Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo

Washington State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo

House passes bill to increase financial reporting, transparency by healthcare providers

Bill’s prime sponsor says it will help address healthcare equity and affordability.

Washington state legislators in the House passed a bill intended to increase financial transparency and reporting among healthcare organizations.

House Bill 1272 passed in the House after a 58 to 40 vote on Feb. 25.

The bill’s prime sponsor, Nicole Macri (D-Seattle), said her bill will help the state to better understand how healthcare organizations are using tax dollars to serve different communities and will allow for these organizations to be held accountable as government spending on healthcare increases.

Macri said the Washington state government purchases more healthcare services than any other entity in the state, both for public employees and on behalf of more than two million low-income residents. She said that is why it is important for the public and for decision-makers to understand how well public dollars are being budgeted.

“This bill seeks data that will unveil what is important to solving, not just the sustainability and affordability of healthcare for Washingtonians,” Macri said. “It will also help us in solving the deep racial inequities in healthcare settings, including [higher] mortality rates that people of color, especially Black people face.”

If passed in the Senate, the bill would require healthcare providers to give detailed reports of the staff on-duty, the services they provide, the cost of those services and demographic information about the patients who receive care. Including the patient’s race, ethnicity, preferred language, any disability and zip code of primary residence.

Legislative Director at the Washington State Labor Council AFL-CIO Sybill Hyppolite said having data to see how healthcare resources are being used and how different patients are being treated across different intersectionalities will help us hold our healthcare system accountable.

Hyppolite said healthcare can often feel like a “black box,” in which patients receive their bill and it can be unclear exactly how costs are determined.

“Over the past decade, we watched our healthcare systems consolidate and expand at rapid rates,” Hyppolite testified to the House Appropriations Committee on Feb. 18. “And while communities and legislators were told that increased consolidation would lead to lower costs and improved care, the data tells us otherwise.”

The bill includes provisions that each hospital must report data elements identifying its revenues, expenses, contractual allowances, charity care, bad debt, other income, total units of inpatient and outpatient services, and other financial and employee compensation information.

Hyppolite said this kind of financial reporting comprehensively helps to hold healthcare providers accountable and focused on providing affordable and cost-efficient care, which she says is especially important for non-profit healthcare facilities that are exempt from certain taxes as part of a good-faith agreement that they will responsibly provide affordable care for their communities.

She said she suspects large healthcare systems that have shifted focus away from care quality and affordability in favor of financial gain will not be compelled to change until stats and data publicly show their failure.

“You need to be able to see what is going on to be able to fix it,” Hyppolite said.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@vashonbeachcomber.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.vashonbeachcomber.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

orca
Thanksgiving Day brings magnificent visitors to island waters

J-Pod orcas visit Point Robinson on Thanksgiving Day.

Vashon man charged with sexual assault

The man allegedly assaulted a woman at a Vashon home where both he and the woman were present.

vib
Experts urge caution as variant emerges during holiday season

VashonBePrepared estimates more than half of Vashon’s 5 to 11-year-olds have their first COVID shots.

tease
Artist, writer and adventurer Kajira Wyn Berry dies at 94

Arriving on Vashon at the age of 48, Kaj Berryquickly found both purpose and a deep sense of place.

TEASE
Film icon Tom Skerritt brings acclaimed new film to Vashon

“East of the Mountains,” will be screened at 7 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 9, at Vashon Theatre.

found
A new documentary, ‘Found,’ features a familiar local family

“Found,” a new feature documentary that premiered on Netflix in mid-October, has… Continue reading

What’s Happening | Dec. 2 edition

WinterFest is back in full swing, celebrate Chanukah with the Havurah and more.

covid
VashonBePrepared’s Guide for the Holidays while being COVID Safe

VashonBePrepared offers tips for remaining healthy and safe during the upcoming holiday season.

aids
Vashon World AIDS Day teaches through art, theatre and more

Community commemorates World AIDS Day through various programs.

Most Read