHIP: HB 2660 and SB 6304

These bills would guarantee that Washington State continues to provide affordable health care coverage for children — the current Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The bills also guarantee Medicaid coverage for pregnant women. That program had also not been previously codified in state law. WSHA strongly supports these bills as a commitment to ensure coverage for the most vulnerable, particularly in light of threats to federal funding for the CHIP program. (Andrew Busz)

Collection of involuntarily detained patient information: SB 5441

This bill would mean that after a patient in mental health crisis is involuntarily held by a designated mental health professional, the patient would lose their right to possess a firearm for six months. Hospitals would be required to collect patient identification and transfer that information to law enforcement. Current law does not have hospitals involved in sharing information, and the loss of the right to possess a firearm occurs only if the patient has been involuntarily committed by a court.

WSHA will testify in opposition to this approach that makes hospitals agents of law enforcement. (Chelene Whiteaker)

Telemedicine parity: SB 6399

Expanding telemedicine services is critical to expanding access to high-quality care. This bill would require payment parity only for telestroke, telepsychology, treatment for opioid disorder and diabetes services. The bill would also eliminate facility fees for telemedicine services and require all providers to undergo training on billing requirements. While the bill is well intentioned, WSHA has concerns about the education requirement and removal of facility fees. WSHA plans to testify on these concerns. (Chelene Whiteaker)

Student loan repayment for rural physicians: HB 2598

This bill creates a matching fund through the Washington Student Achievement Council that supports loan repayment for doctors who want to work in rural areas. A rural health care facility can provide up to $100,000 and then have that matched. In return, a physician pledges to work in that rural area for 5 years. WSHA will testify in support of this bill. (Jacqueline Barton True)

WSHA Legislative Testimony: January 22-26

WSHA is testifying on the following bills this week:

WSHA is testifying on the following bills this week:

Tuesday, January 23

  • House Health Care & Wellness
    • HB 2588 expands notification requirements surrounding facility fees charged by hospitals (Andrew Busz)
  • House Higher Education
    • HB 2598 (see article above)
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 6399 (see article above)
  • Senate Law & Justice
    • SB 5441 (see article above)
  • Senate Ways & Means
    • SB 6062 addresses the establishment of an individual health insurance market claims-based reinsurance program. (Chris Bandoli)

Wednesday, January 24

  • House Appropriations
    • HB 2660 (see article above)

Thursday, January 25

  • House Judiciary

Friday, January 26

  • House Health Care & Wellness

HB 2585 creates notification requirements for hospitals about the availability of sexual assault evidence kit collections provided. (Zosia Stanley)

Thank you for testifying!

We are very thankful for everyone who comes to Olympia to testify! Your testimony is essential for helping legislators and the public to understand the real impact of proposed legislation. Last week, we were pleased to have testimony from:

  • Robin Fenn, Verdant Health Commission


Contact Us

Washington State Hospital Association
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Seattle, WA 98104

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206.283.6122 fax

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