The 2018 legislative session is officially a wrap, and we are pleased to report that it was another positive session for Washington hospitals, with increased funding for behavioral health and no proposed reimbursement cuts. (See our chart for more details about the budget.)
Many of the important bills WSHA supported this session, including those pertaining to charity care and individual market insurance coverage, passed both chambers and await the governor’s signature to become law. Likewise, many detrimental bills, including those that mandated uninterrupted nurse meal and rest beaks, were defeated. (See Inside Olympia for the final roundup of bills from this session, and watch the recording of our recap webcast for more details.)
Though 2018 was a short session, lawmakers considered a large quantity of bills, and some of the priority bills that WSHA supported died, including legislation to fight the opioid epidemic. In the interim, we will continue working to implement recent laws on charity care, opioids and nurse staffing, while planning for proactive 2019 legislation on issues such as patient discharge and mental health. We will participate in the rulemaking process, and convene our members to monitor impact and give feedback throughout the year.
Most of all, we want to extend our sincerest gratitude to the many WSHA members who were able to take time out of their schedules to testify in Olympia this session, as they were essential in making this year’s session so positive for our state’s hospitals.
WSHA Senior Vice President of Government Affairs