Expanding Mental Health Capacity

HB 1546 and SB 5434 (companion bills) would allow general-acute care and freestanding psychiatric community hospitals to provide long-term, court-ordered mental health services. Currently, long-term mental health patients go to Eastern State Hospital and Western State Hospital, when there is a bed available. Patients could be better served when closer to home, communities and families. Patients transitioned out of care when close to home with community supports are less likely to be readmitted.... Read More >>

Duty to Warn

House Bill 1810 will clarify that mental health providers have a duty to warn potential victims and law enforcement when a patient makes an actual threat of physical violence against the reasonably identifiable victim or victims. This long standing standard for when a duty exists was abandoned by the Supreme Court when the court determined the question of whether the warning was adequately made is dependent on the facts and circumstances in the case. ... Read More >>

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse

HB 1426 and SB 5248 would expand access to PMP data, letting facilities and providers examine larger prescription trends in an effort to improve prescribing patterns and decrease unnecessary opiate prescriptions. It would also create a system to notify providers when their patient has an overdose event.... Read More >>

Charity Care

Washington’s hospitals are committed to ensuring patients get the hospital care they need regardless of their ability to pay for that care. Providing health care to those that cannot afford to pay is part of the mission of Washington’s hospitals, and state law requires hospitals to provide free and discounted inpatient and outpatient care. To assist patients, WSHA has developed a standard financial assistance application form and a standard plan for communicating about financial assistance (charity care).... Read More >>

Requirements to Nurse Staffing Ratios

Safe staffing is a crucial component of patient safety, but mandating inflexible nurse staffing ratios or stringent meal and rest break requirements does not improve patient care or outcomes. Staffing ratios, also called patient assignment limits or minimum staffing standards, are mandated only in California and data does not demonstrate improved patient care. ... Read More >>

Hearings this week on physician licensure compact

The Senate Health Care Committee and House Health Care & Wellness Committee will have hearings this week on legislation to create an interstate physician licensure compact (HB 1337 and SB 5221). The compact would allow physicians to more efficiently become licensed to practice in multiple states. It would also allow Washington State to maintain local control and accountability of physicians’ licensure and disciplinary actions.... Read More >>

Busy weeks ahead

This week is light on hearings for our bills, but we expect that to change shortly, with many of WSHA's issues coming up in House and Senate committees. Among the issues that will be coming are nurse staffing requirements and the use of noncompete clauses when recruiting physicians.... Read More >>

WSHA testified with concerns on balance billing legislation

WSHA testified at House Health Care & Wellness Committee's hearing last Wednesday on the Office of the Insurance Commissioner's proposed legislation on balance billing (HB 1117).... Read More >>

The latest ACA news: Webcast on Wednesday

Proposed changes to the Affordable Care Act will have a significant impact on hospitals and communities. We would like to invite you to a webcast.... Read More >>

Proposed legislation from OIC restricts balance billing

As expected, the Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) has submitted legislation (HB 1117) to protect patients from receiving balanced bills. The legislation is aimed at protecting patients who use an in-network hospital but then receive an additional "balance" bill from an out-of-network provider for care during the stay. This typically arises when a health plan has failed to reach a network contract agreement with some of the providers practicing at the facility, such as ER, anesthesiology, pathology, and radiology groups.... Read More >>

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