WSR 07-18-087

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH


[ Filed September 5, 2007, 9:49 a.m. ]

Original Notice.

Exempt from preproposal statement of inquiry under RCW 34.05.310(4).

Title of Rule and Other Identifying Information: Uniform procedures for complaint resolution.

Amending WAC 246-14-010 Intent, 246-14-020 Definitions, 246-14-030 What happens if a time period expires?, 246-14-090 Adjudication of statement of charges, 246-14-100 Resolution of a statement of allegations, 246-14-110 What happens if a case returns to a prior stage?, and 246-14-120 Notice of applicable time periods.

Repealing WAC 246-14-070 Limited extensions of basic time periods and 246-14-080 Extension with management oversight.

Hearing Location(s): Department of Health, Point Plaza East, 310 Israel Road S.E., Tumwater, WA, on October 17, 2007, at 9:00 a.m.

Date of Intended Adoption: October 31, 2007.

Submit Written Comments to: Margaret Gilbert, Department of Health, P.O. Box 47860, Olympia, WA 98504-7860, web site http://www3.doh.wa.gov/policyreview/, fax (360) 236-4930, by October 10, 2007.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Margaret Gilbert by October 10, 2007, TTY (800) 833-6388 or 711.

Purpose of the Proposal and Its Anticipated Effects, Including Any Changes in Existing Rules: This chapter establishes timelines for the steps involved in processing complaints against credentialed health care providers. It also provides for management oversight of the processes. The current rules describe a process for extending basic timelines when necessary. That process is paper-based and halts progress of the case until the extension is granted. The proposed rules would eliminate the paper-based process and rely on management oversight based on electronic tracking systems. The proposal ensures that reasons for exceeding the basic timelines are documented in the case files in a timely manner. This assures that complaints continue moving through the process and minimizes delay.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: The new process will focus on better use of staff time as well as stronger management oversight and expedite the complaint process. It will shorten the time period between complaint and resolution. The proposed rule will decrease costs to the department for managing and tracking cases.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 18.130.095.

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 18.130.095.

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

Name of Proponent: Department of health, governmental.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Margaret Gilbert, Department of Health, P.O. Box 47860, Olympia, WA 98504-7860, (360) 236-4913.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This rule relates only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a nongovernment party. According to RCW 19.85.025(3), the Regulatory Fairness Act does not apply to the adoption of a rule described in RCW 34.05.310(4).

A cost-benefit analysis is not required under RCW 34.05.328. This rule relates only to internal governmental operations that are not subject to violation by a nongovernment party. Therefore, according to RCW 34.05.328 a cost-benefit analysis is not required.

September 5, 2007

Mary C. Selecky

Secretary

OTS-9906.2


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-010   Intent.   These rules establish basic time periods for processing and resolving complaints against credentialed health care providers and applicants. The rules also provide ((for extensions of the basic time periods and)) enforcement mechanisms to ensure timely disposition of complaints and adjudicative proceedings. The department of health does not anticipate that the basic time period will be used in all cases. These rules are adopted as required by RCW 18.130.095(1). The intent is to promote timely protection of the public and fairness to credential holders, applicants, and complainants, without sacrificing public safety.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-010, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-020   Definitions.   (1) A "report" is information received by the department of health which raises concern about conduct, acts or conditions related to a credential holder or applicant or about the credential holder or applicant's ability to practice with reasonable skill and safety. If the disciplining authority determines a report warrants an investigation, the report becomes a "complaint."

(2) Basic time periods may be ((extended)) exceeded for "good cause." Good cause is determined on a case-by-case basis, balancing all relevant factors including risk of harm to the public. Some examples of relevant factors may be circumstances not within the control of the department or the disciplining authority, need for expert review not available within the department or the disciplining authority, and activities which cannot be completed within the time period despite effort to do so.

(3) "Days" are calendar days unless otherwise indicated. If a time period would end on a Saturday, Sunday, or state holiday, that time period will end on the next business day.

(4) "Enhanced management oversight" is enhanced direction of a case imposed by department management as an enforcement mechanism when ((an extension is granted)) a basic time period is exceeded. ((The person granting the extension)) Management will ((assure)) ensure the case moves through the stage promptly. Some examples of enhanced direction may be staffing changes, resource reallocation, and work planning.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-020, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-030   What happens if a time period expires?   ((If a basic time period expires, the case cannot continue in its current stage unless an extension is granted. Department staff and a board or commission member, if applicable, are responsible for seeking an extension or moving the case to another stage. Extensions may be granted retroactively for good cause, but such extensions must meet all otherwise applicable criteria.)) When a basic time period expires, enhanced management oversight will occur. The reason for the delay will be noted in the tracking system, but work on the case will not be interrupted.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-030, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-090   Adjudication of statement of charges.   (1) Procedures for adjudication of statements of charges are contained in chapters 246-10 and 246-11 WAC. Those rules provide for twenty days to file an answer, with a sixty-day extension for good cause, and thirty days to issue a scheduling order. They also provide for continuances.

(2) The basic time period for settlement, discovery, and commencement of hearing is one hundred eighty days or less, to be set in the scheduling order.

(3) The basic time period for issuing an order is forty-five days ((from the end of the hearing including deliberations when the disciplining authority is a board or commission)). For secretary professions, the forty-five day period begins upon completion of the hearing. For boards and commission professions, the forty-five day period begins upon completion of the hearing and deliberations. ((The secretary may grant a forty-five day limited extension.))

(4) If no answer is filed or default occurs during the adjudication, a proposed final order of default will be submitted to the disciplining authority within sixty days of notice of failure to respond or notice of default. A final order will be issued within forty-five days of the submission.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-090, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-100   Resolution of a statement of allegations.   (1) If a statement of allegations is issued, the respondent will have ((fourteen)) twenty-eight days to make an initial response. ((The attorney handling the case for the program may grant a limited extension of fourteen days.)) If no response is made, the program's attorney may determine informal disposition has been rejected. The case will be returned to case disposition.

(2) If a response is made, the basic period for completion of informal resolution is sixty days. If informal resolution has not been reached within that time, the case will return to case disposition to determine appropriate action.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-100, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-110   What happens if a case returns to a prior stage?   If a case returns to a prior stage, any unused basic time period days ((or extensions)) in the prior stage may be used. ((If additional time is needed, extensions may be requested as in any other circumstance.))

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-110, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 00-10-114, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00)

WAC 246-14-120   Notice of applicable time periods.   (1) Affected credential holders, applicants, and complainants will be notified of applicable time periods ((and the possibility of extensions)) as soon as possible consistent with effective case management.

(2) Other information about applicable time periods ((and extensions)) will be released according to public records law.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 18.130.095(1). 00-10-114, 246-14-120, filed 5/3/00, effective 7/2/00.]


REPEALER

     The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
WAC 246-14-070 Limited extensions of basic time periods.
WAC 246-14-080 Extension with management oversight.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office