Congress passes American Rescue Plan Act of 2021

Congress passed the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021, a $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief package with significant impacts on hospitals and health systems.... Read More >>

WSHA and AWPHD Report on 2020 Lobbying Expenses for Medicare Cost Reports

The purpose of this Bulletin is to inform WSHA and AWPHD members of the proportion of membership dues used for lobbying purposes... Read More >>

Permitted disclosures of mental health information and substance use disorder information without patient consent

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide psychiatric hospitals and acute care hospitals with inpatient behavioral health programs or that accept Single Bed Certification guidance on when they may disclose information related to mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment to a patient’s family and other close relations without the patient’s consent.... Read More >>

Telemedicine Payment Parity Law and Training Requirement Now in Effect

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospitals about two important changes to Washington State’s telemedicine laws. Washington State’s telemedicine payment parity law is in full effect as of January 1, 2021. Washington State’s mandatory telemedicine training for most health care professionals is now available and must be completed by June 30, 2021.... Read More >>

Federal Pharmaceutical Waste Standards Effective October 31, 2020

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospitals that the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Management Standards for Hazardous Waste Pharmaceuticals will take effect in Washington state on October 31, 2020. The Department of Ecology (Ecology) adopted the EPA’s standards in new WAC 173-303-555 to provide clarity and ensure consistency between state and federal regulations. The EPA’s regulations first took effect August 21, 2019, and Ecology’s subsequent adoption may require modifications to your current dangerous waste management practices if your hospital is out of compliance with the federal standards.... Read More >>

Changes to Health Care Provider Leave Under FFCRA

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospitals about the narrowed definition of “health care provider” as it applies to the employee leave exemptions in the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), effective September 16, 2020, until December 31, 2020. The narrowed definition means the leave exemptions only apply to health care providers who meet specific criteria described in the revised FFCRA leave exemption regulations.... Read More >>

CMS Price Transparency Rule Requires Substantial Preparation and Compliance

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information to hospitals concerning the CMS Price Transparency Rule, which requires hospitals to post on their website in a machine-readable format an expanded definition of “standard charges”, including negotiated payment rates with insurers, for all services provided by the hospital. The rule also requires hospitals provide similar price information for at least 300 “shoppable services” in a consumer-friendly, searchable format. Hospitals must comply with the new rule effective January 1, 2021.... Read More >>

New State Law Restricts Use of Noncompete Agreements

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide an overview of recent changes to Washington’s laws restricting employers’ use of noncompete agreements.... Read More >>

Washington State Health Care Cost Transparency Board Formation

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospital and hospital systems about Substitute House Bill 2457, which creates the state Health Care Cost Transparency Board (“Board”). The Board’s objective is to determine the annual total health care expenditures and growth in Washington state and establish a health care cost growth benchmark (“Benchmark”). The Board will compare health care provider’s expenditures to the Benchmark and release reports that identify those that exceed the Benchmark. Due to WSHA’s advocacy, when determining the Benchmark, the Board will include and consider the cost drivers of health care. ... Read More >>

New Requirements for Health Insurance Carrier Reporting of Prior Authorization Practices (ESSB 6404)

The purpose of this bulletin is to inform hospitals and health care systems about changes in law related to health plan prior authorization practice and data pursuant to Engrossed Substitute Senate Bill 6404. Certain health insurance carriers will be required to provide the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) information related to prior authorization requests. OIC will provide the information in a publicly available, aggregated report in January 2021. ... Read More >>

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