WSR 03-04-105



[ Filed February 5, 2003, 9:01 a.m. ]

Title of Rule: Chapter 246-01 WAC, Description and organization.

Purpose: This chapter of rules describes the department's organization and function of the department, and provides information on how to contact the department.

Other Identifying Information: These rules were identified as outdated as a result of a review under Executive Order 97-02, Regulatory Improvement.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: Chapter 43.70 RCW, RCW 34.05.220, 42.17.250.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 34.05.220, 42.17.250.

Summary: The proposal updates the rules to reflect the current organization of the department, eliminates unnecessary information to improve clarity and updates the contact information for the department.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: These rules need to be up to date to help assure that interested parties may obtain accurate information regarding the department's organization and function.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting: Laurie Jinkins, Mailstop 47830, Olympia, Washington 98504-7830, (360) 236-3721; Implementation and Enforcement: Eric Slagle, Mailstop 47890, Olympia, Washington 98504-7890, (360) 236-3003.

Name of Proponent: Department of Health, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: This chapter describes the department and the general course and method of its operations. The purpose of the rule is to provide information for individuals interested about the structure and function of the department and to provide the information needed for the public to contact the department. The anticipated effect of the rule is to improve the reader's understanding about the department, and to facilitate access to the department by providing contact information.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The proposal updates WAC 246-01-001 Purpose and authority, by eliminating an outdated mission statement; streamlines WAC 246-01-080 Organization, by replacing lengthy, inaccurate, and outdated descriptions of agency divisions with a concise description of the agency's organization and mission; and updates WAC 246-01-090 Consumer assistance, to accurately reflect the contact information for the department. The proposal eliminates WAC 246-01-040 Department and professional boards -- Relationship, because the information is outdated and best reflected in a new, concise statement under WAC 246-01-080. The proposal eliminates WAC 246-01-070 Department and Health Professions Resource Committee -- Relationship, because the language is redundant to the language in RCW 28B.125.010, and because the committee is no longer active. The proposal also eliminates WAC 246-01-100 Current address, because that information is redundant with the amendments to WAC 246-01-090 Consumer assistance.



M. C. Selecky



AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 346, filed 3/24/93, effective 4/24/93)

WAC 246-01-001   Purpose and authority.   (((1))) The purpose of this chapter is to describe the department of health and the general course and method of its operations. This chapter is adopted ((pursuant to)) under RCW 34.05.220 and 42.17.250, and chapter 43.70 RCW.

(((2) The department of health is charged with preserving public health, monitoring health care costs, maintaining minimal standards for quality in health care delivery, and generally overseeing and planning the state's activities as they relate to the health of its citizenry.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.70.050. 93-08-004 (Order 346), 246-01-001, filed 3/24/93, effective 4/24/93.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 95-10-043, filed 5/1/95, effective 6/1/95)

WAC 246-01-080   Organization.   (((1) The department is headed by the secretary. The office of the secretary provides overall agency management, and is comprised of the secretary, deputy secretary, state health officer, policy and planning, legislative and constituent relations, minority affairs, and the communications office.

(2) Six assistant secretaries direct specific programs within the department.

(a) The assistant secretary for epidemiology and health statistics:

(i) Collects and analyzes data that provides information about the health of the population, hospital costs, hospital diagnosis and procedures;

(ii) Collects information on all births, deaths, marriages, and divorces within the state and makes official documentation of these events available to the public;

(iii) Conducts surveillance of communicable and noncommunicable diseases and other health-related events. Investigates disease outbreaks, epidemics, and clusters; provides technical assistance and advice in developing and implementing prevention/control programs; provides expert consultation to local health departments on epidemiologically impacted issues and, when necessary, directs support for responding to emergent public health situations;

(iv) Develops a health services information system that supports the implementation of health reform as envisioned under the Health Services Act of 1993, and monitors the effectiveness of the reformed health care environment;

(v) Monitors the consistency, quality, continuity, and comprehensiveness of the department's health assessment activities, including disease surveillance and program evaluation;

(iv) Provides a scientific basis for health policy and program management decisions within the department and, when requested, to local health departments.

