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Healthcare industry to collect demographic data

More than 400,000 health care professionals would be required to provide information on race, ethnicity, gender, and spoken languages under a bill that passed the House and now is under consideration by the Senate.

“This is something that we need to do to align our racial and ethnic makeup, and also just understanding better how we can get the workforce that reflects our state,” said Rep. Marcus Riccelli, D-Spokane. “This is needed to help us have a more robust and diverse workforce.”

Currently, demographic information is collected for physicians and physician assistants by the Washington Medical Commission, but healthcare professionals certified or licensed by other authorities generally do not collect demographic information.

Rep. Alex Ybarra, R-Quincy, said the information collected in K-12 school districts has been proven useful.

“There’s a list out there that shows how the kids should be listed so we can get the right funding for those particular kids in the K-12 world,” he said. “We thought that this particular bill would do the same thing for the healthcare industry.”

The measure, Substitute House Bill 1503, passed the House with a 94-0 vote.