Many bills of interest to WSHA members, including all our proactive bills, are still alive this session. March 2 was the deadline for bills to pass out of fiscal committees in the opposite chamber from their chamber of origin. They must pass the full opposite chamber by 5pm on Friday, March 6 and ultimately be signed by the governor to become law. If there are differences between the House and Senate’s versions of the bill, the final bill language will need to be negotiated in conference. Bills that WSHA is working on and are still alive include:
ESHB 2036: Health system transparency – New Information!
WSHA opposed ESHB 2036, which would have instituted burdensome and excessive reporting requirements on hospitals and ambulatory surgical facilities. WSHA negotiated heavily on the version that passed the House. The bill did not move out of Senate Ways and Means and is not moving forward. However, it is possible the contents of bill could added to other bills. WSHA will continue to monitor. Read more from the Jan. 13 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)
SB 6359: Creating regulation exemptions for rural health clinics providing services in a designated home health shortage area – New Information!
WSHA strongly supports SB 6359, which would allow Rural Health Clinics in shortage areas to offer a limited scope of services — including home nursing visits — to homebound patients, increasing access to critical services in underserved communities. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. SB 6359 passed the full House unanimously today and will go to Governor Inslee for signature. Read more from the Jan. 27 Inside Olympia. (Jacqueline Barton True)
ESSB 5385: Concerning telemedicine payment parity – New information!
WSHA strongly supports ESSB 5385, which allows telemedicine services to be paid for at the same rate as in-person visits. It also removes the requirement that a patient must first have an in-person visit with a provider before the use of store-and-forward technology will be reimbursed. In the House Committee on Appropriations, an amendment was adopted to include an emergency clause. This would have the bill be in effect immediately, rather than as of Jan. 1, 2021. It is unclear if this amendment would be retained by the full House. The bill passed the full House earlier today, including the emergency clause, and will go to Governor Inslee for signature. Read the Feb. 12 Inside Olympia for more information. (Shirley Prasad)
2SSB 6275: Increasing patient access rights to timely and appropriate post-acute care
WSHA strongly supports 2SSB 6275 to expedite hospital discharge for Medicaid patients in need of post-acute care. This is part of WSHA’s work to address the challenge of difficult-to-discharge patients stuck in our hospitals due to barriers in accessing post-acute care. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. 2SSB 6275 passed the House Committee on Appropriations and now awaits consideration by the full House. Read more from the Jan. 27 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)
ESSB 6404: Establishing a prior authorization work group and creating recommendations
WSHA strongly supports ESSB 6404, which would help create uniform recommendations for when prior authorization is used. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. Because of unresolved issues related to the work group recommendations, the bill was amended in committee to narrow the bill to require the health plans to submit data on their top prior authorizations in aggregate for medical/surgical and behavioral health services. ESSB 6404 passed the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness and now awaits consideration by the full House. Read more from the Feb. 20 Inside Olympia. (Andrew Busz)
SSB 6358: Requiring Medicaid managed care organizations to provide reimbursement of health care services provided by substitute providers
WSHA strongly supports SSB 6358, which would require Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) to follow Medicare policy in how substitute providers are reimbursed when they fill in at a facility for longer than 60 days. It would also expand the instances in which substitute providers could be used. WSHA’s input played a key role in crafting this legislation. SSB 6358 passed the House Appropriations Committee on Saturday and now awaits consideration by the full House. Read more from the Jan. 27 Inside Olympia. (Lauren McDonald)
2SHB 2457: Establishing a cost transparency board
WSHA has concerns with 2SHB 2457, which would establish a cost transparency board to analyze the total health care expenditures in Washington, identify trends in health care cost growth and establish a health care growth benchmark. We helped secure the amendment that includes consideration of cost drivers, such as wages and prescription drug costs. The bill passed the Senate Committee on Ways and Means and now awaits consideration by the full Senate. Read more from the Jan. 20 Inside Olympia. (Zosia Stanley)
For a more complete listing of bills, see our recent Inside Olympia.