Legislators Reach Agreement on Budgets, Avoid State Shutdown

The Washington State Legislature narrowly avoided a shutdown of state services by agreeing on operating and capital budgets for Fiscal Years 2015-2017. The compromise budgets are very good for hospitals and health care overall and include: More than $100 million in new state and federal funding for the mental health system. $32 million in capital budget funding... Read More >>

House and Senate Submit Revised Budget Proposals, but Key Differences Remain

The dominant parties in the House and Senate released new budgets in the past week: The Senate Republicans released a new budget on Thursday, and the House Democrats did the same on Monday.   The new Senate budget includes new revenue from cannabis and the federal government, but does not make the needed changes to... Read More >>

WSHA Hosts May 27 Webcast on Proposed Inpatient Prospective Payment Hospital Rule

  The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) will host a webinar May 27 from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on the proposed inpatient rule for prospective payment hospitals. The webinar is part of WSHA’s efforts to provide helpful and detailed information to hospital finance staff. Presenters will include staff from DataGen, which provides analyses of Medicare claims data for... Read More >>

State Budget Debate Impacts Washington’s Health Benefit Exchange

  The future of Washington State’s Health Benefit Exchange will depend in part on the upcoming negotiations between the Washington State House and Senate. The budgets adopted in each chamber are significantly different in terms of funding levels for the upcoming biennium. The Senate budget for the biennium provides $65 million less for the Exchange in total... Read More >>

Legislature Passes Telemedicine and Inmate Care Bills

  Two WSHA-supported bills recently passed the Washington State Legislature and will aid efforts to ensure access to safe and cost-effective access to health care in our communities. Hospital finance staff should consider potential impacts for their facilities. Telemedicine (House Bill 1403/Senate Bill 5175): This bill, which passed both chambers of the legislature with near... Read More >>

CMS Publishes Approach to Limit Disruption to Physician Payments

The temporary patch to the federal “Sustainable Growth Rate” formula expired March 31, creating a 21 percent reduction to Medicare physician payments. A bill passed by the U.S. House of Representatives, which would prevent the cuts, may be considered by the Senate when it returns April 13. If passed, it could be applied retroactively to April 1. ... Read More >>

All-Payer Claims Database: Will the Legislature Revise the Current Law?

Last session the state enacted a law, HB 2572, creating an all-payer claims database. With last-minute political maneuvering, the law as passed was flawed. The law has no mandate on private insurers to submit claims to the database –the only mandate is for health plans that contract with the state. There is also a requirement that... Read More >>

HCA Addresses Issues of Programming Errors in Outpatient Payment

We have heard from many of you about issues with the Health Care Authority’s (HCA) programming of Enhanced Ambulatory Payment Groups (EAPGs)  related to implementation of the new  payment system implemented July 2014. The errors caused significant numbers of outpatient prospective payment hospital Medicaid claims to be underpaid or denied. HCA has agreed that as programming... Read More >>

Exchange Open Enrollment Extended

The Washington Health Benefits Exchange (Exchange) announced this week it would be giving people two more months – until April 17 – to enroll for 2015 coverage in qualified health plans. This special enrollment period applies to people that have experienced technical problems or just recently discovered the financial impacts of the individual mandate. Recently, the Exchange experienced a... Read More >>

Court Victory May Impact Medicaid DSH Payments

Court Victory May Impact Medicaid DSH Payments A recent court victory by Seattle Children’s Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital may significantly impact how Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) payments are distributed by Washington State and other states. The Washington State Health Care Authority is in the process of analyzing the details of the injunction.  ... Read More >>

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