On March 9, the House and Senate released their final supplemental budget for the remainder of the 2021-2023 biennium. The budget was passed on March 10 just prior to end of the legislative session.
WSHA is pleased that all of WSHA’s budget priorities are funded in the final budget. Combined funding for WSHA’s four budget priorities includes $525.2 million state and $861.2 million total funds. WSHA is particularly pleased with the funding for the Department of Social Health Services (DSHS) Long Term Care, DSHS Developmental Disability Administration, and Health Care Authority to address barriers related to difficult-to-discharge and long-length-of-stay patients. This unprecedented funding is a direct result of strong advocacy by WSHA, hospitals and our partners.
Our top budget priorities for this supplemental budget include (note funding amounts are derived from WSHA’s more detailed budget analysis):
- Health care workforce education and pipeline — The final budget funds $5 million for 180 nursing education slots at the University of Washington ($1.2 million) and in community colleges ($3.8 million), and $6.2 million for development of a Bachelor of Nursing program at Eastern Washington University that will create 40 nursing education slots. The budget also funds additional simulation labs for nurse training at $15.2 million. $47.8 million state, $49.8 million total funds.
- Difficult to discharge and long length of stay – Investing in the long-term care system to ensure patients who are ready to discharge have an appropriate place to receive long-term services and supports during the pandemic and beyond. The budget funds virtually all of our difficult-to-discharge priorities in some form. This was greatly enhanced by the governor’s Hospital Staffing Initiative. $269.3 million state, $548.7 million total funds.
- Behavioral health – Improving the behavioral health system of care across the continuum. The budget makes significant investments in behavioral health, including WSHA’s top priorities. $206.8 million state and $261.4 million total funds.
- Washington Medical Coordinating Center – Sustaining the WMCC through the biennium so it is ready to level-load patients across the state during an emergency, such as another COVID-19 surge. The budget fully funds the WMCC for the remainder of the biennium. $1.3 million state funds.
For more information, see our recent Inside Olympia and detailed budget analysis. (Ashlen Strong, AshlenS@wsha.org)