Washington State Hospital Association seeks more long-term care funding

The Washington State Hospital Association is planning to request funding for long-term care service providers during the upcoming legislative session, State of Reform reported May 23. 

The association's focus centers on patients ready to be discharged from hospital and are in need of post-acute care, according to the report. The association's vice president and associate general counsel Zosia Stanley told State of Reform that several barriers delay placements, leading to patients staying in hospitals longer than necessary. 

The waiting period a patient faces if they need a guardian to assist with decision-making is a common barrier, according to the report. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated that problem. Placement can also be challenging for patients with dementia, behavioral health issues, developmental disabilities or criminal background histories, Ms. Stanley said. 

Washington State Hospital Association Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Chelene Whiteaker told State of Reform that some long-term care initiatives received funding in the 2022 legislative session, but more is needed in the 2023 session. She said there is a better understanding of the issue now, particularly around the challenges long-term care raises for hospitals. 

"It’s been a frustrating issue because the system is not working in the way it was designed," Ms. Whiteaker told State of Reform. "There’s still more to do. We’re in the beginning phase as far as amounts, but we know we’ll need more support.

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