Ensuring Social Justice
Health Care, Behavioral Health, and Reproductive Rights

Ensure affordable and accessible health care for all.


Issue Chair: Kim Abbey, kabbey@lwvwa.org, (206) 387-6134
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Now in Health Care, Behavioral Health, and Reproductive Rights

The week of April 12-17 is the second to last week of the 15-week legislative session. Four bills listed below have been signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House and will go to the governor’s desk for signature. The bills below under ‘Bills that Need Action This Week’ are bills that are still in one of the Rules committees as of late on Saturday night, April 11. Your legislators are working all day Saturday and Sunday, April 11 and 12. Before taking action look up the bill in www.leg.wa.gov to see if the legislature has voted on it this past weekend.

 

Bills the League Supports That Passed

HB 1007 Concerning the completion of supervised experience for social work students through distance supervision. Sponsor: Rep. Klippert.    

 Passed! Passed by a vote on the House floor and is now in the Senate. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 10 and was voted do pass on March 12. On March 30 this bill passed unanimously on a Senate floor vote. Signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. Delivered to the governor.

HB 1009 Concerning student health plans. Sponsor: Rep. My-Linh Thai. A student health plan issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2022, is subject to the abortion requirements applicable to other health plans. 

 Passed! Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 17 and a vote taken on March 19 and voted do pass. Came out of the House Rules committee and passed on a floor vote on April 6. Signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. 


SB 5068 Improving maternal health outcomes by extending coverage during the postpartum period. Sponsor: Sen. Randall. Postpartum Medicaid coverage currently ends 60 days after pregnancy. Extending health care coverage through the first year postpartum is one of the best tools for increasing access to care and improving maternal and infant health. 

 Passed! Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on March 10 and voted do pass. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 18 and was voted do pass on March 22. Passed on a floor vote on April 5. Signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House.

SB 5325 Concerning audio-only telemedicine.  Sponsor: Sen. Muzzall. Removes the age limitation on telemedicine reimbursement requirements applicable to behavioral health administrative services organizations.

Passed! Passed on a floor vote on April 6. The President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House signed on April 8.


Bills That Need Action This Week

HB 1074 Concerning overdose and suicide fatality reviews. Sponsor: Rep. Strom Peterson. A local health department may establish multidisciplinary overdose and suicide fatality review teams to review overdose or suicide deaths and to develop strategies for the prevention of overdose and suicide fatalities.

Action Alert Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health and Long Term Care on March 12. Had a vote taken in that committee on March 19 and was voted do pass. Referred to the Senate Rules Committee. If your legislator sits on that committee, or is a sponsor, ask your legislator to support this bill.

HB 1141 Increasing access to the death with dignity act. Sponsor: Rep. Rude. Makes changes to the 2009 Death with Dignity Act, mainly changes ‘physician’ to ‘qualified medical provider.’ Hospice care is increasingly provided by advanced registered nurse practitioners and physician assistants, especially in rural areas. Eliminates the 15-day waiting period and reduces it to 72 hours. A contract employer may not prevent a health care provider from participating in Death with Dignity Act of 2009 so long as they act independently and at a location that is not on the hospital facility premises.


Action Alert Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 17 and voted do pass on March 26 by a close vote of 7-5 and is now in the Senate Rules committee. Ask your own senator to support this bill.


HB 1152 Supporting measures to create comprehensive public health districts. Sponsor: Rep. Riccelli. Requested by the Office of the Governor. A work group is created to develop and recommend to the secretary a public health system to provide foundational public health services to all people in Washington through comprehensive public health districts and the department. 

Action Alert Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 24 and voted do pass on March 26. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on March 31 and a vote taken on April 2 and voted do pass and is now in the Senate Rules committee. Ask your own senator to support this bill.


HB 1196 Concerning audio-only telemedicine. Sponsor: Rep. Riccelli. Requires reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services. Requires the insurance commissioner to study and make recommendations regarding telemedicine.            

 Action Alert Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 12 and voted do pass on March 26. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on March 31 and a vote taken on April 2 and voted do pass and referred  the Senate Rules Committee. Ask your own senator to support this bill.


HB 1316 Concerning the hospital safety net assessment. Sponsor: Rep. Cody. Continues to allow revenues from the Hospital Safety Net Assessment program to be used in lieu of State General Fund payments for Medicaid hospital services through the 2023-25 biennium.

