Inside Olympia: Hospital at Home bill gets a hearing

January 15, 2024

Week two of the legislature is underway. WSHA is excited that SB 6101, extending the Hospital at Home program, will get its first public hearing this week. This is one of WSHA’s high-priority pieces of legislation this session, and we have worked closely with both members and lawmakers in advocating for this important program that has improved health care for many in our state. A significant bill that takes aim at health care affordability by placing restrictions in provider contract negotiations with insurers will also get its first hearing. WSHA strongly opposes the bill.

This week’s top bills with hearings in Olympia

SB 6101: Concerning hospital at-home services

WSHA strongly supports SB 6101, which would continue the Hospital at Home program for patients past its current sunset date of May 1, 2024. The program allows patients to receive hospital-level care for certain conditions in the comfort of their homes, and it has proven to be a high-quality, effective, safe and equitable care model. Hospital at Home is particularly helpful for patients suffering from cardiac disease or respiratory illnesses. Further, the program relieves some hospital capacity strains. WSHA worked with lawmakers to craft this legislation. Read more from WSHA’s issue brief.

The Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care will hold a public hearing on SB 6101 at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18. WSHA will testify in support. (Katerina LaMarche)

HB 2066: Addressing affordability through health care provider contracting

WSHA strongly opposes newly introduced HB 2066, which gives increased negotiating leverage to health insurers. Supporters claim hospitals have too much power in contract negotiations. The rationale for the bill is around concerns around increasing health care costs and recent rate increases requested by the health insurers.

The bill is very one-sided. It would prohibit providers and hospitals from making public statements or announcing plans to terminate a contract with an insurer more than 30 days before the termination date. Insurers would not be subject to this restriction.

It further limits consumer choice in availability of health care services. The bill attempts to address health care affordability by prohibiting all-or-nothing clauses, antisteering clauses and antitiering clauses. It would prevent even the discussion of those concepts in contract negotiations.

Washington’s hospitals continue to see significant financial losses. For the first nine months of 2023, hospitals lost $1.2 billion from operations. WSHA strongly opposes limiting hospitals’ ability to negotiate adequate rate increases to deal with rising costs of health care, including slow payment by insurers, wages, supplies, equipment and pharmaceuticals.

Additionally, WSHA is pushing back on erroneous claims that hospitals are the major driver of heath insurer rate increases. Please read the recent analysis of those rate filings by an economics consulting firm.

The House Committee on Healthcare & Wellness will hold a public hearing on HB 2066 at 1:30 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 17. WSHA will testify in opposition. (Andrew Busz)

WSHA Weighing In: Jan. 15-19

WSHA is weighing in on the following bills this week:

Monday, Jan. 15

  • Senate Law & Justice
    • SB 5937: Supporting crime victims and witnesses by promoting victim-centered, trauma-informed responses in the legal system. (Jessica Symank)
  • Senate Ways & Means
    • SB 5059: Concerning prejudgment interest. (Cara Helmer)

Tuesday, Jan. 16

  • House Health Care & Wellness
    • HB 1929: Supporting young adults following inpatient behavioral health treatment. (Cara Helmer)
    • HB 2263: Concerning assisted living facilities delivering permanent supportive housing services. (Zosia Stanley)
  • House Labor & Workplace Standards
    • HB 2127: Concerning workers’ compensation incentives to return to work. (Remy Kerr)
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 5811: Expanding the definition of family member for individual providers. (Katerina LaMarche)

Wednesday, Jan. 17

  • House Civil Rights & Judiciary
    • HB 2119: Protecting consumers from garnishment of earnings for judgments arising from medical debt. (Zosia Stanley)
  • House Health Care & Wellness
    • HB 1941: Providing for health home services for medicaid-eligible children with medically complex conditions. (Katerina LaMarche)
    • HB 2066: Addressing affordability through health care provider contracting. See article above. (Andrew Busz)
    • HB 2122: Concerning wellness programs for certain health care professionals. (Remy Kerr)
    • HB 2245: Establishing co-response services and training as an essential component of the crisis care continuum. (Cara Helmer)
  • Senate Environment, Energy & Technology
    • SB 6092: Concerning disclosure of greenhouse gas emissions. (Remy Kerr)

Thursday, Jan. 18

  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 5920: Lifting certificate of need requirements for psychiatric hospitals and beds. (Remy Kerr)
    • SB 6095: Establishing clear authority for the secretary of health to issue standing orders. (Katerina LaMarche)
    • SB 6101: Concerning hospital at-home services. See article above. (Katerina LaMarche)
    • SB 6127: Increasing access to human immunodeficiency virus postexposure prophylaxis drugs or therapies. (Katerina LaMarche)

Friday, Jan. 19

  • House Consumer Protection & Business
    • HB 1951: Promoting ethical artificial intelligence by protecting against algorithmic discrimination. (Cara Helmer)
    • HB 2149: Protecting consumer personal information. (Cara Helmer)
  • House Health Care & Wellness
    • HB 1859: Concerning the rights of residents in long-term care facilities. (Zosia Stanley)
    • HB 2145: Concerning medically necessary treatment of a mental health or substance use disorder. (Andrew Busz)
    • HB 2197: Concerning the availability of prevention services under medical assistance programs. (Andrew Busz)
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SB 6134: Preventing overdose and illicit use of opioids in Washington State. (Cara Helmer)

Thank you for testifying!

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

  • Kashi Arora, Program Director, Behavioral Health Service Line, Seattle Children’s
  • Jennifer Burkhardt, Chief Talent & Legal Officer, Summit Pacific Medical Center
  • Andrea Chatburn, Senior Director for Ethics, Providence Health
  • Jeff Eisen, Chief Medical Officer, Chief Operating Officer, Outpatient Behavioral Health, MultiCare Health System
  • Madeline Grant, Chief Administrative Officer, UW Medicine Harborview Medical Center
  • Colton Myers, Care Coordinator and Discharge Planner, Ferry County Public Hospital District
  • Kelly Thompson, Chief Nursing Officer, Forks Community Hospital


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