House passes hospital oversight bill to protect patient safety

OLYMPIA – On Friday, the Washington State House of Representatives passed HB 2426 to increase regulations for psychiatric hospitals. Sponsored by Rep. Eileen Cody (D-West Seattle), the bill seeks to improve both patient safety and healthcare transparency. It was requested by the Washington State Department of Health.

In private psychiatric hospitals, regulatory noncompliance has threatened the well-being of people who have been committed. Patients that might have checked in voluntarily have been forced to stay against their will. This discourages patients from seeking future treatment, Rep. Cody said.

“We should be setting up hospitals to give patients high quality care, especially for psychiatric patients who are already in a vulnerable place,” said Cody. “This gives the Department much better enforcement power to keep people safe.”

Cody chairs the Health Care & Wellness Committee, which passed several bills concerning healthcare transparency and regulations. The bills will be heard on the House floor through next Wednesday.

HB 2426 now moves to the Senate for consideration after passing 84-14 in the House.