2020 Legislative Committee Report
Many thanks to the AAPPN Legislative Committee – Danielle DeOliveira (Chair), Nikki Behner, Leslie Hite, Patricia Morgan, and Anna Marie Patterson.
The 2020 legislative session took several unexpected turns as a result of world events.
- When the 2019 session ended, AAPPN had hoped that the Legislature would continue its focus on expanding mental health access and improving patient safety in 2020. However …
- When Initiative Measure No. 976 (which capped taxes on certain cars at $30 and put an end to transportation benefit districts and other local vehicle taxes) passed in November 2019, the Legislature had to shift its budget priorities to transportation. And then …
- When the COVID-19 pandemic hit in March 2020, Governor Inslee had to veto many initiatives in order to cut about $445 million from the supplemental budget. The proposed behavioral health rate increase in the budget that passed the Legislature was among the vetoed items.
This legislative session, the AAPPN Legislative Committee tracked 70 bills. About 30 of these bills made it to a public hearing. The AAPPN Legislative Committee evaluated these bills using the two main criteria:
- Does it directly impact AAPPN as an organization or the psychiatric ARNP profession as a whole?
- Does it directly impact the clients we serve?
In total, AAPPN supported more than 20 bills on a range of issues, including telemedicine payment parity, increasing access to mental and behavioral health services, psychiatric patient safety, and expanding opportunities for students to pursue mental and behavioral health professions.
While not all of the bills we supported passed, two of AAPPN’s high-priority bills passed and were signed into law:
- ESHB 5385 Telemedicine Payment Parity requires health carriers to reimburse a provider for a health care service provided to a covered person through telemedicine or store and forward technology at the same rate as if the health care service was provided in person by the provider. (Effective on January 1, 2021)
- SHB 2426 Psychiatric Patient Safety provides additional enforcement tools for state psychiatric hospitals and requires the Department of Health to work with stakeholders to create recommendations for a uniform health care facility enforcement act for consideration in the 2021 legislative session. (Effective on March 25, 2020)
AAPPN also joined NAMI in supporting HB 2386 to create a state office of the behavioral health ombuds. HB 2386 did not pass.
AAPPN took a neutral position on three bills. AAPPN also submitted testimony voicing concerns about SB 6609, which expanded the role of certain pharmacists. SB 6609 did not pass.
To view the complete list of bills tracked this year, download the 2020 AAPPN Bill Report (PDF).