Smith bill to assist Skagit Valley Hospital passes House unanimously

The House of Representatives voted unanimously today to pass a bill that would allow Skagit Valley Hospital to continue operating under its cooperative agreements.

House Bill 1274, sponsored by Rep. Norma Smith, would increase the population threshold used to qualify as a rural public hospital district.

“This bill is about more than just allowing a higher population area to qualify as a rural hospital district,” said Smith, R-Clinton. “It allows hospitals, such as Skagit Valley, to continue working within their current interlocal agreements and contracts. This is essential for smaller communities with limited resources so they can provide necessary medical services.”

The bill would increase the city population limit within rural public hospital district boundaries from 30,000 to 50,000 people.

“It is important rural hospital districts continue to have the ability and authority to make cooperative agreements with each other to meet community needs. It allows them to operate more efficiently and effectively and provide higher quality care for their patients at no additional cost to the taxpayers of Washington state,” Smith said.

There are currently 56 public hospital districts in Washington. Nearly half of the hospitals in the state are public hospital districts, most of which are in rural areas.

The bill is now headed to the Senate for consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications