A few years ago, a group of public advocacy organizations realized that it was very difficult to understand what reproductive health, end-of-life, and LGBT-related health care services were offered at Washington State hospitals and their related facilities. We recognized that this lack of transparency could serve as a serious barrier to patients seeking care in the state.
To address this problem, we started advocating for greater health care transparency. Our efforts resulted in the Washington State Department of Health initiating rulemaking to improve hospital transparency.
During the rulemaking process, public advocacy organizations along with many concerned citizens requested that hospitals provide information about their health care services in a checklist format. The idea was that a simple checklist of services would be easy for consumers to understand and relatively simple for hospitals to fill out. Unfortunately, this suggestion was not adopted. Rather, in March 2014, the Washington State Department of Health implemented a new rule requiring all hospitals to post policies related to reproductive health, end of life, non-discrimination, and admissions on their websites and to submit the policies to the Department of Health.
After a careful review of those policies, our organizations determined that the original goals of transparency and disclosure for health care consumers were not met. The ClearHealthWA Project is intended to advocate for and increase transparency for health care consumers.