SENATE BILL 5588
State of Washington 52nd Legislature 1991 Regular Session
By Senators West, Johnson and L. Kreidler.
Read first time February 8, 1991. Referred to Committee on Health & Long‑Term Care.
AN ACT Relating to continuity of nursing care in nursing homes; amending RCW 74.46.481; creating a new section; providing an effective date; and declaring an emergency.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF WASHINGTON:
NEW SECTION. Sec. 1. It is the intent of the legislature to temporarily raise the nursing services cost center lid in order to provide an incentive to attract and retain nurses in nursing homes. It is not the intent of the legislature to retrospectively reimburse nursing homes for costs incurred prior to July 1, 1991.
Sec. 2. RCW 74.46.481 and 1990 c 207 s 1 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) The nursing services cost center shall include all costs related to the direct provision of nursing and related care, including fringe benefits and payroll taxes for the nursing and related care personnel. For rates effective for state fiscal year 1984, the department shall adopt by administrative rule a definition of "related care" which shall incorporate, but not exceed services reimbursable as of June 30, 1983. For rates effective for state fiscal year 1985, the definition of related care shall include ancillary care.
(2) The department shall adopt by administrative rules a method for establishing a nursing services cost center rate consistent with the principles stated in this section.
(3) Utilizing regression or other statistical technique, the department shall determine a reasonable limit on facility nursing staff taking into account facility patient characteristics. For purposes of this section, facility nursing staff refers to registered nurses, licensed practical nurses and nursing assistants employed by the facility or obtained through temporary labor contract arrangements. Effective January 1, 1988, the hours associated with the training of nursing assistants and the supervision of that training for nursing assistants shall not be included in the calculation of facility nursing staff. In selecting a measure of patient characteristics, the department shall take into account:
(a) The correlation between alternative measures and facility nursing staff; and
(b) The cost of collecting information for and computation of a measure.
If regression is used, the limit shall be set at predicted nursing staff plus 1.75 regression standard errors. If another statistical method is utilized, the limit shall be set at a level corresponding to 1.75 standard errors above predicted staffing computed according to a regression procedure.
(4) No facility shall receive reimbursement for nursing staff levels in excess of the limit, except that, if a facility was reimbursed for a nursing staff level in excess of the limit as of June 30, 1983, the facility may chose to continue to receive its June, 1983 nursing services rate plus any adjustments in rates, such as adjustments for economic trends, made available to all facilities. However, nursing staff levels established under subsection (3) of this section shall not apply to the nursing services cost center reimbursement rate for the pilot facility especially designed to meet the needs of persons living with AIDS as defined by RCW 70.24.017 and specifically authorized for this purpose under the 1989 amendment to the Washington state health plan [1989 1st ex.s. c 9]. The reasonableness limit established pursuant to this subsection shall remain in effect for the period July 1, 1983 through June 30, 1985. At that time the department may revise the measure of patient characteristics or method used to establish the limit.
(5) The department shall select an index of cost increase relevant to the nursing and related services cost area. In the absence of a more representative index, the department shall use the medical care component index as maintained by the United States bureau of labor statistics.
(6) If a facility's nursing staff level is below the limit specified in subsection (3) of this section, the department shall determine the percentage increase for all items included in the nursing services cost center between the facility's most recent cost reporting period and the next prior cost reporting period.
(a) If the percentage cost increase for a facility is below the increase in the selected index for the same time period, the facility's reimbursement rate in the nursing services cost center shall equal the facility's cost from the most recent cost reporting period plus any allowance for inflation provided by legislative appropriation.
(b) If the percentage cost increase for a facility exceeds the increase in the selected index, the department shall limit the cost used for setting the facility's rate in the nursing services cost area to a level reflecting the increase in the selected index.
(7) If the facility's nursing staff level exceeds the reasonableness limit established in subsection (3) of this section, the department shall determine the increase for all items included in the nursing services cost center between the facility's most recent cost reporting period and the next prior cost reporting period.
(a) If the percentage cost increase for a facility is below the increase in the index selected pursuant to subsection (5) of this section, the facility's reimbursement rate in the nursing cost center shall equal the facility's cost from the most recent cost reporting period adjusted downward to reflect the limit on nursing staff, plus any allowance for inflation provided by legislative appropriation subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section.
(b) If the percentage cost increase for a facility exceeds the increase in the selected index, the department shall limit the cost used for setting the facility's rate in the nursing services cost center to a level reflecting the nursing staff limit and the cost increase limit, subject to the provisions of subsection (4) of this section, plus any allowance for inflation provided by legislative appropriation.
(8) Prospective rates for the nursing services cost center for state fiscal years 1992 and 1993 shall not be subject to the cost index lid in subsections (5), (6), and (7) of this section. The total of all rate increases for the nursing services cost center for any nursing home, including prospective rate increases authorized pursuant to RCW 74.46.495 and 74.46.460 but excluding costs associated with new federal regulatory requirements, during this period shall not exceed fifty percent of the average rate paid during state fiscal year 1991 for the nursing services cost center for that nursing home.
(9) The department is authorized to determine on a systematic basis facilities with unmet patient care service needs. The department may increase the nursing services cost center prospective rate for a facility beyond the level determined in accordance with subsection (6) of this section if the facility's actual and reported nursing staffing is one standard error or more below predicted staffing as determined according to the method selected pursuant to subsection (3) of this section and the facility has unmet patient care service needs: PROVIDED, That prospective rate increases authorized by this subsection shall be funded only from legislative appropriations made for this purpose and the increases shall be conditioned on specified improvements in patient care at such facilities.
(10) The department shall establish a method for identifying patients
with exceptional care requirements and a method for establishing or negotiating
on a consistent basis rates for such patients.
(11) The department, in consultation with interested parties, shall
adopt rules to establish the criteria the department will use in reviewing any
requests by a contractor for a prospective rate adjustment to be used to
increase the number of nursing staff. These rules shall also specify the time
period for submission and review of staffing requests: PROVIDED, That a
decision on a staffing request shall not take longer than sixty days from the
date the department receives such a complete request. In establishing the
criteria, the department may consider, but is not limited to, the following:
(a) Increases in acuity levels of contractors' residents;
(b) Staffing patterns for similar facilities;
(c) Physical plant of contractor; and
(d) Survey, inspection of care, and department consultation results.
NEW SECTION. Sec. 3. This act is necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, or safety, or support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect July 1, 1991.