A bill regulating the sale of not-for-profit hospitals, which the Washington State Hospital Association sponsored but then withdrew its support, is still alive and kicking.
Steve Boruchowitz, policy analyst at the state health department, said the bulk of the House bill that was tabled last month is still alive in a companion Senate bill now passing through committees. It has support from the same backers: the hospital association, health officials and consumer representatives.
The tabled House bill would have applied to both for-profit and not-for-profit buyers. The Senate bill applies only to for-profit buyers.
The original House bill mirrored the Senate legislation, but sponsors pulled it after lobbying by for-profit hospital chains had it expanded to cover all buyers of not-for-profit hospitals (March 3, p. 2).
Another change in the Senate bill is that the health department would conduct reviews of the sales, with the attorney general's office in an advisory role, rather than having two separate reviews, Boruchowitz said.
Another change would require a public vote or public hearings in proposed sales of public hospitals.