Friday was the cutoff for most bills to be considered in the opposite house, and we are now heading into the final stretch of this year’s short legislative session. We are happy to report that many of the significant bills WSHA supports made it through both the House and Senate, and are now headed to the governor for his action. Several other bills WSHA supports are awaiting concurrence between the House and Senate. Concurrence is needed when the second house makes changes to the bill; the first house must concur with the changes in order for the bill to be delivered to the governor.
Bills are listed in numerical order.
High priority bills WSHA supports that have passed or are awaiting concurrence
Support HB 2335: Provider credentialing: This bill would ensure physicians are credentialed in a timely manner. This is helpful to all hospitals and providers, but particularly to rural hospitals that do not have special “deemed credentialing” arrangements with insurers.
Support HB 2340: High risk pool: This bill removes the expiration date for the high risk pool, an important safeguard for very ill people in our state. It is strongly supported by the health insurers.
Support HB 2350: Medication by medical assistants: This bill clarifies that medical assistants may retrieve medication in their clinics and hospitals. It is strongly supported by hospitals, clinics and physicians.
Support HB 2362: Recordings/law enforcement: This bill addresses the privacy of law enforcement body camera recordings. We have major concerns about whether recordings taken in a hospital could be made public. The bill protects the highly private moments of patients and their families; it is important because law enforcement entities are not covered by HIPAA.
Support HB 2530: Protecting victims of sex crimes: This bill would create a statewide tracking system for sexual assault kits. WSHA has been working to understand and improve sexual assault services statewide. The tracking system provides clarity to hospitals about how to catalog sexual assault kits, increases transparency, and allows access and tracking by survivors, law enforcement and prosecuting attorneys.
Support HB 2711: Sexual assault nurse examiner study: This bill creates a study to examine increasing the availability of specially trained sexual assault nurse examiners. This is an important part of improving access to skilled, certified nurses to provide patient-centered care to survivors of sexual assault.
Support HB 2730: Prescription drug monitoring program: The goal of this bill is to reduce opioid overprescribing, and therefore addiction and overdose. The bill would give prescribers better access to information about their patients’ current opioid prescriptions.
Support HB 2771: Hospital district contracts: This bill would allow public hospitals, like most other local governments, to accept responsible bids that are above the estimated costs without rebidding the entire project.
Support HB 2772: Hospital district job orders: This bill would allow public hospital districts to participate in job order contracting to increase construction flexibility, reduce delays and save money. Having work done by a contractor experienced in unique hospital safety and who knows hospital codes is essential.
Support SB 6445: Mental health/physician assistants: This bill allows physician assistants — valuable members of the care team — to deliver mental health services through the Involuntary Treatment Act. Physician assistants would be allowed to deliver services they are competent to perform based on their education, training and experience, and that are consistent with their delegation agreement with a supervising physician.
Support SB 6519: Telemedicine: This bill charts a course for the future of telemedicine and creates a collaborative to explore best practices and make recommendations to the legislature. Beginning in 2018, it also allows for reimbursement for services delivered to patients in their homes for commercial plans, Medicaid and public employees.
Support SB 6534: Maternal mortality: This bill establishes a maternal mortality review panel to conduct reviews and make recommendations for system changes to improve health care services for women in the state. This is a key part of WSHA’s patient safety work.
Support SB 6558: Hospital pharmacy licenses: This bill provides direction to the Department of Health to allow hospital pharmacy licenses to include all types of hospital-based pharmacies, and it directs the department to inspect those pharmacies according to the level of service provided rather than to a standard of care they do not provide.
Bills WSHA supported that did not move forward
HB 2452: Medical licensure compact: This bill would have streamlined licensing for physicians practicing in multiple states, which would have been a significant help for recruiting physicians to work in our state and for border communities.
Bills WSHA supports that are still being heard
Support SB 6055: Critical Access Hospitals: This bill allows critical access hospitals participating in the Washington rural health access preservation pilot to resume Critical Access Hospital payment and licensure if they so choose. This would encourage hospitals to participate in the program and ensure stability in the local health delivery system.