WSHA briefs lawmakers on top health care issues

December 6, 2023

This week, we partnered with members from across the state to host a virtual briefing for state legislators on the top issues facing hospitals and health care as we approach the 2024 legislative session.

Our briefing emphasized that hospitals are the only organizations that provide 24/7 access to emergency and specialty services, like intensive care units, cancer care and life-saving surgery. These services are expensive to provide, and with inflation in the last few years, costs for supplies, labor and equipment have skyrocketed, outpacing contacted increases in hospital payment. Due to contracts and set government reimbursement rates, hospitals cannot increase prices to cover rising costs and cannot forgo the purchase of supplies and equipment without harming patient access.

This was the first briefing WSHA held for lawmakers since the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we appreciated their interest and engagement in learning about health care challenges. Having a better understanding of these topics will enable them to make more informed policy decisions as they carry out their legislative duties.

Joining us on the briefing were Newport Hospital & Health Services CEO Merry Ann Keane, Confluence
Health CEO Dr. Andrew Jones, EvergreenHealth CEO Dr. Ettore Pallazzo, and MultiCare Executive Vice President and Chief Quality, Safety and Nursing Officer June Altaras. We want to thank them each for telling their stories to lawmakers and helping them understand health care challenges.

The 2024 state legislative session kicks off Monday, Jan. 8. This will be preceded by the governor’s supplemental budget in the next few weeks. We will hold a members-only legislative session kickoff webcast from noon-1 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 10. Keep an eye out for an invitation soon.


Jacqueline Barton True
WSHA Vice President, Advocacy and Rural Health




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