WSHA Provides Guidance on Hospital Signage and Communication Requirements in Washington State

December 2, 2016

State and federal laws require hospitals to provide an array of notice and signage to patients, workforce members and the public. The Washington State Office of the Attorney General has in recent months stepped up its investigation of hospital compliance with these types of requirements. Hospitals could be subject to significant penalties if found to be out of compliance.

For example, the Attorney General’s Office recently alleged that a Washington hospital did not provide required notice of facility fees that would be charged to patients at a few of its urgent care clinics licensed as remote outpatient hospital locations. Under state law, locations that charge the hospital facility component separately from the professional billing must notify patients through signage and written notice that the facility is part of the hospital and the patient may incur greater out of pocket expense. Although ultimately there was no finding of liability, the hospital incurred significant costs in responding to the investigation and reaching agreement with the Attorney General to discontinue its investigation.

WSHA provides a listing of existing state and federal signage and communications requirements applicable to hospitals.  While not exhaustive, this resource includes citation to the relevant law, a summary of the requirement, and links to relevant mandatory or WSHA model language. (Zosia Stanley,


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