Passed by the WA Legislature in May 2021, House Bill 1152 (Exhibit A) creates a statewide Public Health Advisory Board and modifies the composition of local boards of health.
The Public Health Advisory Board will be established by the WA Department of Health and will consist of twenty voting members from a prescribed list of sectors. The Board is charged with several roles including creating and monitoring performance of the statewide governmental public health system and evaluating the use of Foundational Public Health Services funding.
Local boards of health must be restructured so that non-elected individuals are in equal number to the number of elected officials on the local board of health. Non-elected members must be from three categories specified in the bill and selected/appointed consistent with rules to be developed by the State Board of Health. One exception applies: an all-elected local board of health does not need to restructure provided it has a community health advisory board (or the like) in operation with bylaws before January 1, 2021. If this applies, the bill requires the existing community health advisory board (or equivalent), to be in compliance with Sec 7 by January 1, 2022. Last, if an all-elected local board of health changes its structure, the ability to utilize a community health advisory board no longer applies, requiring the local board of health to conform to applicable parts of the legislation.
As the District has an all-elected local board of health and has an existing Public Health Advisory Council (PHAC) with bylaws before January 2021, the District will be implementing the exemption to full board of health restructuring.
RCW 70.46.140 (HB 1152, Sec 7) for community health advisory boards states that by January 1, 2022, local community health boards shall meet the following requirements:
- Provide input to the local board of health in the recruitment of local administrator/director and local health officer
- Use a health equity framework to conduct local health needs assessment and health improvement planning efforts
- Promote public participation in these efforts
- Evaluate proposed public health policies and programs and assure local needs and concerns are being met
- Provide community forums and hearings as assigned by the local board of health
- Review and make recommendations on local health jurisdiction annual budgets and fees
- Review and advise on local health jurisdiction progress, performance measures and outcomes
- Local advisory board members include 9 – 21 members that are appointed by the local board of health
- The local health officer and a local board of health member will hold ex officio positions
- Composition of the local advisory board includes:
- Members with expertise in healthcare, environment, social and economic, business, government, tribal, communities that experience health inequities
- Community-based organizations, non-profits, business
- Recruitment for advisory board members must be done in a way to assure diversity and representation from marginalized communities
- Advisory board members serve staggered three-year terms, select chair and vice-chair members
- Staffing for the advisory board shall be provided by the local health jurisdiction
- The advisory board shall meet monthly and these meetings are subject to the open public meetings act
A PHAC ad hoc committee has met four times to understand the legislation and draft proposals for Board of Health consideration. Ad hoc members are: Lisa George, Jean Doerge, Kurt Hilt, Jason Biermann, and Patricia Love.
A draft membership crosswalk (Exhibit B) and updated bylaws (Exhibit C) are presented for Board of Health consideration. Underpinning these drafts are the following assumptions:
- Current PHAC members should be included
- Available sectors need to be reduced sufficiently to meet legislation max membership requirements
- Develop member duties/capabilities in support of revised bylaws stated purpose and strategies
- Limit number of 'Government' sector representatives on the PHAC to three
- Utilize as much direct language from legislation as possible in both bylaws and membership sector descriptors