Inside Olympia: Increasing oversight of freestanding psychiatric hospitals, establishing a cost transparency board and more

January 21, 2020

This edition covers the second week of the 2020 legislative session. The WSHA team has analyzed and is tracking close to 250 bills with more being introduced every day. Legislative committees are busy hearing bills and will start to take action on some of them, meaning passing them to budget committees or to the rules committee – the last hurdle before a full vote of a chamber. Feb. 7 marks the date that bills must pass out of their committee of origin – unless the bill has been deemed necessary to implement the budget.

HB 2426 / SB 6274: Increasing oversight of freestanding psychiatric hospitals

WSHA has concerns with HB 2426 / SB 6274, which would create a new provisional license requirement for future freestanding psychiatric hospitals and implement new and considerable oversight by the Department of Health (DOH) on freestanding psychiatric hospitals. The bill is more expansive than just addressing new policy around freestanding psychiatric hospitals. It also requires DOH to provide recommendations to the legislature on standardizing oversight for all health care facilities.

WSHA supports efforts to establish thoughtful oversight of freestanding psychiatric hospitals and will strive to ensure that any new legislation fosters patient safety and quality improvements. With patient access to care in mind, WSHA is concerned about the extent and appropriateness of how DOH would efficiently oversee new freestanding psychiatric hospitals, as well as the potential of some new requirements to deter facilities from taking complex patients. We will be advocating for a regulatory oversight structure that puts patients first yet does not duplicate existing reporting requirements, and can be implemented by DOH without undue delay. (Shirley Prasad)

HB 2457: Establishing a cost transparency board

WSHA is evaluating HB 2457, which would establish a cost transparency board to analyze the total health care expenditures in Washington, identify trends in health care cost growth and establish a health care growth benchmark. While this concept is new to Washington State, other states, such as Oregon and Massachusetts, have set up similar boards. This is a brand-new concept for the legislature to consider. The board would also establish an advisory committee on data issues and an advisory committee of health care providers and insurance carriers. The latter advisory group would include representatives from hospitals and health care providers. The bill does allow WSHA to nominate the hospital representative to the advisory committee.

WSHA will advocate for improvements to the bill to make sure the board and advisory group are properly balanced, including by adding perspectives from post-acute care. In addition, we will work to include cost factors currently missing from the bill, including labor, supplies, administrative and compliance burden, and capital costs. (Zosia Stanley)

SB 6070: Substance use disorder reporting

WSHA has concerns with SB 6070, which requires new significant reporting for substance use disorder treatment providers. The bill requires facilities to report data about their client volumes, services offered and completion rates. The challenge comes in a requirement to report data related to patient outcomes after treatment – arrest, death, readmissions, etc. While the former is reasonable, the latter would require providers to report information that is not readily available.

WSHA believes a better approach to this issue would be to have the Washington State Health Care Authority compile this administrative data from several different sources, as a single entity does not have all the relevant information. (Lauren McDonald)

Hospital Advocacy Days in Olympia Jan. 29-30

We are looking forward to next week’s Hospital Advocacy Days. Thank you to all who are coming to this important event! (Shirley Prasad)

WSHA Weighing In: January 20-24

WSHA is weighing in on the following bills this week:
Monday, Jan. 20

  • Senate Early Learning & K-12 Education (1:30 pm)
    • SB 6132: Allowing the learning assistance program to support school-wide behavioral health system of supports and interventions. (Lauren McDonald)
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care (1:30 pm)
    • SB 6097: Requiring the insurance commissioner to review a health carrier’s surplus levels as part of its rate filing review process. (Andrew Busz)
    • SB 6106: Improving postpartum Medicaid coverage. (Shirley Prasad)
    • SB 6128: Extending coverage during the postpartum period. (Shirley Prasad)
    • SB 6158: Concerning model sexual assault protocols for hospitals and clinics. (Lauren McDonald)
  • House Public Safety (1:30 pm)
    • HB 2375: Concerning tableting and encapsulating machines and controlled substance imitation materials. (Lauren McDonald)

Tuesday, Jan. 21

  • House Innovation, Technology & Economic Development (10 am)
  • Senate Law & Justice (10 am)
  • House Health Care & Wellness (1:30 pm)
    • HB 2408: Adopting the psychology interjurisdictional compact. (Lauren McDonald)
    • HB 2462: Recognizing the emergency medical services personnel licensure interstate compact. (Lauren McDonald)
  • House Labor & Workplace Standards (3:30 pm)
    • HB 2409: Concerning industrial insurance employer penalties, duties & licensing of third-party administrators. (David Streeter)

Wednesday, Jan. 22

  • Senate Human Services, Reentry & Rehabilitation (8 am)
    • SB 5338: Concerning the protection of vulnerable adults. (Zosia Stanley)
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care (1:30 pm)
    • SB 6254: Protecting public health and safety by enhancing the regulation of vapor products. (David Streeter)
  • House Health Care & Wellness (1:30 pm)
    • HB 2338: Prohibiting discrimination in health care coverage. (Andrew Busz)
    • HB 2419: Studying barriers to the use of the Washington death with dignity act. (Zosia Stanley)
    • HB 2457: Establishing the health care cost transparency board – see article above. (Zosia Stanley)
  • House Human Services & Early Learning (1:30 pm)
    • HB 1651: Concerning the rights of clients of the developmental disabilities administration of the department of social and health services. (Zosia Stanley)
  • House Appropriations (3:30 pm)
    • HB 2438: Concerning establishment of the prescription opioid impact account. (Lauren McDonald)

Thursday, Jan. 23

  • House Finance (1:30 pm)
    • HB 2468: Improving the effectiveness and adequacy of the workforce education investment surcharge by decreasing compliance and administrative burdens for taxpayers and the department of revenue. (Andrew Busz)
  • House Appropriations (3:30 pm)

Friday, Jan. 24

  • House Health Care & Wellness (8 am)
    • HB 2426: Protecting patient safety in psychiatric hospitals and other health care facilities – see article above. (Shirley Prasad)
  • Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Senate Health & Long Term Care (1:30pm)
    • SB 6070: Concerning public disclosures by state-funded substance use disorder treatment programs and facilities. (Lauren McDonald)
    • SB 6086: Increasing access to medications for opioid use disorder. (Lauren McDonald)
    • SB 6109: Ensuring persons with serious mental illness and substance use disorders receive proper care and assistance. (Jaclyn Greenberg)
    • SB 6274: Protecting patient safety in psychiatric hospitals and other health care facilities. (Shirley Prasad)
    • SB 6447: Requiring a coprescription of opioid overdose reversal medication. (Lauren McDonald)

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