In response to the release of a Uniform Facility Enforcement Framework (UFEF) bill, which proposes to create expanded oversight and enforcement tools, including facility fines, as required under SHB 2426 (2020), WSHA has submitted feedback to the Department of Health (DOH). The sections of this bill – which cover pharmacies, birthing centers, behavioral health agencies, ambulatory surgical facilities, and medical test sites – closely mirror the prior uniform facility enforcement bills. WSHA also submitted input on a recent preproposal draft rule for E2SHB 1688 (2022). E2SHB 1688 aligns the state’s Balance Billing Protection Act with the federal No Surprises Act and adds balance billing protections for emergency and crisis behavioral health services. Finally, WSHA has made comments regarding the implementation of and rulemaking for ESSB 1196 on audio-only telemedicine.
The UFEF bill has initially been proposed for comment in two parts: one to be reviewed by DOH and the other to be reviewed by the Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission (PQAC), a subsection of DOH. WSHA’s comments primarily focus on the potential risk of duplicate fines (or other enforcement actions) against facilities holding multiple licenses. WSHA proposed alternative bill language to DOH that would remedy this issue. WSHA also submitted comments to PQAC regarding the clarification of defined terms and the ability to distinguish between individual licensees and facilities in pharmacy enforcement actions. WSHA will remain in engaged with this bill through the 2023 session.
For the preproposal draft rule for E2SHB 1688, WSHA commented that the definition of “outpatient hospital department” in the draft rule is inconsistent with the definitions used by HCA, DOH and CMS. Because the proposed definition exceeds the scope of current law and does not match legislative intent, WSHA recommended that the rule either omit the definition or use a definition of outpatient hospital department consistent with the definition in RCW 70.01.040.
For ESSB 1196 on audio-only telemedicine, WSHA has proposed that HCA works to ensure that the rules align with authorizing law and with generally accepted health care practices and standards. WSHA also made comments regarding the proposed recordkeeping rules to ensure that unnecessary administrative burdens are minimized.