 Action Alert Came out of the House Rules committee and passed on a floor vote on April 6. Scheduled for public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Sunday, April 10 at 8:00 AM and is scheduled for executive session in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on Monday, April 12 at 10:00 AM. Ask your own senator to support this bill.

HB 1323 Concerning the long-term services and supports trust program. Sponsor: Rep. Tharinger. In May 2019, the governor signed a law, creating the nation’s first Long Term Care Trust by January 2021. HB 1323 is necessary to define details for workers enrolled in the Long Term Care Trust and outlines the roles of the Health Care Authority, the DSHS, and the Employment Security Department who will collaborate to manage the program.


 Action Alert Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care March 22 and a voted do pass on March 26 and referred to the Senate Rules Committee. Ask your senators to support this bill.


HB 1477 Implementing the national 988 system to enhance and expand behavioral health crisis response and suicide prevention services. Sponsor: Rep. Orwall. The Health Care Authority (HCA) must collaborate with the Department of Health (DOH) to establish state crisis call center hubs and an enhanced crisis response system. A very complex bill involving multiple agencies to develop new technologies, establish funding sources.

 Status Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee on March 19 and voted do pass on March 26. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on April 5 and scheduled for a vote on Monday, April 12.


SB 5071 Creating transition teams to assist specified persons under civil commitment. Sponsor: Sen. Dhingra. This bill would require the court to specify the name of a behavioral health agency responsible for supervising the outpatient release of a person who has been civilly committed following a finding of not guilty by reason of insanity.

 Action Alert  Passed unanimously on the Senate floor and has moved to the House. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary on March 23 and voted do pass. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 31 and a vote taken on April 1 and was voted do pass and referred to the House Rules committee.


Bills the League Supports

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Health Care

HB 1007 Concerning the completion of supervised experience for social work students through distance supervision. Sponsor: Rep. Klippert.    

 Passed! Passed by a vote on the House floor and is now in the Senate. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 10 and was voted do pass on March 12. On March 30 this bill passed unanimously on a Senate floor vote. Signed by the Speaker of the House and the President of the Senate. Delivered to the governor.


HB 1225 Concerning school-based health centers. Sponsor: Rep. Stonier. School-based health centers are beneficial to students and families in school districts that are geographically isolated from health care providers. High school students in particular may benefit from SBHCs that provide reliable access to mental and behavioral health services.

 Passed! Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 15 and was voted do pass on March 19. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on March 30 and vote taken on April 2 and voted do pass. Came out of the Senate Rules committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7. Speaker of the House has signed.  


HB 1272 Concerning health system transparency. Sponsor: Rep. Macri. Requires that hospitals provide detailed information regarding several identified categories of expenses and revenues in financial reports to the Department of Health.                                                                          

 Status Passed out of the House floor vote on Feb. 25 and had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 19 and voted do pass on March 26. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on March 31 and a vote taken on April 2 and voted do pass and came out of the Senate Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 10.

HB 1325 Implementing policies related to children and youth behavioral health. Sponsor: Rep. Callan. Establishes the Partnership Access Line for Moms and the Mental Health Referral Service for Children and Teens as ongoing programs.           

Status Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health and Long Term Care and voted unanimously do pass on March 19. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on April 1 and vote taken on April 2 and voted do pass. Came out of the Senate Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 8. 


SB 5052 Concerning the creation of health equity zones. Sponsor: Sen. Keiser. The state intends to work with community leaders within the health equity zones to share information and coordinate efforts with the goal of addressing the most urgent needs. 

Status Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 30 and a vote taken on March 31. Came out of the House Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7. 


SB 5140 Protecting pregnancy and miscarriage-related patient care. Sponsor: Sen. Patty Kurderer. The Protecting Pregnant Patients Act would prevent hospital policies from restricting qualified medical providers from providing necessary miscarriage treatment and care for patients whose lives are at risk due to pregnancy complications.

 Status Came out of the House Rules Committee and passed unanimously on a floor vote on March 24. Has not been signed yet. Ask your own legislators to support this bill.


SB 5142 Establishing the profession of dental therapist. Sponsor: Sen. Frockt. Adding the dental therapist to the dental team will address racial and ethnic disparities in urban and rural dental health care. Dental therapists are also a strategy to increase workforce diversity in health care and expand career opportunities for existing members of the dental care workforce.    

