The Senate has approved Senate Bill 6263 to provide children in Washington with life saving vaccines.
The legislation, sponsored by Sen. Karen Keiser, D-Kent, finalizes an agreement reached by key stakeholders to continue providing children in Washington with easy access to needed immunizations. In 2009, the Legislature abandoned the universal purchase program- ending it May 1, 2010- because of the budget deficit and vaccine prices. It passed the Senate 45-2 and now goes to the House for consideration.
For the past 10 months, a work group comprised of representatives from insurance carriers, pediatricians, children’s advocacy groups, staff from the Legislature, governor’s office, Department of Health and DSHS have met to develop an alternative method of assuring coverage for all children in the state. After considerable effort, the group appears to have come to agreement.
The bill represents a successful collaborative effort by the private and public sectors benefiting children in the state.
“They have succeeded in coming together for a very good proposal, and I urge your support,” said Keiser shortly before the floor vote.
The universal purchase system will cover all childhood vaccines, including HPV and influenza for children up to 19 years of age. As the specifics of the new system are worked out, members of a workgroup will work with health care providers to make sure that any changes in billing and coding are easy to implement and that the system will be as similar as possible to the one we currently have.
Washington has been a universal purchase (UP)vaccine state for many years. UP states agree to accept all of the CDC-recommended vaccines for children and distribute them free to providers to immunize children. While costly, this arrangement helps states promote immunizations for kids.