WSHA sent a bulletin to members alerting that updates to Washington State’s Notifiable Conditions regulations in chapter 246-101 WAC are set to take effect Jan. 31, 2022. The current regulations list specific health conditions that must be reported to local health jurisdictions (LHJ) and the Department of Health (DOH); the information that is reported; and the reporting process.
However, the current regulations took effect in 2011 and have not been updated until now. Because of this, the current regulations omit new conditions identified as warranting notification to LHJs and DOH. The current regulations also do not officially require reporting entities to collect patient demographic information, which creates challenges for tracking conditions across populations. To address these issues, the regulatory revisions:
- Require health care facilities, health care providers, and laboratories to collect extensive patient race, language and ethnicity data;
- Clarify the reporting process for conditions deemed notifiable and eliminate phone calls as a reporting method; and
- Add 21 new conditions to the list of conditions that are deemed notifiable to LHJs and DOH.
Hospitals should begin preparing to comply with the revised regulations in advance of their effective date. Preparations may include developing new procedures for collecting and reporting the expanded patient demographic data and adjusting electronic health record systems to store the additional patient data. WSHA is currently working with hospitals that are piloting processes to improve the collection of patient demographic data through culturally sensitive methods. As part of that work, WSHA has compiled a list of resources hospitals can use to plan for patient data collection. Please contact Abby Berube at email@example.com for information and additional resources. Click here to read WSHA’s bulletin on the new requirements.