After Second Cutoff, Many Bills Impacting Hospital Finances In Play

Monday, Feb. 22 marked the second cutoff of session, when bills, other than bills necessary to implement the budget, must pass through fiscal committees of their house of origin. The next cutoff is Tuesday, March 9, when all bills must pass through their house of origin to continue advancing. Bills that are still alive will... Read More >>

SSB 5271: Providing liability protections for health care providers and facilities that recognizes the evolving standards of care during COVID-19

WSHA strongly supports SSB 5271, which provides legal protections for health care providers and facilities on the front lines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The bill amends the state’s current standard of care law to include additional considerations to reflect the challenging practice environment providers have faced during the declared emergency. These challenges have included evolving... Read More >>

2SHB 1272 Concerning health system transparency.

2SHB 1272 relates to increased reporting by hospitals on financial data, patient data, and community benefit reporting. WSHA has been negotiating bills relating to financial transparency for several years. Last session, WSHA successfully negotiated a similar bill (HB 2036) to a point where we were neutral.  2SHB 1272 adds additional data reporting and is poised... Read More >>

SHB 1095: B&O tax exemption for COVID-19 emergency grants

WSHA strongly supports SHB 1095, which exempts emergency-related state or federal grants from business and occupation (B&O) tax as long as the grants are spent on emergency expenditures consistent with the grant’s terms. WSHA provided input to the Department of Revenue to ensure the exemption also applies to federal and state grants provided through authorized third-party... Read More >>

HB 1316 Concerning the hospital safety net assessment

WSHA strongly supports HB 1316, which extends the expiration date for the Hospital Safety Net Assessment program through the end of fiscal year 2025. The program is scheduled to sunset June 2023 and the extension was needed for purposes of the state’s four-year budget outlook.  The bill passed the House Committee on Appropriations and is... Read More >>

HB 1196 Concerning audio-only telemedicine

WSHA strongly supports HB 1196 which adds audio-only telephone visits to the definition of telemedicine for payment purposes. This is to ensure access and equity for patients without broadband access or access to or comfort with computer or smartphone technology. The bill passed the House today 94-3 The one change included a removal of hospitals... Read More >>

SHB 1160: Concerning health provider contracts

WSHA opposes House Bill 1160, which places significant restrictions on how hospitals contract with insurance carriers. WSHA testified before the House Health Care and Wellness and Appropriations committees that the bill could cause unintended issues with access and quality of care if carriers choose to contract with hospitals in a fragmented manner. Unfortunately, the bill passed out... Read More >>

2SSB 5377 Concerning increasing affordability of standardized plans on the individual market (public option)

WSHA continues to have concerns with 2SSB 5377, which aims to make numerous changes to the public option health plans, which are offered on the Washington health benefit exchange. In the original bill, there were numerous issues that were concerning to hospitals. Those included mandating hospital participation in a public option health plan if it... Read More >>

HHS Affirms Drug Manufacturers Should Provide 340B Discounts to Eligible Community Pharmacies

On December 30, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the General Counsel released an advisory opinion concluding that drug manufacturers are required to deliver discounts under the 340B Drug Pricing Program on covered outpatient drugs when community pharmacies are acting as agents of 340B covered entities. Although advisory opinions do not carry... Read More >>

OIC Releases Carrier Reports on Prior Authorization

The Washington State Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) recently posted a copy of its report to the legislature and data appendix of prior authorization metrics by major health insurance carriers. The reports are a result of Senate Bill 6404 passed during the 2020 legislative session – WSHA advocated strongly for passage of the bill.... Read More >>

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