Wash. hos­pi­tals re­quired to post wide range of poli­cies

Modern Healthcare - - REGIONAL NEWS - —Beth Kutscher

As of last week, hos­pi­tals in Wash­ing­ton state were re­quired to post their poli­cies on re­pro­duc­tive health­care, end-oflife care, nondis­crim­i­na­tion, char­ity care and ad­mis­sions. Some of the in­for­ma­tion was still miss­ing ei­ther be­cause of a de­lay in com­ply­ing or be­cause the poli­cies are in re­view, ac­cord­ing to the State Health Depart­ment.

The new state rules also re­quire a cer­tifi­cate of need when­ever a hospi­tal is sold, leased or trans­ferred from one en­tity to an­other, a move op­posed by the state’s hospi­tal as­so­ci­a­tion.

Wash­ing­ton state passed the law re­quir­ing pub­lic dis­clo­sure of the wide range of hospi­tal poli­cies in the wake of Prov­i­dence Health & Ser­vices’ 2012 deal to ac­quire Swedish Health Ser­vices, a not-for-profit sec­u­lar sys­tem. That merger re­newed the de­bate around re­pro­duc­tive health that some­times fol­lows Catholic-sec­u­lar merg­ers.

While the deal al­lowed Swedish to re­tain its sec­u­lar iden­tity, lo­cal crit­ics sounded the alarm af­ter Swedish said it would stop per­form­ing elec­tive abor­tions and in­stead out­source those ser­vices through a part­ner­ship with Planned Par­ent­hood.

As of late last week, in­for­ma­tion was avail­able on the Health Depart­ment web­site for most of the hos­pi­tals un­der the Prov­i­dence um­brella, but not for Swedish. A spokes­woman for Prov­i­dence said Prov­i­dence and Swedish sub­mit­ted sep­a­rate pol­icy documents to the Health Depart­ment on March 25 and posted the in­for­ma­tion on the hos­pi­tals’ web­sites.

The Health Depart­ment im­ple­mented the new rules on Jan. 23 and gave hos­pi­tals 60 days to com­ply. The poli­cies are avail­able on the depart­ment’s web­site and also must be posted on hos­pi­tals’ own web­sites.

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