In this week’s update:
- Week 4 Recap
- WSNA Lobby Day
- Powerful Testimony on Health System Transparency
- Worker Protection Bills
This week, WSNA hosted our first-ever virtual Lobby Day – thank you to everyone who attended!
Next week is the fifth week of the 2021 legislative session, and the last week for bills to be heard in House of Origin policy committees. The policy committee cut of is Feb. 15, followed quickly by the fiscal committee cutoff on Feb. 22. Several of WSNA’s priority bills are scheduled to move out of committee next week.
WSNA Lobby Day
Powerful Testimony on Health System Transparency
Rep. Macri’s Health System Transparency bill, HB 1272, had a hearing in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee on Thursday. This bill requires non-profit and public hospitals to report more detailed information on their finances, staffing decisions and patient data. The bill also requires increased reporting on hospital Community Benefit spending – money that must be invested in addressing community health needs; this is a requirement under the Affordable Care Act for a hospital to receive non-profit status.
The committee heard moving testimony from community members who would like to see more accountability for Community Benefit spending, especially ensuring that these dollars are invested in communities facing the greatest health inequities. WSNA member Danielle O’Toole testified that transparency is necessary and can help show where financial decisions supersede patient safety decisions. Dr. Ben Danielson, who recently resigned as Chief Medical Officer at Seattle Children’s Odessa Brown Clinic, spoke to his own concerns that hospitals in Washington state are not accountable to the communities they serve. Dr. Danielson said that increased transparency can help provide accountability.
The bill is scheduled to be voted on in the House Health Care & Wellness Committee on Feb. 10.
Worker Protection Bills
WSNA is continuing to advocate for several worker protection bills that are scheduled to be voted out of their respective policy committees:
- Worker Protection Act (HB 1076): The Worker Protection Act gives workers a new way to help enforce the standards Washington state has said are important, things like meal and rest breaks, wage theft, and safety violations. This bill was voted out of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee today.
- Health Care Worker Presumptive Benefits (SB 5190): This bill creates a presumptive eligibility for workers compensation and unemployment insurance for health care workers who contract COVID-19 or another virus or disease that is the subject of a public health emergency. SB 5190 is scheduled to be voted out of the Senate Health & Long Term Care Committee on Feb. 10.
- Increasing Worker Protections (HB 1097): This bill creates new protections around retaliation for reporting unsafe workplace conditions. It was voted out of the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee on Wednesday.
Please look for regular email updates on legislative action as the legislative session gets underway – we look forward to your participation in the process!