The Department explains that "requiring hospitals to provide these policies improves transparency by the hospitals about consumer access to their services. This requirement will help consumers have access to important hospital information to help them make decisions on where to get their health care in advance of needing hospital services."
To implement the requirement, the Washington Department of Health is proposing a new section of rules in WAC 246-320-141 ("Patient Rights and Organization Ethics").
- A new subsection (5) in WAC 246-320-141 would require hospitals to "submit to the department its policies related to access to care: . . . (c) End of life care . . . ."
- A new subsection (6) would require the Department of Health to "post a copy of the policies received under subsection (5) of this section on its web site."
- A new subsection (8) would require hospitals to "post a copy of the policies provided under subsection (5) of this section to its own web site where it is readily accessible to the public, without requiring a login or other restriction."
The Washington Department of Health held a hearing on Tuesday and plans to file final rules by December 10. As I have noted, Michigan and Minnesota have considered legislation that would achieve a similar end.