We are in week three of the 2020 state legislative session. A main theme of this session is the cost of care and increased transparency. There are several bills under consideration that would impact a variety of players in the health care industry. Specifically, we want hospitals to know that WSHA is working on two major issues that we expect to advance through the legislature:
At this point, WSHA opposes HB 2036, which requires burdensome and excessive new reporting requirements on hospitals and health systems, far beyond what is required for other health care entities. The bill is moving through the process and gaining traction. WSHA supports developing and maintaining robust, reliable data sources to provide information on the cost and cost drivers of health care, but we are questioning the level of specificity of HB 2036. WSHA has convened a workgroup to identify potential solutions.
The bill requires reporting of the following:
· Expenses that exceed $50,000;
· Revenues that exceed $50,000;
· Financial exchanges among health system entities;
· How a hospital provides community health improvement activity; and
· Debt collection practices. (Zosia Stanley).
WSHA testified with concerns regarding HB 2457, which establishes the Health Care Cost Transparency Board for the purpose of calculating and analyzing information and trends related to all health care costs in Washington. In addition, the Transparency Board must annually establish the health care cost growth benchmark for increases in total health expenditures and analyze provider and facility cost increases. The bill is modeled after similar laws in Massachusetts and Oregon. The concept is also under serious discussion in Colorado.
WSHA will recommend amendments to the bill to ensure the board accurately identifies all major drivers that affect the cost of health care, such as drug costs, regional variation in wages and labor, and a thoughtful approach to provider input on the Transparency Board. (Zosia Stanley).
Inside Olympia is also a great resource for staying abreast of these and other developments in Olympia. One can subscribe to Inside Olympia and other WSHA newsletters here. (Andrew Busz, firstname.lastname@example.org).