The 2022 legislative session began Monday, Jan. 10. This year’s session will be held in a largely virtual format due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. We thank all our members for their dedication to serving patients during this unprecedented time. WSHA’s 2022 legislative agenda is robust and reflects important priorities to support hospitals during the pandemic and the recovery.
WSHA is working to advance top legislative priorities, including:
- Increase state funding for nurse education slots. Partnering with Washington state’s nursing unions and other key stakeholders, WSHA strongly supports investments to expand the number of new nurse graduates and help create a sustainable workforce of future nurses.
- Increase state funding for long-term care for patients who are ready to be discharged and need post-acute care. No one should live in a hospital, but some patients are not able to be discharged to more appropriate post-acute care settings. WSHA supports funding for DSHS assessors to ensure patients qualify for timely long-term care, providing increased dollars for low-income patients who need a legal guardian, and increasing Medicaid rates to support patients who need post-acute care.
- Preserve flexibility in workforce and staffing. As the health care system confronts these extremely challenging times, the entire health care community must do our absolute best to ensure access to care for all patients. Hospitals across the country are facing critical staffing shortages, most acutely felt with a severe national shortage of nurses. Hospitals must be able to staff for patients during the pandemic and would oppose new mandates that impact workforce and staffing laws and impose heavy fines for non-compliance of staffing laws during a pandemic. WSHA would like the Legislature to prioritize and invest in increasing the health care workforce.
- Allow recognized surrogate decision makers to consent to long-term care placement and services. A recent change in Department of Social and Health Services interpretation of federal and state law has led to a significant increase in patients in hospitals who must have a guardian appointed by a court to move out of the hospitals and into long-term care placement. We need to clarify state law to return to the previous framework that allowed close family and friends (listed in the state surrogate decision maker law) to consent to long-term care for their loved one.