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We're working on an opportunity to expand telemedicine and helping hospitals protect their investments in physicians. Also, Friday was the deadline for most bills to move out of their committees.

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Editor: Mary Kay Clunies-Ross (206) 216-2894
In this issue:

An opportunity to expand telemedicine: Support SB 6519


Washington State has a significant opportunity to expand services delivered through telemedicine with Senate Bill 6519. This year’s bill, sponsored by Senator Becker, seeks to allow patients to have virtual provider visits in their homes starting in January 2018. WSHA strongly supports this bill and testified last week. We are working with Senator Becker to refine the bill. The bill would also create a collaborative that would meet over the next two years to recommend to the legislature other advancements in telemedicine and telehealth.
 
While our state made crucial steps forward with last year’s telemedicine law, the recognition of providing care outside of traditional health care institutions (e.g. the home or other appropriate setting) will make substantial improvements in flexibility for patient care delivery. This bill would help ensure that patients are getting the crucial care they need, especially for chronic diseases and follow up visits. The bill passed out of the Senate Health Care Committee last week and we hope it will soon be headed to the Senate floor.
 
For more information, contact Chelene Whiteaker. (206/216-2545).
 

Banning non-compete clauses would prevent hospitals and health systems from protecting investments in physicians: Oppose HB 2931


Two bills have advanced through the House Labor & Workplace Standards Committee that would limit the use of non-compete clauses in employment contracts in Washington State.
 
Many hospitals and physician groups in Washington State use non-compete clauses in physician contracting. Hospitals that use non-compete clauses consider them an important and necessary tool to protect hospital investments in physicians.
 
House Bill 2931 broadly applies to all employers and employees in the state. The bill proposes to ban non-compete clauses for workers who are temporary, seasonal, terminated without just cause, laid off or are independent contractors. It also creates a presumption that non-compete clauses are limited to a one-year duration, and that non-compete clauses cannot be used unless an employee meets the definition of an “executive” employee. Non-compete clauses are an important tool for hospitals to protect their investments in physicians, especially in communities where recruiting primary or specialty physicians can be difficult. These communities often need to heavily subsidize physicians to recruit them. Non-compete clauses enable hospitals to be good stewards of resources and ensure their investments are recouped. HB 2931 would stunt any employer’s ability to use non-compete clauses, and in many cases ban them entirely. WSHA strongly opposes it.
 
House Bill 2406 bans the use of non-compete agreements for hair designers, cosmetologists, barbers, manicurists, estheticians, drywall applicators, musicians and fast-food workers. WSHA is neutral on the bill as drafted. However, we are watching it closely as the bill’s broad title could allow other professionals to be added to the list.
 
Both bills now go to the House Rules Committee for consideration. Senate Bill 6625 sought to ban non-compete clauses for hourly workers, but it did not move beyond its committee. For more information, contact Zosia Stanley. (206/216-2511).
 

After cutoff: Bills still alive 


It was an exciting week leading up to Friday’s cutoff for bills to be voted out of their original policy committee. (Cutoff calendar is here.) To make it easy, we’ve listed all of the major bills we’ve been tracking. This is just a partial list; WSHA/AWPHD staff have reviewed more than 300 bills thus far.
 
Bills that have not moved out of their committee are most likely dead for the session, but nothing is really dead until session is adjourned. Components of “dead” bills can be added to other bills that are still “alive,” and bills that are necessary to implement the budget are exempt from cutoffs. We will be very carefully reading amendments as bills continue to move.
 
Below is the status of WSHA/AWPHD’s top priority bills that are still alive. Once the cutoff for bills to move from their original house has passed, we will update you about bills that have died. We have successfully opposed a number of important bills that are not moving forward.

Bills WSHA supports
Bill number Short description
ESHB 1713 Integrating the treatment systems for mental health and chemical dependency.
HB 2080 Concerning fingerprint-based background checks for health professionals.
HB 2335 Addressing health care provider credentialing.
HB 2350 Defining the administration of medication by medical assistants.
HB 2439 Increasing access to adequate and appropriate mental health services for children and youth.
HB 2450 Allowing critical access hospitals participating in the Washington rural health access preservation pilot to resume critical access hospital payment and licensure.
HB 2452 Creating the interstate medical licensure compact.
HB 2652 Concerning the maintenance and disclosure of health care declarations.
HB 2711 Increasing the availability of sexual assault nurse examiners.
HB 2730 Concerning the prescription drug monitoring program.
SB 6036 Requiring certain health professionals to provide information on primary place of practice at the time of license renewal.
SB 6203 Updating statutes relating to the practice of pharmacy including the practice of pharmacy in long-term care settings.
SB 6322 Concerning the payment of health services by hospitals for inmates.
SB 6336 Addressing health care provider credentialing.
SB 6445 Clarifying the role of physician assistants in the delivery of mental health services.
SB 6494 Increasing access to adequate and appropriate mental health services for children and youth.
SB 6519 Expanding patient access to health services through telemedicine and establishing a collaborative for the advancement of telemedicine.
SB 6558 Allowing a hospital pharmacy license to include individual practitioner offices and multipracitioner clinics owned and operated by a hospital and ensuring such offices and clinics are inspected according to the level of service provided.
SB 6569 Creating a task force on patient out-of-pocket costs.
 
 
Bills AWPHD supports
Bill number Short description
HB 2576 Concerning public records act requests to local agencies.
HB 2771/SB 6214 Concerning public hospital district contracts for material and work.
HB 2772/SB 6213 Concerning job order contracts by public hospital districts.


Bills AWPHD opposes
Bill number Short description
SB 6021 Requiring the voters to ratify the agreement between public hospital district No. 1 of King county and UW Medicine.
SB 6312 Regulating the core legislative powers of elected commissioners of a public hospital district.

For more information, contact Cassie Sauer. (206/216-2538).
 

Thank you for last week!


We are very thankful for everyone who comes to Olympia to testify! Your testimony is essential for helping legislators and the public to understand the real impact of proposed legislation. Last week, we were pleased to have testimony from:
  • Dr. John Scott, UW Medicine
  • Matt Levi, CHI Franciscan Health
  • Glenn Adams, Confluence Health
  • Vikki Noyes, Confluence Health

Resources


WSHA legislative priorities for 2016 (also includes one-page issue briefs about WSHA's top issues)
 
Governor’s budget

C
ontact your legislator information

Find more policy and advocacy news and resources on our website here!

Copyright © 2016 Washington State Hospital Association, All rights reserved.


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