Industry & TETAF News

Upcoming Legislative Hearings

As the legislature prepares for the 2019 legislative session, committees are beginning to meet regularly to hear from invited witnesses on issues of importance.

TETAF continues to be actively involved in ongoing discussions of the 2020-2021 budget. As previously shared, TETAF President/CEO Dinah S. Welsh was joined by speakers Darrell Pile, Wanda Helgesen, Angie Burgin, Dr. Lillian Liao and Dr. Ian Mitchell at the Department of State Health Services (DSHS) hearing on budget priorities for the agency's legislative appropriations request (LAR). Each state agency submits to state appropriators their funding priorities for the upcoming budget cycle. These LARs serve as a starting point for the legislature's budget process.

The legislature is currently reviewing those appropriation requests and Legislative Budget Board staff will hear from the agencies about their priorities on Monday, September 10. TETAF will be in attendance to speak to the importance of preserving existing trauma and emergency healthcare funding, as well as increasing that funding to keep up with population growth and increased demands on the system.

The current DSHS LAR calls for level funding to the trauma system. TETAF believes level funding is the bare minimum needed and will push for every opportunity to increase funding to the various components of the system. In addition to the LAR, each agency is required to submit a 10% reduction schedule with areas they would cut if the agency received a 10% cut to their overall budget. Trauma funding is very low on the list of potential cuts provided with DSHS and they have shared with the legislature that the impact of the reduction would be a decreased number of hospitals seeking designation, reduced availability of life-saving trauma services and a reduced overall ability to respond to local, regional and state wide emergencies. While we are told by legislators that they do not intend to make cuts to the trauma system, TETAF will of course closely monitor the reduction schedule.

The LAR proposes modifications to riders 22 and 34 that allow for greater flexibility in how the department manages the state’s EMS and trauma system. These proposed riders are a positive step toward allowing DSHS to financially support the evolving needs of the system.

On Wednesday, September 12, the Senate Health & Human Services Committee will hear from state agency representatives on initiatives to better understand the causes of maternal mortality and morbidity, ways to improve health outcomes for pregnant women and methods to better collect data related to maternal mortality and morbidity. While public testimony will not be heard at this meeting, TETAF has been visiting with legislative offices to provide input and offer assistance in advance of this hearing.

On Thursday, September 13, the House Public Health Committee will review state programs that provide women’s health services and consider solutions to increase access to effective and timely care. The committee has been tasked with monitoring the work of the Maternal Mortality and Morbidity Task Force and recommending solutions to reduce maternal deaths and morbidity. In addition, they have been asked to review the correlation between pre-term and low birth weight births and the use of alcohol and tobacco and consider options to increase treatment options and deter usage of these substances.