Providing Access to Licensed Content for Care Providers Statewide: Lessons Learned (Brief Communications) (Report)
BACKGROUND A bill designed to improve health care access and quality for all citizens of Washington State was passed and signed into law in May 2007 . Many of the bill’s provisions stemmed directly from recommendations made by the governor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on Health Care Costs and Access. One of the commission’s recommendations was that health care providers follow evidence-based standards of practice, where available. This recommendation was incorporated into law by mandating that the University of Washington (UW) Health Sciences Library (HSL) develop a web portal where eligible providers across the state could access evidence-based information to support patient care. To fund this portal, the law required that the Washington State Department of Health (DOH) impose a maximum $25 per year add-on to the license fees of health care providers.* State associations representing licensed care providers were contacted by legislative staff about whether or not their members should be covered by this legislation. Based on those efforts, 14 professions were named in the enabling legislation, totaling more than 150,000 providers (Table 1). A number of other professional groups either were not considered, could not be contacted in the limited time available, or, in the case of pharmacists and dentists, decided on behalf of their members to opt out. A contract was negotiated between DOH and HSL in 2008 covering the development and maintenance of the web portal and the transfer of fees to support this work. The DOH-HSL contract runs through June 30, 2011. The enabling legislation does not sunset.