Week in Review

Bills that impact the state budget had another major cutoff last week, when they were supposed to have been voted on by their fiscal committees. By March 11, bills must be voted on and passed by their house of origin. Although the hearing schedule is significantly lighter when compared to the early weeks of the... Read More >>

Overview

It was an exciting week leading up to Friday’s cutoff for bills to be voted out of their committee. (Cutoff calendar is here) To make it easy, we’ve listed all of the major bills we’ve been tracking—the first table is the bills that have been passed out of committee, and the second table is the... Read More >>

HB 1870: Prohibiting Certificate of Need for Partnerships Among Washington State Hospitals

Representatives Joe Schmick and Eileen Cody have introduced a bill that would prohibit the Department of Health from giving a Certificate of Need (CN) for a purchase, sale, or lease of a hospital to any entity that already owns a hospital in Washington State. Under the current CN law, this would only apply to true... Read More >>

Wellness Trust – HB 1946

HB 1946, sponsored by Rep. Laurie Jinkins, would tax hospitals at 6 percent of revenue to fund a “Wellness Trust.” The trust would be used to fund local public health departments and mental health services. This tax would be levied on revenue less charity care and community benefit spending. WSHA is strongly opposed to a... Read More >>

Key Boarding Bills Being Heard

On Friday, two bills were added to the Senate schedule related to last year’s state Supreme Court decision to end the practice of psychiatric boarding.   We support SB 5645, a simple bill to create a mechanism for the state to track cases when people who meet detention criteria, but for whom no appropriate bed... Read More >>

Telemedicine in Senate and House

The telemedicine bill that WSHA and its members support has hearings in the Senate and House this week, House Bill 1403 and Senate Bill 5175. (Download the issue brief here.) This legislation is a top priority for us this session. It guarantees that if an insurer covers a service in person, they will also cover... Read More >>

Minding the Budget Gap

The legislature has been off and running since it was called into session last Monday. The House and Senate are in full swing, considering bills and debating the Governor’s budget proposals. One of the bigger pieces of news from this first week was the passage of a Senate rule requiring a 2/3 majority vote for new... Read More >>

Governor Inslee’s Budget: Steps Forward, Steps Backward, New Taxes

The Big Budget Picture Today, Governor Jay Inslee released his proposed budget for the 2015-2017 biennium. Despite increasing stability in the overall economy and modestly increased state revenues, the state’s budget is facing a multi-billion dollar gap because of the pressures of the McCleary education decision, the class size initiative, the mental health court decisions,... Read More >>

HCA Proposes $42 Million Cut to Hospital-Based Clinic Payments: Your Action Needed

Background:  The state has begun its process to develop a budget proposal for the upcoming biennium, state fiscal years 2015 to 2017. The process starts with agency recommendations to the Governor, for his proposed budget, usually released in December. The Health Care Authority’s (HCA’s) recommendations to the Governor included a cut to the Medicaid payment rates for hospital-based clinics... Read More >>

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