A highlight reel of Washington health care bills on-the-move

The cut-off for the Washington State Legislature to pass bills out of committee and read them into the record on the floor in the house of origin is just 10 days away.

As we approach that deadline, the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee have passed a combined 45 bills and one joint memorial that will continue (for now) on the path to law as the session continues.

Here are some highlights from the bills that are on-the-move in the health care committees:

  • HB 1016: If a hospital doesn’t perform sexual assault evidence kit collection or doesn’t have an appropriate provider available, it would have to notify anyone who requests a kit and coordinate care with a local agency to help them find an appropriate provider. This bill has already passed the House unanimously and has been referred to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

  • SHB 1023 would let adult family homes that meet certain requirements increase their bed capacity from six to eight beds. This bill also passed the House unanimously and has been referred to the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee.

  • SHB 1065 would regulate the practice of “balance billing” — when a patient gets services through an out-of-network provider and has to pay the difference between those costs and an in-network provider’s costs. The bill would also change requirements for coverage of emergency services provided by an out-of-network emergency department, lay out an arbitration process for settling balance-billing disputes, and require providers, carriers, and facilities to post information about when a consumer might be balance billed online.

    bill addressing balance billing passed out of the Senate committee, as well, but the two aren’t companion bills.

  • HB 1074/SSB 5057 would raise the age for purchasing tobacco products to 21 from 18.

  • SHB 1087/SSB 5331 would set up the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program. Washington workers would pay in 0.58 percent of their wages and eventually be able to claim benefits for services needed for daily life. More on the House bill here.

  • SHB 1240 would establish the Washington Youth Suicide Review Team, which would review the circumstances around every instance of suicide among people age 24 and under during the year 2018.

  • SHB 1394: Under this bill, the Department of Health could license or certify community-based residential treatment facilities for behavioral health patients. It would also extend the suspension of the “certificate of need requirement” — a process that’s usually required before the construction, renovation, or sale of a health care facility — for certain facilities that would have expired in June 2019. This would allow certain psychiatric facilities to add beds and for the construction of new psychiatric hospitals with 16 beds or fewer  without first going through that process.

    This bill comes at the request of Gov. Jay Inslee and is part of his plan for transforming Washington’s behavioral health care system.

  • SB 5415: The Washington Indian Health Improvement Act would establish “the Governor’s Indian Health Advisory Council” to create the “Indian Health Improvement Advisory Plan” and create an account to fund programs that are part of that plan.

  • SB 5319: Would apply the Medicare payment rate floor to primary care services for Medicaid enrollees.

  • SB 5292: Would require issuers and drug manufacturers to report some drug pricing data to the Office of Financial Management, require manufacturers to report and justify price increases to OFM and purchasers, and require OFM to provide yearly reports on the data to the Legislature.

  • Three bills in the Senate (5147, 5206, 5301) that would provide sales and use tax exemptions for certain items. One of the bills would apply to diapers and two would apply to feminine hygiene products.

It’s also worth nothing that the newly created Senate Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health & Long Term Care has passed one bill out of committee: SB 5637, which would provide tax relief for some entities that deliver behavioral health and mental health services.