The Washington State Senate has approved four bills authored by Rep. Michelle Caldier, R-Port Orchard. Two of the measures are at the governor’s desk for his signature, and one, HB 1198, was signed into law on Friday, April 19. The fourth measure, amended in the Senate, is being returned to the House for concurrence.
House Bill 1198 would require a health provider who was sanctioned for sexual misconduct to notify patients of the sanction details. The measure previously passed the House unanimously on March 4. It also passed the Senate April 11 with a unanimous vote and has been sent to the governor.
“For the safety of the patient, I think it is very important they be informed if their health care provider has gotten into trouble for sexual misconduct. Patients need to know these things so they can make informed decisions about whether to receive care from that provider,” said Caldier.
House Bill 1607 would require a written notice be given to the state attorney general at least 60 days before the effective date of a hospital or provider organization acquisition or merger. The bill passed the House on March 8 with a vote of 63-35. The vote in the Senate April 15 was 29-19. It also goes to the governor for his consideration.
“This measure grew out of concerns over mergers and acquisitions in 2016 involving CHI Franciscan, The Doctors Clinic (TDC) and WestSound Orthopaedics in Kitsap County. For some specialties, patients could not get care anywhere in the area without being affiliated with this health care group. Once CHI Franciscan secured a monopoly, they jacked up the rates and then privately bragged about it among themselves,” said Caldier. “We contacted the attorney general’s office, who filed a federal lawsuit, which has since been settled. This bill would require the AG to be notified in time to determine if there are any anti-trust concerns to prevent monopolies and keep an open market.”
“Along with the court’s recent judgment to remove WestSound Orthopaedics from the lawsuit, our settlement with the AG ensures CHI Franciscan’s joint affiliations with West Sound and The Doctors Clinic remain in place,” said Cary Evans, vice president, Communications & Government Affairs, CHI Franciscan. “This is good for patients and doctors on the Peninsula, keeps our highly skilled doctors in our community, and ensures everyone has access to great care close to home.”
House Bill 1934 would establish a mail application process for members of the Armed Forces who are deployed out of state and wish to renew their concealed pistol licenses (CPL). The measure passed the House unanimously on March 6 and again gained unanimous approval in the Senate April 12. It also heads to the governor for his signature.
“This idea was brought to me by a constituent who is deployed in Virginia for military service. He told me that under our current law, he must fly back to Washington state to renew his CPL,” said Caldier. “For the sacrifices our men and women in the Armed Forces make every day, we should not require them to fly home to renew their licenses. I’m very pleased that this pro-Second Amendment bill passed the Legislature and will make it easier for our soldiers to renew their concealed permit licenses.”
The fourth measure, House Bill 1016, would require hospitals to notify a rape victim within two hours of their arrival that they don’t have rape kits or a provider trained in sexual assault examinations on the premises. It passed the House unanimously on Feb. 7, but was amended in the Senate Health and Long Term Care Committee. The measure passed the Senate unanimously on April 15. However, because it was amended, it must receive final House approval before being sent to the governor.
“A young woman was gang raped by four men and waited in the hospital for four hours before the hospital informed her they have no sexual assault kits and do not do that kind of evaluation. By the time she arrived at the right hospital and the sexual assault evaluation was performed, nine hours had passed,” explained Caldier. “There was really no excuse to make her wait so long before she was told by the hospital they could not help her. My bill would require the hospital make that notification within two hours.”
The original bill would have provided civil penalties of $2,000 for hospitals that do not comply. The amended bill removes the penalties, but would require individuals to be notified by the hospital that they can file a complaint with the Department of Health if the hospital exceeds the two-hour rape kit notification rule. It also would require hospitals that do not provide rape kits to develop a plan by July 1, 2020 that would assist victims in finding a facility with an appropriate provider available.
“I’m disappointed with the amendment. We want to make sure sexual assault victims get the right assistance they need as soon as possible after enduring such a horrific crime,” added Caldier.
“Overall, I’m very pleased with the positive changes that will be happening once the governor signs these bills and they take effect. I appreciate the outpouring of support and involvement of our constituents in making these measures become law,” concluded Caldier.