News

WSNA in Olympia: 2021 Legislative Session Week 4


In this week’s update:

        • Week 4 Recap
        • WSNA Lobby Day
        • Powerful Testi­mony on Health System Transparency
        • Worker Protec­tion Bills

Week 4

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.

All hearings and meetings with legis­la­tors continue to take place over Zoom and are being aired on TVW. WSNA’s 2021 Legisla­tive Prior­i­ties are avail­able online.

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WSNA Lobby Day

On Thursday, WSNA held its first ever virtual Lobby Day over Zoom. Thank you to everyone who partic­i­pated from around the state. It was very impactful for legis­la­tors to hear your stories from working on the front­lines of COVID in our hospi­tals, schools, public health agencies, and Veterans’ Homes.
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2021 2 4 WSNA with Representative Shewmake

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.

210204 hb 1272 otoole

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!