It was an exciting week leading up to Friday’s cutoff for bills to be voted out of their committee. (Cutoff calendar is here) To make it easy, we’ve listed all of the major bills we’ve been tracking—the first table is the bills that have been passed out of committee, and the second table is the ones that were not voted out.
Bills that have not moved out of their committee are most likely dead for the session, but nothing is really dead until session is adjourned. Components of “dead” bills can be added to other bills that are still “alive,” and bills that are necessary to implement the budget are exempt from cutoffs. We will be very carefully reading amendments as bills continue to move.
A bit of good news came on Friday, when the state released its revenue forecast. Fortunately, the net forecast change for the 2015-17 biennium was an increase of $129 million (read the whole report here). This does not solve the budget shortfall, however, and the debate about whether new revenue is needed is ongoing.
The first draft of the budget is expected mid- to late-March. While budget hearings have begun, most of the real budget work (and budget surprises) will happen later in session.
Bills Voted Out of Committee, Still Alive
|Bill Number||Short Description||WSHA
|Removes the sunset provision from a significant portion of the Medicaid False Claims Act, which would mean there would be no study or report on the effectiveness of the FCA (SB 5287)
Strengthens data breach notification requirements when consumer data is hacked.
Restores funding to the state Health Professional Loan Repayment Program to 2010 levels. WSHA is advocating behavioral health providers be eligible for loan repayment.
|Would add a $1 ticket surcharge for concert goers at the Gorge. The proceeds from the surcharge would go to defray the (currently unreimbursed) cost of care at Quincy Valley Hospital and Emergence Medical Services. (SB 5000)
Requires notification to patients in observation status at hospitals. WSHA successfully advocated for several amendments, but we will continue to press for removal of a burdensome signature requirement.
|HB 1340||Creates a structured process to allow pilot programs for health care professionals to learn new skills or roles, use existing skills in new circumstances, and accelerate training.||Strong Support|
|HB 1403||Allows services provided via telemedicine to be paid for as if they were delivered in person.||Strong Support|
|HB 1437||Modifies the all-payer claims database to improve health care quality and cost transparency.||Strong Support|
|HB 1503||As amended, requires third parties collecting on behalf of lien-holders to be licensed debt collectors in order to collect on a lien. Also has notification requirements and allows for damages for failure to remove a lien in a timely manner following payment. WSHA’s proposed amendments were included in the substitute bill, clarifying that hospitals and providers do not need to be licensed debt collectors and removing a Consumer Protection Act violation clause.||Neutral|
|HB 1577||Adds regulations for non-compete agreements; this bill is aimed at low-wage workers, but would have a broader impact.||Concerns/Amend|
|HB 1669||Creates a Continuity of Health Coverage Taskforce that would make recommendations on how to ease financial and eligibility barriers to insurance coverage; also requires state study of affordability and availability of health care coverage.||Support|
|HB 1726||Identifies the “improper” use of restraints as abuse. While well-intended, some definitions in the bill were not appropriate for a medical setting. WSHA successfully advocated for amendments to make the bill workable for hospitals. (Companion bill: SB 5600)||Amended to neutral|
|HB 1732||Mandates rest breaks and overtime rules; eliminates flexibility for nurses; could result in postponed procedures and threats to patient safety.||Strongly Oppose|
|HB 1733||Mandates nurse staffing ratios, which reduces flexibility, limits the ability of the nurse to provide full care to patients and families, and undermines autonomy of nurse-staffing committees.||Strongly Oppose|
|HB 1890||Clarifies that payments paid to a fund to provide premium support to low income enrollees are allowable if the patient has control over choice of plans and providers.||Concerns/Amend|
|HB 1926||Modeled on California law, bill bans virtually all non-compete agreements in employment contracts in the state.||Strongly Oppose|
|SB 5010||Loan Repayment. (HB 1080, above)||Strongly Support|
