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Snohomish County Board of Health to discuss fee increases and 2024 legislative priorities

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash., August 6, 2023—The Snohomish County Board of Health will hold its regular meeting at 3 p.m. on Tuesday, August 8, 2023, at 3020 Rucker Avenue in the Auditorium. A remote option also is available:

The full board packet for the meeting is available here.

2024 WA Legislative Priorities

The 2024 Washington State Legislative session will begin a short session in January 2024. In preparation for the legislative session, the board has an opportunity to approve a legislative agenda in alignment with our values and priorities. Unlike in years past, as a county department, board priorities will be considered for placement in county priorities as well.

In past years, county public health priorities have informally followed the Washington State Association of Local Public Health Officials (WSALPHO) legislative agenda with the board of health adopting resolutions in support of specific legislative actions. WSALPHO and the Washington State Department of Health priorities have not been drafted yet.

Successes in the 2023 WA Legislative session include:

  • Sustainable investments in Foundational Public Health Services (FPHS)
  • Funding for a pilot STI/HIV clinic in Snohomish County
  • Passage of key healthcare system stabilization, including a nursing compact
  • Passage of several whole body care policies (hearing devices and dental therapists)

Conversations have begun with County legislative policy advisors, the Public Health Advisory Council, Community Equity Advisory Board, and staff on 2024 priorities. In initial staff conversations, the following items are proposed for consideration:

  • FPHS: Maintain current levels; limits on supplantation
  • Allow emergency medical service providers to support public health efforts outside of a declared emergency
  • Investments in environmental quality for the protection of human health such as water quality an shellfish harvesting
  • Equitable access to healthcare coverage for Compact of Free Association Islanders
  • Investments in workforce development and retention
  • Climate and human health connections
  • Investment in public health informatics and assessment

Questions for Board of Health consideration:

Once approved, legislative priorities will be shared with the county, cities, community partners, and our state legislators.

Snohomish County Board of Health Code

RCW 70.05.070 requires the local board of health to enact local rules and regulations as are necessary in order to preserve, promote, and improve the public health and provide for the enforcement thereof.

Since June, staff have provided presentations on large sections of the Board of Health Code as the department works to establish a code for the newly formed Snohomish County Health Department.

Title 1 is the final section requiring review. It is the “code that governs all other code,” so to speak. Components include authority, board administration, enforcement, fees, and the official newspaper of record. Link to Presentation Slide Deck and Title 1 – Redlined.

Board of Health Administrative Rules

Snohomish County Code 2.300.130 requires that the Board of Health adopt administrative rules and procedures. Draft administrative rules (Attachment A) are based on discussions at the Local Board of Health training in Bellingham, King County’s Board of Health administrative rules, Snohomish Health District Charter, and Snohomish County Council meeting rules.

An initial draft has been reviewed by the board chair and vice chair. The current version has not been reviewed by legal. Legal review will be conducted following board member feedback and in advance of the regular September Board of Health meeting. Rules include:

  • Membership requirements (attendance, removal, compensation)
  • Chair and vice-chairs establishment and duties
  • Legislative and non-legislative tools
  • Voting
  • Ethics

Following the Board’s discussion and legal review, these draft rules will be combined into the larger Board of Health Code for adoption later this year.

Draft Board of Health Administrative Rules Ordinance Dated July 31, 2023

Environmental Health Fee Schedules

RCW 70.05.060 requires the local board of health to establish fee schedules for issuing or renewing licenses or permits or for such other services as are authorized by the law and the rules of the state board of health. The rule further provides that such fees for services shall not exceed the actual cost of providing any such services.

Per RCW 70.05.035(l) and SCC 2.300.100 require that, “Any decision by the board of health related to the setting or modification of permit, licensing, and application fees may only be determined by the city and county elected officials on the board.” In meeting these requirements fees will be adopted in a separate action from the Board of Health Code, also currently in front of the board for consideration.

A 5% increase across all permits, inspections, reviews, and related fees are being proposed. This increase reflects the same increase in staff cost of living adjustments.

Link to presentation and other online attachments.

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