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Astria Health announces passage of SB 5532, providing enhanced payment to low volume, small rural hospitals.

On February 23, SB 5532 passed the Senate by a unanimous vote of 0-48, and on April 13, the bill passed the House of Representatives unanimously by vote of 0-98. This landmark bill provides enhanced payments for services provided to Medicaid patients, helping to offset a percentage of Astria Toppenish Hospital’s costs. SB 5532 would increase that payment to Astria Toppenish Hospital (ATH) to 120% of the current inpatient reimbursement rate, and 200% of the current outpatient reimbursement rate. This was an extraordinary combined effort of Astria Health’s leadership team and Washington state lawmakers.

ATH provides the community of Toppenish and its surrounding area with vital medical services.  Since ATH’s patient base averages 67% Medicaid patients, the bill’s passage will positively impact ATH’s financial stability. This sentiment was echoed by Astria Health CEO, Brian Gibbons, who stated, “Loss of financial resources diminishes healthcare provider’s ability to offer quality care. Working in partnership with legislature, we have successfully protected vital medical services for Astria Toppenish Hospital as part of our efforts to achieve health equity in the community. Since 2021, we have worked diligently on the passage of a bill such as this, and its passage will aid in stabilizing ATH’s existing programs and services.” ATH’s Administrator, Cathy Bambrick, elaborated, “Our goal is, and has always been, to achieve health equity in our community. What that means, is that everyone in our community should have the same fair and just opportunity to achieve their highest level of health.” Gibbons continued, “The stability created with the changes in Medicaid reimbursement rates for ATH means that we can further pursue health equity in the parts of the community that are most at risk.”

SB 5532 had strong backing by a number of Washington State politicians, including Yakima County Commissioner LaDon Linde, Senator Curtis King, Representative Chris Corry, and Representative Gina Mosbrucker, all of the 14th District; Representative Bruce Chandler, Senator Nikki Torres, and Representative Bryan Sandlin of the 15th District; Representative Nicole Macri of the 43rd District; and Senator Annette Cleveland of the 49th District. This vast bipartisan support was key in the fluid passage of the bill through both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

The final step for SB 5532, was for Governor Inslee to sign the bill into law, which took place today. Now that the bill is signed, it will take effect in the next legislative year. Astria Toppenish Hospital can expect to see the increase in reimbursements beginning in July of 2024. Due to the extended amount of time until ATH would start to receive the enhanced reimbursements, Washington State Legislation also awarded ATH a grant of 4 million dollars in distressed hospital funding to serve as a financial bridge supporting continued operations in the interim.

Astria Health is a non-profit healthcare system based in Eastern Washington. Astria Health is the parent organization of Astria Sunnyside Hospital and Astria Toppenish Hospital, along with 10 Rural Health Clinics and 12 outpatient centers offering primary care and specialty services, including but not limited to behavioral health, dental services, orthopedics, neurosurgery, oncology, podiatry, rehabilitation therapy, sleep medicine, and home health and hospice. For more information, please visit

Posted May 11, 2023

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