State regulations have a big impact on hospitals, health systems and their patients. WSHA tracks rulemaking activity throughout the state and works closely with regulatory agencies, as well as other groups, to advocate for a reasonable regulatory environment. All statewide rulemaking activity is published in the Washington State Register.
(Updated: November 17, 2020)
There are several regulatory issues at the top of WSHA’s priority list for November, including:
Behavioral Health Agencies (BHA) Rules Re-Write- Last month the Department of Health (DOH) wrapped up its rules workshop series for Chapter 246-341 WAC, governing Behavioral Health Agencies (BHAs). WSHA was heavily involved in the workshops, as were many hospital members. All hospitals that provide behavioral health services in Washington including inpatient and outpatient mental health and substance use disorder treatment, on a voluntary and involuntary basis, are subject to the BHA rules. DOH spent several months meetings with WSHA, Washington hospitals and other stakeholders to revise the regulations. WSHA submitted several written comments to DOH, including the final comments available here. DOH is now conducting an economic survey to determine any financial impact that the proposed changes to chapter 246-341 might have. Please complete the survey by November 25, available here. See the draft WAC language and the summary matrix of changes for more details. (Jaclyn Greenberg)
Balance Billing Protection Act (BBPA) – The Office of the Insurance Commissioner (OIC) issued final rules that make revisions to the 2019 Balance Billing Protection Act rules. The CR-103 revises the arbitration process, provider and consumer notification provisions, and OIC’s BBPA enforcement duties. WSHA actively participated in this rulemaking and will distribute a bulletin regarding the changes. (Andrew Busz)
Clean Buildings– The Department of Commerce (COM) issued the final rules for the state’s new Clean Buildings standards. The rules require all commercial buildings over 50,000 square feet, including hospitals, to meet specific energy use intensity targets by adopting energy efficiency measures. Compliance dates for the standards are staggered by building size. Buildings 220,000 square feet and above must comply by June 1, 2026; buildings between 90,000 and 220,000 square feet must comply by June 1, 2027; and buildings between 50,000 square feet and 90,000 square feet must comply by June 1, 2028. WSHA will be releasing a bulletin on the new regulations before the end of 2020.
WSHA actively engaged in the rulemaking process and provided feedback that made the rules more appropriate for hospitals. WSHA’s comments resulted in a higher energy use target for hospitals, better classification of medical office buildings, and an allowance for health care buildings to account for electronic systems that operate 24/7 to protect patient safety. WSHA will continue its advocacy by participating in the development of early adopter incentives for the clean building standards. (David Streeter)
Medical Test Site Fees– The Department of Health issued a final order that raises medical test site licensing and renewal fees by 25% for all license categories. DOH raised the fees “to address the rising costs of the medical test site program, address the negative cash flow, and build the recommended reserve.” The CR-103 contains the updated fee schedule that took effect November 1, 2020. (David Streeter)