Emma Scher

Emma Scher

By Emma Scher

WNPA Olympia News Bureau

Healthcare professionals may gain protection from retaliation for reporting medical care violations even if they don’t work for the facility they’re reporting.

Currently, confidentiality and retaliatory protections only extend to health care professionals that are employed by the health care facility.

According to House Bill 1049’s prime sponsor Rep. Nicole Macri, D-Seattle, the nature of health care has changed from a bevy of small practices to more large health care providers. The bill is intended for health care workers who may have visiting privileges at a hospital but don’t specifically work in a hospital.

Presently when visiting health professionals raise concerns, “hospitals can just revoke their visiting privileges,” said Macri. “They had no leverage because they weren’t employed by the health care facility.”

The proposed version of the bill passed the House and Senate last year, but did not receive a final passage before the end of the short session. The bill has bipartisan support, and Macri is optimistic that it will be passed this year.

Kay Funk, a family physician from Yakima County traveled to Olympia to voice her support for the bill. No one spoke in opposition to the bill at its first reading.

“Practicing medicine is difficult in the best of circumstances,” Funk said on Tuesday. “When people are not held accountable bad cultures can develop and bad things happen.”