(b) The assistant secretary for health systems quality assurance:

(i) Administers laws and enforces rules, regulations, and standards for the following professions:


Airway management technicians

Animal technicians

Chiropractic x-ray technicians

Controlled substance researchers

Counselors/registered & certified

Dental hygienists




Dispensing opticians

Doctors of chiropractic

Drug manufacturers & wholesalers

Emergency medical technicians

First responders

Health care assistants

Hearing aid fitters

Intravenous technicians

Legend drug sample distributors

Massage practitioners


Naturopathic physicians

Nursing assistants

Nursing home administrators

Nursing pools

Occupational therapists

Occupational therapists' assistants



Osteopathic physicians and surgeons

Osteopathic physicians' assistants

Osteopathic physicians' acupuncture assistants



Pharmacy assistants

Physical therapists

Physicians and surgeons

Physician assistants

Podiatric physicians and surgeons

Practical nurses


Radiological technologists

Registered nurses

Respiratory care practitioners

Sex offender treatment providers


Veterinary med clerks

X-ray technicians

(ii) Sets standards, inspects, licenses, or certifies, provides consultation, and reviews and approves construction of new buildings, alterations, additions, and conversions of health and residential care facilities for:

Acute care hospitals

Adult residential rehabilitation centers

Alcoholism treatment facilities

Alcoholism hospitals

Ambulatory surgery centers

Boarding homes

Childbirth centers

Child day care centers

Comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation

Department of corrections facilities

Juvenile rehabilitation facilities

End stage renal disease centers

Eye banks

Ferry systems

Group care facilities for children

Home health care agencies

Home care agencies

Hospice agencies

Hospice care facilities

Occupational therapist-independent practice

Outpatient physical therapy/speech pathology

Physical therapist-independent practice

Private adult treatment homes

Psychiatric hospitals

Residential treatment facilities for psychiatrically impaired children & youth

Rural health care facilities

Rural health care clinics

Soldiers' home

State school for the blind

State school for the deaf

State hospitals for the mentally ill

Temporary worker housing

Transient accommodations

Veterans' home

(iii) Regulates the development of various new health care facilities and services based on community need, financial feasibility, cost containment, and quality of care;

(iv) Establishes and promotes a system of emergency medical and trauma services, which includes: Developing, evaluating, and monitoring training programs; licensing and inspection; and technical assistance for a comprehensive statewide integrated emergency medical system; and

(v) Regulates clinical laboratory testing sites and practices.

(c) The assistant secretary for community and family health is responsible for assessing the health status of Washington state citizens regarding disease, injury, and nutrition; developing policy based on those assessments that will prevent disease, premature death and disability, and will promote health lifestyles and environments; and assuring access to quality services consistent with approved policy in the following areas:

(i) Comprehensive planning for health services for children and adolescents and their families and primary caretakers, including parenting education, nutrition consultation, oral health programs, teen pregnancy prevention and immunizations;

(ii) A continuum of services designed for infants or children with, or at risk for, special health care needs and their families;

(iii) High quality low cost, comprehensive family planning and reproductive health care services;

(iv) Health and support services for pregnant women, lactating and other post-partum women, and infants;

(v) Supplemental foods, nutrition education, and referral for health services for eligible pregnant women, lactating and other post-partum women, and infants and children at risk;

(vi) Programs to control the complications of diabetes and to identify and develop interventions for the prevention of death and disability from intentional and unintentional injury;

(vii) Public education and marketing campaigns on a spectrum of health related topics; programs which develop and supply health and safety educational materials to schools, local health, and community agencies;

(viii) Surveillance and services designed to reduce death and disease related to cancer, heart disease and stroke by providing public education/awareness programs, screening projects, professional education, and development of community coalitions;

(ix) Surveillance and services that interrupt the transmission of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and other sexually transmitted diseases (STD), and reduce associated morbidity and mortality by planning, as well as supporting the individual rights and human dignity of those infected and those considered at risk; and

(x) Surveillance and services that reduce the morbidity and mortality due to tuberculosis and vaccine-preventable disease.

