State of Washington
68th Legislature
2023 Regular Session
ByHouse Community Safety, Justice, & Reentry (originally sponsored by Representatives Steele, Caldier, Santos, Leavitt, Schmidt, Eslick, Orwall, Reeves, and Graham)
AN ACT Relating to authorizing additional counseling services for immediate family members of homicide victims; and amending RCW 7.68.080.
Sec. 1. RCW 7.68.080 and 2017 c 235 s 6 are each amended to read as follows:
(1) When the injury to any victim is so serious as to require the victim's being taken from the place of injury to a place of treatment, reasonable transportation costs to the nearest place of proper treatment shall be reimbursed by the department as part of the victim's total claim under RCW 7.68.070(1).
(2) In the case of alleged rape or molestation of a child, the reasonable costs of a colposcopy examination shall be reimbursed by the department. Costs for a colposcopy examination given under this subsection shall not be included as part of the victim's total claim under RCW 7.68.070(1).
(3) The director shall adopt rules for fees and charges for hospital, clinic, medical, and other health care services, including fees and costs for durable medical equipment, eyeglasses, hearing aids, and other medically necessary devices for crime victims under this chapter. The director shall set these service levels and fees at a level no lower than those established for comparable services under the workers' compensation program under Title 51 RCW, except the director shall comply with the requirements of RCW 7.68.030(2)(g) (i) through (iii) when setting service levels and fees, including reducing levels and fees when required. In establishing fees for medical and other health care services, the director shall consider the director's duty to purchase health care in a prudent, cost-effective manner. The director shall establish rules adopted in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to require the payment of interest on any billing, fee, or charge.
(4) Whenever the director deems it necessary in order to resolve any medical issue, a victim shall submit to examination by a physician or physicians selected by the director, with the rendition of a report to the person ordering the examination. The department shall provide the physician performing an examination with all relevant medical records from the victim's claim file. The director, in his or her discretion, may charge the cost of such examination or examinations to the crime victims' compensation fund. If the examination is paid for by the victim, then the cost of said examination shall be reimbursed to the victim for reasonable costs connected with the examination as part of the victim's total claim under RCW 7.68.070(1).
(5) Victims of sexual assault are eligible to receive appropriate counseling. Fees for such counseling shall be determined by the department. Counseling services may include, if determined appropriate by the department, counseling of members of the victim's immediate family, other than the perpetrator of the assault.
(6)(a) Immediate family members of a homicide victim may receive appropriate counseling to assist in dealing with the immediate, near-term consequences of the related effects of the homicide. ((Up))Except as provided in (b) of this subsection, up to ((twelve))12 counseling sessions may be received after the crime victim's claim has been allowed. Fees for counseling shall be determined by the department in accordance with and subject to this section. Payment of counseling benefits under this section may not be provided to the perpetrator of the homicide. The benefits under this subsection may be provided only with respect to homicides committed on or after July 1, 1992.
(b) The immediate family members of a homicide victim may receive more than 12 counseling sessions under this subsection (6) if a licensed mental health provider determines that:
(i) Additional sessions are needed as a direct result of the near-term consequences of the related effects of the homicide; and
(ii) The recipient of the counseling would benefit from additional sessions.
(7) Pursuant to RCW 7.68.070(((12)))(13), a victim of a sex offense that occurred outside of Washington may be eligible to receive mental health counseling related to participation in proceedings to civilly commit a perpetrator.
(8) The crime victims' compensation program shall consider payment of benefits solely for the effects of the criminal act.
(9) The legislature finds and declares it to be in the public interest of the state of Washington that a proper regulatory and inspection program be instituted in connection with the provision of any services provided to crime victims pursuant to this chapter. In order to effectively accomplish such purpose and to assure that the victim receives such services as are paid for by the state of Washington, the acceptance by the victim of such services, and the request by a provider of services for reimbursement for providing such services, shall authorize the director of the department or the director's authorized representative to inspect and audit all records in connection with the provision of such services. In the conduct of such audits or investigations, the director or the director's authorized representatives may:
(a) Examine all records, or portions thereof, including patient records, for which services were rendered by a health care provider and reimbursed by the department, notwithstanding the provisions of any other statute which may make or purport to make such records privileged or confidential, except that no original patient records shall be removed from the premises of the health care provider, and that the disclosure of any records or information obtained under authority of this section by the department is prohibited and constitutes a violation of RCW 42.52.050, unless such disclosure is directly connected to the official duties of the department. The disclosure of patient information as required under this section shall not subject any physician, licensed advanced registered nurse practitioner, or other health care provider to any liability for breach of any confidential relationships between the provider and the patient. The director or the director's authorized representative shall destroy all copies of patient medical records in their possession upon completion of the audit, investigation, or proceedings;
(b) Approve or deny applications to participate as a provider of services furnished to crime victims pursuant to this title;
(c) Terminate or suspend eligibility to participate as a provider of services furnished to victims pursuant to this title; and
(d) Pursue collection of unpaid overpayments and/or penalties plus interest accrued from health care providers pursuant to RCW 51.32.240(6).
(10) When contracting for health care services and equipment, the department, upon request of a contractor, shall keep confidential financial and valuable trade information, which shall be exempt from public inspection and copying under chapter 42.56 RCW.
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