Inside Olympia: Wrongful death, public option, workplace violence among bills up for hearings this week

March 18, 2019

The legislature has now turned its attention to hearing bills from the opposite chamber. For the next couple of weeks, WSHA will feature bills that are receiving hearings and continuing to move through the process. We expect budgets to be released from each chamber in the next week or so. The House is expected to release the first version of the budget after the revenue forecast this week.

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. The bill will have public hearing Tuesday, March 19, in the House Committee on Civil Rights & Judiciary.

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)

E2SHB 1523: Public Option Health Plans

E2SHB 1523 would allow Washingtonians the option to purchase lower-costing health insurance coverage on the Health Benefit Exchange (the individual market). The bill will be heard Wednesday, March 20 in the Senate Committee on Health & Long Term Care.

In this bill, a key driver of keeping the cost of these plans down is by requiring health plans to pay hospitals and providers no 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. (Shirley Prasad)

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 bill will have a public hearing Monday, March 18 in the Senate Committee on Labor & Commerce.

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)

2SSB 5376: Protecting consumer privacy

WSHA is neutral on 2SSB 5376, governing the protection of consumer data. However, WSHA currently opposes a proposed substitute bill, which is expected to be heard at the bill’s public hearing on Friday, March 22 in the House Committee on Innovation, Technology & Economic Development.

WSHA worked to ensure 2SSB 5376 contains exemptions for health care information – given the myriad of regulations already in this area of law. The bill also contains an “entity exemption” for hospitals, to the extent that they protect non-regulated information in the same manner as regulated information. 2SSB 5376, and the proposed substitute, would provide consumers with a bevy of rights over their personal data and create various business obligations in relation to those rights.

WSHA will work to ensure this exemption language remains in the bill as it is considered in the House. (Jaclyn Greenberg)

WSHA Legislative Testimony: March 18-22

WSHA is testifying on the following bills this week:

Monday, March 18

  • Senate Labor & Commerce
  • Senate Law & Justice
    • 2SHB 1166: Supporting sexual assault survivors, (Zosia Stanley)

Tuesday, March 19

  • House Civil Rights & Judiciary
  • House Health Care & Wellness
    • SSB 5380: Concerning opioid use disorder treatment, prevention and related services (Lauren McDonald)
    • 2SSB 5672: Concerning adult family home specialty services (Zosia Stanley)

Wednesday, March 20

  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
  • Senate Housing Stability & Affordability
    • SHB 1406: Encouraging Investment in Affordable & Supportive Housing (Shirley Prasad)

Friday, March 22

  • House Innovation, Technology & Economic Development
  • Senate Health & Long Term Care
    • SHB 1686: Concerning hospital access to care policies (Zosia Stanley)

Thank you for testifying!

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

  • Susan Stacey, Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital
  • Jackie Hunter, EvergreenHealth Monroe
  • Dr. Midorri Larrabee, EvergreenHealth Monroe
  • Tracey Jones, Virginia Mason Medical Center


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