Dear Friends and Neighbors,
As the 2018 legislative session gets under way, I want you to know how grateful I am to have the opportunity to serve you in the Legislature. This is my fourth session, and as I have done in the previous three, I will continue to work with members on both sides of the aisle to pass legislation that will make a positive difference in our district and around the state. I invite you to contact me any time with your comments, questions and concerns about the issues most important to you. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my phone number is (360) 786-7802.
I've introduced the following bills this session, which have since been referred to the House Health Care and Wellness Committee:
House Bill 2500
I've received a lot of complaints from constituents regarding rising insurance premiums, which makes sense because the average premium increase in 2017 exceeded 36 percent. As if this isn't bad enough, it was brought to my attention that the board of a nonprofit insurance company in our state recently increased the pay of the company's CEO from $1.3 million to $2.7 million. The CEO, in turn, increased the pay of the company's board members. In fact, one board member now makes $480,000 while only working seven hours per week, according to IRS forms. I think nonprofit insurance companies should be more transparent with the public in terms of how these decisions are made, so I've introduced House Bill 2500. In an attempt to prevent mutual boardroom back-scratching, this bill would require all nonprofit insurance companies in the state to convene a panel of enrollees to determine the salaries of the CEO and the board.
House Bill 2589
During the interim, I worked with Rep. Sherry Appleton, D-Poulsbo, and others to try to keep the Harrison Medical Center in Bremerton open and prevent CHI Franciscan from moving all of the hospital's beds to the Silverdale location — a move that would leave Harrison Bremerton vacant. Unfortunately, the state gave final approval in November for the move. House Bill 2589 would mandate that whenever licensed hospital beds are relocated to a new or existing health care facility, a Certificate of Need review be required. Had this bill already been in statute, CHI Franciscan would have been required to consider the needs of the community during the Certificate of Need process prior to relocating beds from Bremerton to Silverdale. This bill would also allow other hospitals in the region to compete for beds if a hospital is not using all of its beds. It is my hope HB 2589 will become law this year so we can prevent one entity from having total control.
House Bill 2588
Another bill I've introduced is House Bill 2588, which would require hospitals or ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) that charge a facility fee to provide written notice to patients that mentions: 1) the hospital or facility charges a facility fee and the amount of the fee, 2) the patient may obtain the same non-emergency outpatient services at another facility that does not charge the fee, and 3) if the patient chooses to receive the services elsewhere, he or she should ask whether it charges a facility fee. Transparency should be more of a priority for hospitals and ASCs than it currently is, which leads me to my next bill…
House Bill 2585
I recently learned the horrific story of a young woman who was raped and was then unable to get a rape kit exam performed at the Harrison Medical Center in Silverdale after waiting for six hours in the emergency room. After what must have seemed like an eternity, the hospital finally informed her that they did not offer such exams, and that she would need to go to the Bremerton hospital instead. That's infuriating to me, and something that simply can't be allowed to continue in our state. House Bill 2585 would require hospitals to pay a fine of $2,000 for every instance in which they did not inform an individual within two hours of their visit that the hospital does not provide or contract out rape kit exams.
House Bill 2498
When military families are relocated from one state to another, military spouses often have difficulty transferring their licenses and certificates to their new state of residence. This process is exceptionally difficult in Washington state, which is why I introduced House Bill 2498. This bill would facilitate the licensure of EMTs who are certified in other states by exempting them from certain unnecessary Washington state requirements.
I welcome your feedback on these bills and look forward to discussing them further with you as this 60-day session progresses.
It is an honor to serve you.