Bills we are tracking in 2021 session of Washington State Legislature


Dr. Dave Butters

The 2021 session of the Washington State Legislature is underway, and we are monitoring issues that matter to the chiropractic profession.

Here’s a summary of the bills that we are tracking:

ESHB 1196 – Audio-only telemedicine

The bill requires

  • Reimbursement for audio-only telemedicine services
  • Expands the definition of telemedicine for purposes of hospital privileging to include audio-only telemedicine services.
  • Requires the insurance commissioner to study and make recommendations regarding Tele medicine

The bill passed the House and is now scheduled for a public hearing at 8 a.m. March 12 in the Senate Health Care Committee.

SB 5169 – Concerning provider reimbursement for personal protective equipment during the state of emergency related to COVID-19.

This bill requires health benefit plans to reimburse health care providers a set amount for personal protective equipment for the duration of the COVID-19 emergency. It has been referred to House Health Care and Wellness Committee but is not yet scheduled for a hearing. We have heard from the chair that the bill will be scheduled for hearing.

ESSB 5229 – Concerning health equity continuing education for health care professionals.

This bill:

  • Requires the rule-making authority for each health profession to adopt rules requiring health care professionals to complete health equity education training at least once every four years.
  • Requires health equity courses to teach skills that enable a health care professional to care effectively for patients from diverse cultures, groups, and communities, varying in race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexuality, religion, age, ability, and socioeconomic status.

This bill has been referred to the House Health Care & Wellness Committee and has not yet been scheduled for public hearing.

We continue to encourage all Washington state chiropractors to file complaints with the Office of the Insurance Commissioner if you experience violations of the prior authorization and/or fair pay laws or anytime you believe a patient is being inappropriately denied their chiropractic benefits. You can submit your complaint online at bit.ly/onlineOICform.There is also a printable version at bit.ly/printableOICform that you can fill out, then fax or mail. Insurance laws can be confusing so here is a little information to help you:

State laws only apply to state regulated health plans. How do you know if they are state regulated or under federal regulation?

  1. Have the patient call their insurer and ask for their “plan summary description” and that will describe the type of plan.
  2. Union bargained plans through employers are not state regulated. These are federally regulated plans known as “Taft Hartley” plans.
  3. Self-insured/self-funded plans are not state regulated. These are federal regulated plans for larger employers that can set their own benefits and rules because they are assuming and paying for all of the risk. They hire insurers to manage benefits that they structure under federal law rather than buying a plan that is sold on the Washington State market.

The Office of the Insurance Commissioner only enforces state regulated health plans. State regulated plans are those that are bought on the Washington State market by individuals and employers. The majority of health plans are state regulated.

Your financial support of the WSCT and membership in the WSCA is everything! You have and will continue to benefit from everything that we do. If you have donated recently and/or are a regular contributor to the WSCT it is appreciated, and it makes a difference. You can click here to DONATE — for either a one-time or recurring donation. Or you can mail a donation to PO Box 2163, Seattle, WA 98111.

— Dr. Dave Butters, President
Washington State Chiropractic Trust