Both the Washington State Senate and House of Representatives released their budget proposals in late March – and both provided significant new funding for Foundational Public Health Services.
WSNA and the Washington State Medical Association issued the following joint statement to budget leadership on March 28.
Senator Rolfes, Representative Ormsby, Senator Robinson, and Representative Macri,
Thank you for the significant investment in Foundational Public Health Services included in both the Senate and House budget proposals. The pandemic has made clear the dire need for deepening our investments in Foundational Public Health Services, as well as the need to address the harmful, persistent inequities in health access and awareness.
Over the last year, our public health and health provider communities have responded urgently and skillfully to manage the COVID-19 pandemic – despite decades of shrinking funding that left many local health jurisdictions ill-prepared to manage a pandemic of such proportions. Our experience of the past year has made clear that we must do more to ensure we are adequately prepared for the next health emergency. The pandemic has also laid bare persistent health inequities that impact the lives of our BIPOC communities.
To that end, we urge you to include new and ongoing investments in Foundational Public Health Services in the final budget, at the $150 million level that was included in the Senate budget.
For 20 years, the Washington State Medical Association and Washington State Nurses Association have advocated for a stable, dedicated, long-term funding source for public health. The 30,000 health care providers we collectively represent rely on a strong public health system; that was clearer than ever when COVID-19 threatened to quickly overwhelm our health care system.
This is a defining moment, and our state must learn from this crisis. Your investments in Foundational Public Health Services will help transform our public health system to prevent and respond to health emergencies and to work better for every Washington resident.
We appreciate the work you have done this session to spotlight the importance of Washington’s public health community. Please know our state’s nurses and physicians fully support significant, long-term funding for Foundational Public Health Services – our future depends on it.
Lynnette Vehrs, MN, RN
Washington State Nurses Association
Nathan Schlicher, MD, JD, MBA
Washington State Medical Association
We will continue to keep you updated on both HB 1152 and FPHS funding in the budgets as session continues.
Questions? Contact Jennifer Muhm, WSNA Director of Public Affairs, at firstname.lastname@example.org.