Inside Olympia: Proactive nurse fatigue bill advances, first cutoff has passed

February 26, 2019

SB 5344: Proactive nurse fatigue bill advances to Ways & Means thanks to hospital advocacy efforts

We are pleased to report that SB 5344, the proactive nurse fatigue bill supported by WSHA, has advanced through the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care. Contacts made by hospital leaders and staff to legislators encouraging their support of the bill has been crucial to ensure this bill passed this first hurdle in the legislative process. A hearing date has not yet been set. Read more about the bill in the Feb. 11 Inside Olympia. (Lauren McDonald)

HB 1155 / SB 5190: Uninterrupted breaks and staffing requirement bills still alive

HB 1155 / SB 5190, the nurse staffing legislation promoted by the nursing unions, is still moving forward in both the House and Senate, and they now reside in the House Committee on Appropriation and the Senate Committee on Ways & Means, respectively.

WSHA opposes the bills, which would require hospitals to provide completely uninterrupted meal and rest breaks for nurses and certain technicians and technologists, regardless of patient need. It would also place rigid constraints on a hospital’s ability to use prescheduled on-call and overtime for nurses and certain types of technologists and technicians, which currently support hospital staffing needs and provide high-quality care to patients. Messages to legislators from hospitals have helped share the story of what this legislation would mean for staff scheduling and patient access to care. This kind of direct advocacy will need to continue to ensure the voices of nurses, patients and hospital leaders are heard in the debate. (Lauren McDonald)

HB 1175: Health care decision-making for patients who lack capacity

WSHA supports HB 1175, which expands who can be a surrogate decision maker for a patient who lacks capacity and adds options for executing advance directives. The bill has passed through the House and will now be heard in the Senate. Its first hearing is scheduled for Monday, Feb. 25 in the Senate Committee on Law & Justice. Read more about the bill in the Jan. 21 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)

High priority bills still alive after first cutoff

Bills WSHA Supports

HB 1016 Concerning hospital notification of availability of sexual assault evidence kit collection
HB 1166 Omnibus bill supporting sexual assault survivors
HB 1175 Concerning health care decision making for patients who lack capacity
HB 1336 / SB 5327 Expanding career connected learning opportunities
HB 1352 Concerning drug compounding
HB 1394 / SB 5431 Exempting psychiatric beds from Certificate of Need & Involuntary Treatment Act concerns
HB 1412 Concerning nonresident pharmacies
HB 1406 / SB 5646 Encouraging investments in affordable and supportive housing
HB 1593 Establishing a behavioral health innovation and integration campus within the UW School of Medicine
HB 1638 Promoting immunity against vaccine preventable diseases
HB 1686 Concerning hospital access to care policies
HB 1748 / SB 5734 Concerning the hospital safety net assessment
HB 1876/ SB 5903 Concerning children’s mental health
HB 1931 Concerning workplace violence in health care settings
SB 5054 Increasing the behavioral health workforce by establishing a reciprocity program to increase the portability of behavioral health licenses and certifications
SB 5260 Concerning powers to waive statutory obligations or limitations during a state of emergency in order to cope with the emergency
SB 5344 Proactive nursing fatigue bill
SB 5380 Concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention and related services
SB 5483 Improving services for individuals with developmental disabilities
SB 5537 Expanding community-based behavioral health facilities through issuance of state bonds
SB 5672 Concerning adult family home specialty services
SB 5699 Protecting consumers from charges for out-of-network health care services

Bills on which WSHA is neutral

HB 1049 Concerning health care provider and health care facility whistleblower protections
HB 1531 Concerning medical debt
HB 1607 Requiring health care entities to provide written information of any “material” transactions to the state attorney general before the transaction is complete
HB 1776 / SB 5741 Making changes to support the future operations of the state all-payer claims database
HB 1515 Concerning the employer-employee relationship (severely restricting independent contractors); Changed to a work group in the House

Bills with which WSHA has concerns (working to amend)

HB 1065 Concerning balance billing
HB 1331 Concerning opioid use disorder treatment prevention and related services. WSHA supports expanding access to treatment and prevention for opioid use disorder but has concerns about a mandate for EHRs to integrate with the PMP.
HB 1523 / SB 5526 Concerning a public option for health care coverage. WSHA supports the idea of a public option but has concerns about the bill’s proposed payment rate.
HB 1608 Prohibiting hospitals and health systems from appropriately managing the types and quality of services they provide
HB 1854 Protecting consumer data
HB 1874 / SB 5904 Implementing policies related to expanding adolescent behavioral health care access as reviewed and recommended by the children’s mental health work group
SB 5376 Protecting consumer data
SB 5720 Concerning the involuntary treatment act

Bills WSHA opposes

HB 1135 / SB 5163 Concerning actions for wrongful injury or death
HB 1155 / SB 5190 Uninterrupted breaks and staffing requirements
HB 1450 / SB 5478 Concerning restraints on persons engaging in lawful professions, trades or businesses (Noncompete agreements)
HB 1965 Allowing whistleblowers to bring actions on behalf of the state for violation of workplace protections
SB 5295 Concerning labor neutrality and contractor compliance for certain contracted service providers
HB 1854 Protecting consumer data

Notable bills that have died

  • HB 1601 and SB 5690: Concerning the universal worker protections act
  • HB 1693: Establishing a system for setting rates for health care services
  • HB 1810: WSHA-promoted rural payment reform bill. WSHA is currently working on budget language to place parameters on rural payment reform.
  • HB 2046: Increasing consumer data transparency
  • SB 5169: Ensuring the neutrality of public employers and state contractors with regard to employees exercising their rights to collectively bargain
  • SB 5256 / HB 2077: Concerning use of the term “birth center”
  • SB 5374: Concerning rest and meal periods for all workers
  • SB 5411: Concerning physician assistants
  • SB 5446: Concerning electronic prescriptions
  • SB 5459: Concerning nonresident pharmacies (companion bill, HB 1412, is still alive)
  • SB 5460 / HB 1882: Joining the nurse licensure compact
  • SB 5660: Concerning the duties of mental health professionals
  • SB 5663: Compounding drugs (companion bill, HB 1352, is still alive)

WSHA legislative testimony: Feb. 25 – March 1

WSHA is testifying on the following bills this week:

Monday, Feb. 25

  • Senate Law & Justice
    • HB 1175: Concerning health care decision making for patients who lack capacity (Zosia Stanley)
  • House Appropriations
    • SHB 1166 – Supporting sexual assault survivors. (Zosia Stanley)

Tuesday, Feb. 26

  • Senate Ways & Means
    • SSB 5720 – Concerning the involuntary treatment act. (Jaclyn Greenberg)
    • SSB 5483 – Improving services for individuals with developmental disabilities. (Zosia Stanley)
    • SSB 5431 – Concerning community facilities needed to ensure a continuum of care for behavioral health patients. (Shirley Prasad)


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