WSHA at work on legislative Issues impacting hospitals

February 15, 2017

WSHA staff is currently engaged in many bills and issues this legislative session that will affect hospitals financial status. (Please click the hyperlink for each issue to get further description). These include:

Providing Safe Care at Ambulatory Surgical Facilities

WSHA opposes SB 5593, which would allow ambulatory surgical facilities (ASFs) to add “postsurgical care centers” for patients who require up to 72 hours of post-treatment care. Currently, ASFs are limited to providing surgeries only if the patient can be sent home in less than 24 hours. WSHA opposes the bill since ASFs would not need to follow the same requirements that hospitals must follow to protect patient safety and quality.  (Zosia Stanley)

New reporting and oversight requirements threaten to stall community partnerships that maintain access to care

In response to the needs of patients, hospitals and other health care providers have been working hard to provide more integrated care, often through provider affiliations. WSHA opposes HB 1811 as it would create a significant new notification requirement by mandating affiliating providers and hospitals notify the state 30 days prior to a deal being finalized. Affiliation arrangements are broadly defined and would include mergers, acquisitions, contracting affiliations, and more. This could discourage and delay affiliations among providers that can strengthen local provider practices and hospital services. (Zosia Stanley)

Budget cuts to hospital-based clinics could be $75 million per year

The Health Care Authority recently provided WSHA with details on the proposed Governor’s budget cuts to hospital-based clinics. Under the proposal, the cuts would affect all services provided in off-campus hospital department locations, including hospital-based clinics. The payment amounts would be reduced to about half of what is currently paid for these services. WSHA adamantly opposes these cuts to crucial hospital services. We believe the cuts seriously threaten the financial viability of access for Medicaid and other patients served through off-campus hospital clinics. (Andrew Busz)

Requirements for nurse staffing ratios

Safe staffing is a crucial component of patient safety, but mandating inflexible nurse staffing ratios or stringent meal and rest break requirements does not improve patient care or outcomes. WSHA is opposing two bills that would deprive hospitals of needed flexibility to staff based on patient care needs. HB 1714 directs the Department of Health to establish staffing ratios for hospitals. The bill also gives the Department substantial fining authority if ratios are not met. HB 1715 requires meal and rest breaks be uninterrupted and prohibits health care facilities from using prescheduled on-call. (Ian Corbridge)


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