Inslee signs Caldier’s hospital notification bills into law

Legislation becomes law on July 28

PORT ORCHARD — Two hospital notification bills sponsored by 26th Legislative District state Rep. Michelle Caldier-R, Port Orchard, were signed into law April 30 by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee.

Caldier’s bills become law effective July 28.

House Bill 1016 would require hospitals to notify a rape victim within two hours of their arrival that they don’t have rape kits or a provider trained in sexual assault examinations on the premises.

One provision of her bill — hospitals not in compliance would be fined $2,000 — was removed in the Senate whereby individuals would instead be notified by the hospital about filing a complaint with the Department of Health if it doesn’t meet the two-hour rape kit notification rule.

The Senate amendment also requires hospitals not providing rape kits to develop a plan by July 1, 2020, to assist victims by finding a facility with appropriate providers available.

The change didn’t sit well with Caldier, however.

“Senator Emily Randall tried to help me restore the penalty in the final bills, and I appreciate her efforts,” Caldier said after the vote. “Unfortunately, we were not able to get it back in. Although the measure is not exactly what I was hoping for, it is a step forward to help sexual assault survivors.”

Caldier said she hoped the bill “sends a strong message to hospitals [that] we are paying attention and this should never happen again.”

Caldier’s other bill signed into law — House Bill 1607 — would require a written notice be given to the state attorney general at least 60 days before the effective date of a hospital or provider organization or merger.

“Patients seeking help at their local hospitals or health care providers are already vulnerable,” she said. “They look to these providers in good faith and put a lot of trust into them to provide the care they need.

“Overall, we have great health care providers. However, these types of incidents from a few bad actors erode the public’s trust, even against good providers. That’s why this legislation is important to say we won’t tolerate this further.”