(d) The assistant secretary for environmental health provides training, public education services, and technical assistance to local health agencies and other agencies; and provides direct surveillance, monitoring, and enforcement activities to prevent, control, and abate health hazards and nuisances related to:

(i) Contaminated shellfish;

(ii) Contamination due to illegal drug manufacturing and storage;

(iii) Disease-carrying insects and rodents;

(iv) Disposal of solid and liquid wastes;

(v) Food service sanitation;

(vi) On-site sewage disposal;

(vii) Public drinking water systems;

(viii) Ionizing radiation;

(ix) Schools, campgrounds, and parks;

(x) Toxic substance exposure; and

(xi) Water recreation facilities.

(e) The assistant secretary for public health laboratories oversees laboratories that aid in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of various diseases by:

(i) Testing and analyzing clinical and environmental specimens and samples including food, food products, shellfish, drinking water, and seawater;

(ii) Testing to detect certain treatable metabolic disorders in newborns;

(iii) Testing for radioactivity in materials, mine tailings, and ores; and

(iv) Performing inorganic and organic chemical analyses on drinking water, and other environmental samples such as soil, paint chips, ceramics and potteries, beverages, food, and others.

(f) The assistant secretary for management services provides administrative, financial, contracting, facility information processing, and human resource services to the department's operating programs.

(3)(a) Each assistant secretary is hereby delegated authority to administer the programs within their respective areas of responsibility, including, without limitation, the authority to sign documents on behalf of the secretary and the department. Each assistant secretary is authorized to further delegate his or her authority to such persons and in such manner as deemed necessary or appropriate in the management of the department's business.

(b) In the absence of the secretary, the following are authorized to act on behalf of the department:

(i) The deputy secretary;

(ii) In the absence of the deputy secretary, the state health officer;

(iii) In the absence of the state health officer, the assistant secretary for management services;

(iv) In the absence of all of the foregoing, any assistant secretary.

(c) Any person designated as "acting" in a position described in this section shall have the same authority while so designated as if she or he had been appointed to fill the position on a permanent basis.)) (1) DOH exists to protect and improve the health of the people of Washington. The department shares this mission with three primary partners:

(a) Professional boards, commissions, and committees, which have varying degrees of statutory authority, ranging from advisory powers to rule adoptions and disciplinary powers;

(b) The state board of health which has statutory authority to adopt rules to protect the public health, and may delegate this authority to the secretary and rescind the delegated authority; and

(c) Local health jurisdictions throughout the state.

(2) DOH is organized into five administrative divisions plus the secretary's office and information resource management offices:

(a) Community and family health;

(b) Environmental health;

(c) Epidemiology, health statistics and public health laboratories;

(d) Health systems quality assurance; and

(e) Management services.

(3) DOH maintains offices in Kent, Olympia, Tumwater, Richland, Shoreline and Spokane. These offices are not complete service locations and are not required to keep complete policy manuals and other records available for public inspection.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.70.040. 95-10-043, 246-01-080, filed 5/1/95, effective 6/1/95. Statutory Authority: RCW 43.70.050. 93-08-004 (Order 346), 246-01-080, filed 3/24/93, effective 4/24/93.]

AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending Order 346, filed 3/24/93, effective 4/24/93)

WAC 246-01-090   Consumer assistance.   (1) The department provides a consumer assistance statewide toll-free hotline. Consumer assistance personnel assist the public with information, concerns, or complaints about the department and serve as advocates for consumers who are complainants or witnesses in a licensing or disciplinary proceeding. The health consumer assistance line is 1-800-525-0127; its mailing address is P.O. Box ((47891)) 47890, Olympia, WA 98504-((7891))7890.

(2) ((The public may send submissions or written requests for information concerning the course and method of the department's operation to: Rules Coordinator, Management Services, 1300 S.E. Quince Street, P.O. Box 47902, Olympia, WA 98504-7902.)) Individuals may contact the department to obtain or submit information, or make requests by:

(a) Writing to the department at Department of Health, P.O. Box 47890, Olympia, WA 98504-7890; or

(b) Visiting the department's website at:

[Statutory Authority: RCW 43.70.050. 93-08-004 (Order 346), 246-01-090, filed 3/24/93, effective 4/24/93.]


     The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
WAC 246-01-040 Department and professional boards -- Relationship.
WAC 246-01-070 Department and health professions resource committee -- Relationship.
WAC 246-01-100 Current address.

Legislature Code Reviser 


Washington State Code Reviser's Office