November 2020

The Washington Department of Health (DOH) has filed a notice of proposed rule-making that may be of interest to a broad cross-section of the Washington health care community. DOH has proposed to amend the rule that provides for coordinated quality improvement programs (CQIPs) for non-hospital organizations. 

Background: Washington law (RCW 43.70.510) authorizes certain licensed medical provider groups, non-hospital health care institutions and medical facilities that are licensed by DOH, professional societies or organizations, health care service contractors, health maintenance organizations, certain health carriers and others to maintain a CQIP.  The purpose of a CQIP is to improve the quality of health care services rendered and identify and prevent medical malpractice. An approved CQIP grants certain liability and confidentiality protections (See RCW 43.70.510, RCW 70.41.200 and RCW 4.24.250). Since inception of the program, over four-hundred (400) such organizations have successfully applied for status as an approved CQIP program.

Proposed Rule: The proposed rule would do the following: 

  • Amend the applicable regulations (WAC 246-50) to streamline the existing language, including the definition of eligible entities; 
  • Implement a requirement and process for DOH renewal of CQIPs every five years; 
  • Require that currently approved CQIPs seek renewal of their programs before December 31, 2021;
  • Establish an obligation to modify already-approved programs should there be any changes to requirements for program approval adopted by DOH or the legislature; 
  • Mandate notice to DOH of a change in a CQIP’s authorized representative within 30 days; and 
  • Clarify that applicants whose CQIP is rejected by DOH may resubmit or request a “brief adjudicative proceeding,” as defined by RCW 34.05.482.

Recommended Action Items:

  1. Review the proposed rulemaking to be sure your organization remains eligible to participate in light of evolutions in provider structures, such as clinically integrated networks;
  2. Determine whether your organization wishes to attend the December 3, 2020 public hearing, or to submit comments to influence the rule-making process described further in the link here; and
  3. If you are a currently approved program, engage in the mandatory renewal process by December 31, 2021.