Status On March 25, the Senate released their budget and included $100,000 for funding for establishing a Dental Therapy Taskforce in a budget proviso to assess the fiscal impact of this legislation. Tell your legislators that creating a Dental Therapy Taskforce is important to you and ask them to keep this in the budget. This bill did not receive a public hearing in the 2021 session. Write or email Sen. Frockt asking that he bring up this bill again in the 2022 session. If your own legislator was a co-sponsor write to thank her or him.


SB 5203 Producing, distributing, and purchasing generic prescription drugs. Sponsor: Sen. Van Der Wege. 

Allows the Health Care Authority to enter into partnerships with other states, state agencies, or nonprofit entities to produce, distribute, or purchase generic prescription drugs. 

Status Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on March 18 and voted do pass on March 24. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 30 and a voted do pass taken on March 31. Came out of the House Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7.


SB 5377 Increasing affordability of standardized plans on the individual market. Sponsor: Sen. Frockt. 

Subsidies are an effective way to address affordability and can be implemented for next year's plan. The Health Care Authority needs more tools to control costs for public option plans.


Status Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on Wednesday, March 17 and voted do pass on March 24. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 31 and voted do pass on April 1. Came out of the House Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 8.


SB 5399 Concerning the creation of a universal health care commission. Sponsor: Sen. Randall and 16 co-sponsors. The universal health care commission is established to develop a plan to be implemented by 2026, that will provide comprehensive, equitable, and affordable health care coverage under a publicly financed and privately and publicly delivered health care system to all state residents.


Status  Passed on a Senate floor vote and is now in the House. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on Thursday, March 18 and voted do pass on March 24. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 31 and a vote taken on April 1 and voted do pass. Came out of the House Rules committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7.


Behavioral Health

HB 1061 Concerning youth eligible for developmental disability services who are expected to exit the child welfare system. Sponsor: Rep. Senn. It is the stated intent of the Legislature to reduce, in the most cost-effective way, the number of former foster care youth with developmental disabilities discharged into homelessness or inappropriately placed in hospitals. Intended to reduce the caseload ratio of clients to caseworkers that will help ensure that no young people are overlooked.

 Status Passed out of the House unanimously on Feb. 26. Voted do pass by the Senate Committee on Human Services, Reentry and Rehabilitation on March 19. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on April 1 and voted do pass on April 2. Came out of the Senate Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7. Speaker of the House signed.

HB 1086 Creating the state office of behavioral health consumer advocacy. Sponsor: Rep. Simmons.
By Jan. 1, 2022, the department shall contract with a private nonprofit organization to provide the State Office of Behavioral Health Consumer Advocacy Services.

 Status Passed on a House floor vote on March 1. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Behavioral Health Subcommittee to Health and Long Term Care on March 12 and voted do pass on March 19. Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Ways and Means on April 1 and a vote taken on April 2 and voted do pass. Came out of the Senate Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7.


SB 5073 Concerning involuntary commitment. Sponsor: Sen. Dhingra. This bill would expand requirements for court-ordered involuntary outpatient behavioral health treatment and modify requirements for Less Restrictive Alternative treatment.

Status Passed on the Senate floor on Feb. 3, 2021. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Civil Rights and Judiciary on March 24 and voted do pass. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 31 and a vote taken on April 1 and voted do pass. Came out of the House Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 7.


SB 5074
Establishing safe station pilot programs. Sponsor: Sen. Wagoner. This bill allows participating fire departments to be designated as "safe stations." These safe stations would provide basic evaluation by mental health professionals, substance use disorder professionals to connect patients to treatment support and services. A certified substance use disorder peer specialist may be employed in a safe station pilot program.

Status  Passed unanimously by a vote on the Senate floor on Feb. 24 and has had a first reading in the House Committee on Health and Wellness on Feb. 26. Ask your representatives who sit on that committee to support this bill. Unlikely to progress. 


SB 5195
Concerning prescribing opioid overdose reversal medication. Sponsor: Sen. Liias. A practitioner shall provide a current prescription for an opioid overdose reversal medication when the patient presents in an emergency department with an opioid overdose.

Status Passed out of the Senate Ways and Means Committee and passed on floor vote in the Senate. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness March 18 and voted do pass on March 24. Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Appropriations on March 30 and a vote taken on March 31 and voted do pass and came out of the House Rules Committee and passed on a floor vote on April 9.