|SB 5149||As amended, if health care facilities, other than applicants, appeal Certificate of Need decisions and decision upheld, requires facilities to pay all costs associated with the appeal. WSHA is seeking an amendment to study the causes of CON appeals and opportunities to reduce the time and cost of such appeals. Reforms to the CON system must be thoughtful and data is needed before such changes are made.||Oppose/Amend|
|SB 5175||Telemedicine (HB 1403)||Strong Support|
|SB 5460||Allows practitioners to prescribe and distribute prepackaged emergency medications to emergency room patients when a pharmacy is not available.||Strong Support|
|SB 5557||Directs health plans to cover services performed by a licensed pharmacist if: 1) the service is within their scope of practice and 2) the benefit would have been covered had it been performed by another practitioner.||Support|
|SB 5590||Allows Medicaid Managed Care plans to pay the Medicaid rate in the absence of a contract only if they have offered a contract to the provider.||Support|
|SB 5593||Clarifies guarding responsibility and payment for health care services by hospitals for inmates and persons detained by law enforcement.||Strong Support|
|SB 5600||Restraints and Abuse Classifications (See HB 1726)||Amend|
|SB 5644||Authorizes psychiatric boarding by giving broad authorization to single bed certifications, regardless of whether the hospital can provide the needed mental health services. WSHA successfully advocated for amendments.||Amended to be Neutral|
|SB 5645||Requires the state to keep records of patients in need of psychiatric detention.||Strong Support|
Bills Still In Committee, Mostly Dead
|Bill Number||Short Description||WSHA
|HB 1357||Removes kidney dialysis centers from the Certificate of Need review process.||Oppose|
|HB 1425||Expands the number and type of entities covered by public meeting and records law.||Oppose|
|HB 1504||Charity Care Standard Form. This bill would create a standardized charity care application form and also create standards regarding how and when patients are notified about the availability of charity care. WSHA plans to implement the work described in the bill over the summer and fall.||Support|
|HB 1870||Prohibits the Department of Health from giving a Certificate of Need (CN) for a purchase, sale, or lease of a hospital to any entity that already owns a hospital in Washington State. Could force endangered hospital to sell to an out-of-state owner or close. In combination with DOH’s efforts to expand CN review, law is devastating.||Strongly Oppose|
|HB 1946||Creating a “Wellness Trust” funded by a 6% tax on hospitals to fund public health and mental health.||Strongly Oppose|
|SB 5049||Puts additional requirements on surgical techs and hospitals in a way that is burdensome and with little benefit.||Oppose|
|SB 5287||Removes the sunset provision from a significant portion of the Medicaid False Claims Act, which would mean there would be no study or report on the effectiveness of the FCA. (HB 1067)||Oppose|
|SB 5453||Creates “extended stay recovery centers” that would serve patients who do not “require the trappings of an acute care hospital during their recovery period,” e.g, state and federal regulations, licensure standards, construction review, and patient safety reporting requirements.||Strongly Oppose|
|SB 6021||Require that operating agreement between King County Public Hospital District #1 and the University of Washington would be subject to voter ratification.|
WSHA Legislative Testimony: February 23-27
WSHA staff or lobbyists will testify on the following bills. Because new bills are being added quickly to the hearing schedules, you may also want to check Appropriations and Ways and Means in particular.
Tuesday, February 24
HB 1340: Workforce Flexibility (House Appropriations). This bill would develop a process to allow pilot programs for health care professionals to learn new skills or roles, use existing skills in new circumstances, and accelerate training. (Ian Corbridge, 206/216-2514)
Thank you for last week!
We are very thankful for everyone who came down to testify! Your testimony is essential for helping legislators and the public to understand the real impact of proposed legislation. The following people testified last week:
- Julie Petersen, Chief Executive Officer, PMH Medical Center
- Laurene Burton, Administrative Director, Governance and Community Services, EvergreenHealth
- Florence Chang, Executive Vice President, MultiCare Health System
- Gail Weaver, Director, Government Relations, Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital