New laws address heath care staffing agency transparency and workforce shortage

September 8, 2023

We are excited for two new laws to take effect that will address hospital staffing. Senate Bill 5547 helps promote health care staffing agency transparency and to better understand the costs associated with the use of contract health care workers. Senate Bill 5582 aims to increase the number of nurses and allied professions by reducing barriers and expanding educational opportunities. WSHA supported both of these bills.

SB 5547 requires health care staffing agencies to disclose corporate ownership and certain placement information by facility type and the county in which the work was performed, including average charges and wage, average labor-related costs, and distance of placements made. The bill also requires the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) to publish a yearly report that contains the disclosed information.

SB 5582 expands nursing credential opportunities, reduces bottlenecks in nurse training and grows K-12 pathways into health care. (See more information on the expansion here.) This was one of several legislative workforce proposals WSHA supported in the 2023 legislative session. While there is no single solution to the nursing workforce shortage, this bill will be an effective and necessary tool to help grow the workforce and improve access to care.

WSHA worked these bills thoughtfully with long-term care associations who have also endured, and continue to face, health care workforce vacancies. Hospitals and long-term care facilities rely on agencies for contract health care workers when there are surges in workforce vacancies. This was especially effective in Washington State during the COVID-19 public health emergency to meet increased patient needs. Unfortunately, this increase in demand has also raised costs and fees associated with the delivery of health care.

The DOH must now adopt rules to implement the required information disclosures. We are working with the long-term care associations and DOH as it begins this process and will keep you apprised of any updates.


Katerina LaMarche
Policy Director


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