House bill 1534

Rep. Jeremie Dufault, R-Selah, (third from right), watches as Gov. Jay Inslee signs House Bill 1534. The measure will increase the reimbursement rate to Astria Toppenish Hospital so that it is not operating at a loss.

TOPPENISH, WA - A measure by Rep. Jeremie Dufault that will allow the Astria Toppenish Hospital in Toppenish to operate its newly opened psychiatric care facility without losing money was signed into law Wednesday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

The hospital opened the mental health facility at the beginning of this year. However, the default state-reimbursement rate made it so the Astria Toppenish Hospital would be operating at a loss for up to two years until the rate could be adjusted to match the actual cost of maintaining the facility. House Bill 1534 will increase the current reimbursement rate to the median rate being paid to rural hospitals.

“Both parties came together this year to improve our broken mental health care system. I worked across the aisle to ensure that rural Yakima County was a part of that conversation,” said Dufault, R-Selah. “I am humbled by the unanimous support for this bill, which makes an important down payment on expanding access to care in our communities. Patient outcomes improve when we provide services close to home and close to the patient's support network.”

The bill takes effect immediately.

Recommended for you