SB 5304  Providing reentry services to persons releasing from state and local institutions. Sponsor: Sen. Claire Wilson. The period before an individual's release to the community is critical to reducing recidivism and health implications for the individual. Without immediate access to medical coverage upon release, medications may run out and result in hospitalizations. Has passed in the Senate and is now in the House.

 Action Alert Had a public hearing in the House Committee on Health Care and Wellness on March 24 and a voted do pass. Had a public hearing in the House Appropriations Committee on March 31 and voted do pass on April 1 and came out of the House Rules committee and passed on a floor vote on April 9.


Reproductive Rights

HB 1009 Concerning student health plans. Sponsor: Rep. My-Linh Thai. A student health plan issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2022, is subject to the abortion requirements applicable to other health plans. 

Status Had a public hearing in the Senate Committee on Health and Long Term Care on March 17 and a vote taken on March 19 and voted do pass. Came out of the House Rules committee and passed on a floor vote on April 6. Signed by the President of the Senate and the Speaker of the House. 


Bills the League Opposes

HB 1008 Prohibiting abortion on the basis of Down syndrome. Sponsor: Sen. Klippert. The League of Women Voters of the United States believes that public policy in a pluralistic society must affirm the constitutional right of privacy of the individual to make reproductive choices.


Bills the League Supports That Missed the Cutoff


HB 1047 Requiring coverage for hearing instruments for children and adolescents. Sponsor: Rep. Emily Wicks and 18 co-sponsors. A health carrier offering a health plan issued or renewed on or after Jan. 1, 2022, must include coverage for hearing instruments for persons who are 18 years of age or younger with refitting every 36 months. 

Action Alert This bill has not had a public hearing in this session. Write a direct email to Rep. Wicks asking that she bring up this bill in the 2022 session. If your own legislator was a co-sponsor write to thank them. The Action Alert this week asks that a budget proviso be approved to assess the fiscal impact of this legislation. Ask your representatives to request the proviso and vote yes.


HB 1499: Providing behavioral health system responses to individuals with substance use disorder. The Pathways to Recovery Act (1) increases funding for substance use disorder treatment and recovery programs, (2) adopts a public health-based approach by eliminating penalties for personal use drug offenses and connecting people with services to address the root causes of their substance use disorder, and (3) expands resources for statewide education about substance use.

Status  Write an email to Rep. Lauren Davis requesting to bring up this bill in 2022.


SB 5020  Assessing a penalty on unsupported prescription drug price increases. Sponsor: Sen. Keiser. This bill would allow a penalty to drug manufacturers who increase drug prices without providing new clinical evidence.

Status  This bill was not heard in the Senate Ways and Means Committee by the fiscal cut-off. Contact Sen. Keiser to request that this bill be reintroduced in 2022.


SB 5204 Creating the Whole Washington Health Trust. Sponsor: Sen. Hasagawa and six co-sponsors.

The Whole Washington Health Trust is created within the Department of Health. The purpose of the trust is to provide coverage for a set of essential health benefits to all Washington residents and request a waiver from the federal government to create universal health care in Washington.                                                 

Status  This bill did not receive a public hearing in the 2021 session. Write or email Sen. Hasagawa asking that he bring up this bill again in the 2022 session. If your own legislator was a co-sponsor, express thanks. Visit wholewashington.org for more information. 


SB 5335 Concerning the acquisition of health care facilities and mergers. Sponsor: Sen. Randall.   

Status  Write or email Sen. Randall asking that she bring up this bill again in the 2022 session. If your own legislator was a co-sponsor, express thanks. 


How to be Involved
  • Stay in contact with your Legislators.
  • Reply to Action Alerts.
  • Subscribe to the LWVWA Legislative newsletter so that you receive it weekly on Sundays during the session starting Jan. 10, 2021 and ending with a wrap up in May, 2021.
  • Contact the Healthcare, Behavioral Health, and Reproductive Rights Issue Chair.
  • Educate yourself about hospital mergers, hospital districts, protecting patient care, certificates of need, and ethical and religious directives at religious hospitals. At the link above you can learn about actions to take, useful information about letter writing campaigns, and articles of interest. SB 5335 regarding hospital mergers will be reintroduced in 2022.
  • In your local League, members who have interest in health law and reproductive rights can form an interest group to discuss actions and research health issues locally.
  • For current League members, join the Affinity Group for Health Care legislation for sharing and discussions. The first meetings were on Sept. 29, 2020 and Jan. 16, 2021. We will meet again in May 2021 at the end of the session to discuss successes.

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