Washington Governor Signs SB 5218 to Remove Sales Tax From CRT Equipment

Published in Government Relations on May 05, 2023

On May 4 in Olympia, Washington, Governor Jay Inslee signed SB 5218 into effect. This bill exempts complex rehab technology (CRT) equipment from sales tax, making it more accessible and affordable for those in need of it. Congratulations to Don Whitney of Inland Medical and the PAMES state association, along with the entire state of Washington, for their efforts in the recent passing of this legislation. The imperative part of this bill passing was in large part due to the close personal relationship that Don Whitney had with Senator Mike Padden who championed this bill. The road to passing this bill was not an easy one, but thanks to the hard work and dedication of many individuals and organizations, it has finally become a reality.

Bill Signing

The successful passage of this bill is a clear demonstration of the power of advocacy and collaboration. The tireless efforts of the PAMES Board, along with numerous other organizations and individuals, played a crucial role in promoting the bill and garnering support for it. Senators Padden, Mullet, and Torres were instrumental in sponsoring the bill and rallying support for it in the Senate.

In 2022, PAMES initially attempted to exempt taxes for all DME, CRT, and home medical supplies, but the fiscal impact was deemed too high. Following Sen. Padden's suggestion, the focus was narrowed to CRT products. PAMES members reached out to their representatives and senators through various means, including emails, testimonies, and Committee Sign In, resulting in over 150 pros in both the Senate and the House. Additionally, letters of support and testimonies from various organizations, including U.S. Rehab, AAHomecare, the Gleason Foundation, and the National MS Society, helped secure unanimous passage of the bill in both chambers. It is clear that everyone working in sync is necessary for bills to pass successfully.

The passage of SB 5218 is a significant victory for the citizens of Washington and for all those who require CRT equipment.

Group Photo After

"I am grateful to have supported a bill that truly benefits people, keeping them healthy and out of hospitals. It is unfair to tax items that are essential for someone's wellbeing, and Washington is one of the few states that do so,” said Sen. Padden. “While we faced challenges and time constraints, thanks to the tireless efforts of Abby Moore, our lobbyist, we stayed on course and succeeded in passing this bill."

"This wonderful and welcome change for the citizens of Washington and for all the suppliers providing CRT services in the state ensures that those who need CRT equipment can receive it at a much more reasonable cost without being impacted by insurance payers who don't cover it,” said Barb Stockert, Executive Director of PAMES. “Abby Moore with Multi State was hired as our lobbyist, and she was fantastic, spending many days at the Capitol making contacts and promoting the bill. Her updates kept us informed and briefed on everything that was happening."

It is also worth noting the personal relationships and connections that played a role in this bill's success. Don Whitney’s personal relationship with Senator Padden was invaluable in getting the bill passed.

"The opportunity to present my talking points and Sen. Padden's willingness to assist right away was only possible because he had an open-door policy,” said Don Whitney. “That initial interaction created a foundation of trust that was critical throughout the process. Effective communication, persistence, friendship, and trust between Sen. Padden, myself, and PAMES were all essential. Additionally, everyone involved must work in sync for bills to pass successfully. Without this personal relationship, I do not think that this legislation would have been possible."

"This successful outcome is a testament to the importance of building relationships with legislators and staying informed about industry issues,” said Greg Packer, President of U.S. Rehab. “The collaboration between VGM, NCART, and other groups in our industry demonstrates how perseverance and strategic advocacy can lead to the passing of crucial legislation."

"Success in one state is just the beginning,” said John Gallagher, VP of VGM Government Relations. “We must now strive to replicate it in Washington and beyond, by expanding DME product category exemptions and addressing tax issues, to unlock the full potential of this process."

The signing of SB 5218 is a major achievement for the state of Washington, its residents, and the accessibility and affordability of CRT equipment. This initiative's success is due to the collective efforts and commitment of everyone involved, and we are excited to witness its positive impact on individuals who require this equipment.

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