House gives unanimous approval to Dufault bill for fair reimbursement to Toppenish mental health facility

A measure sponsored by Rep. Jeremie Dufault that would allow the Astria Toppenish Hospital to operate their newly-opened psychiatric care facility without a financial loss gained unanimous approval today in the Washington State House of Representatives.

The hospital opened the mental health facility at the beginning of this year. However, the default state-reimbursement rate made it so 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.

“Unfortunately, there is a wrinkle in the way that the reimbursement rate is calculated for new psychiatric care facilities in our state,” Dufault explained. “This measure represents an investment in improving mental health care in rural Washington.”

House Bill 1534 would immediately increase the current reimbursement rate – $711.55 per day to $1,050 per day – which is the median rate being paid to other rural hospitals providing psychiatric care in Washington.

“Toppenish is in the heart of my district. My father was a letter carrier there for 10 years. I spent many days there,” added Dufault, R-Selah. “There is nothing more I would like to see than mental health clients receive care in their community and close to their support networks.”

It was the 15th District freshman's first bill to be passed from the House. After the vote was taken, Dufault was congratulated by his colleagues on the House floor.

The measure now goes to the Senate for further consideration.

PHOTO: Rep. Jeremie Dufault, R-Selah, is congratulated by fellow lawmakers for passing his first bill. House Bill 1534 would change reimbursement rates for a mental health facility in Toppenish.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov