Rulemaking

The Health Care Authority's (HCA) rulemaking page where you can find all of the agency's current rulemaking activities.

Note: Effective July 1, 2018, portions of the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) Chapter 388-877 and all of Chapter 388-865 will move to the Health Care Authority (HCA) under new Chapter 182-538D. View the crosswalk. In addition, a portion of the DSHS rules located under Chapter 388-877 WAC will move to the Department of Health (DOH) under Title 246. See the DOH Behavioral Health Agencies page for details.

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Rules we are currently working on

The difference between laws and rules

  • Laws: Passed by the Washington State Legislature and codified in the Revised Code of Washington (RCW).
  • Rules: HCA adopts its own rules to add details to the RCW. Rules are codified as the Washington Administrative Code (WAC).

WAC and RCW are published by the Office of the Code Reviser.

Rule adoption process

Washington State requires its agencies, including HCA, to follow a specific process when adopting or revising rules. This process allows the public to give feedback on rules before they are adopted.

Three steps to adopting or revising rules

  1. "Preproposal Statement of Inquiry"
    • To request to participate in rulemaking, send a message to the contact person on the CR-101. 
    • Tells you HCA may adopt rules on a topic. 
    • Published on form CR-101.
  2. "Proposed Rule Making"
    • Published on form CR-102. 
    • Tells you which rule amendments HCA proposes, including the text of the proposed rule. 
    • To comment on a proposed rule, follow instructions on the CR-102 for submitting comments or attending the public hearing. 
  3. "Rule Making Order"
    • Published on form CR-103. 
    • Tells you which rule amendments or new rules HCA has adopted. 
    • Can be an emergency rule adoption, which temporarily skips the CR101 and CR102 steps, as long as it satisfies certain requirements. Includes the text of the adopted rule.

Other rulemaking actions

Emergency rules

HCA may adopt temporary emergency rules if the rules are needed to prevent a threat to public safety, health or welfare, or if HCA must meet an immediate deadline imposed by a state or federal law, a federal rule or a court decision.

Emergency rules are generally effective for 120 days and may be extended in certain circumstances, but the emergency rule cannot become permanent until the regular rulemaking process is followed which includes public comment and a public hearing (RCW 34.05.350).

Expedited rulemaking

This shortened process (approximately 45 days) allows HCA to adopt or repeal a rule without a public hearing or comment process in very limited circumstances. A CR-105 Expedited Rule-Making notice and the full text of the proposed rule are publish in the Washington State Register (RCW 34.05.353).

Petition for rulemaking

Anyone may petition HCA to adopt, amend, or repeal a rule in accordance with RCW 34.05.330. The petitioner must send a completed Petition for Rulemaking form to the HCA Rules Coordinator at arc@hca.wa.gov or by mail to PO Box 42716, Olympia WA 98504-2716.

HCA will accept a letter in place of the Petition for Rulemaking form which contains at a minimum the information required in WAC 82-05-020. HCA has 60 days after receipt of a petition to either initiate rulemaking proceedings in accordance with chapter 34.05 RCW or deny the petition in writing.