Who We Are

Since 1952 The Association of Washington Public Hospital Districts (AWPHD) has been the voice for Public Hospital Districts (PHD) across the State of Washington. We are solely focused on the unique role that PHDs serve in communities.

At AWPHD we understand the special connection of our members to their communities; that have made the choice and investments to keep care local. We strive to support the PHDs at all levels; the publicly elected commissioners, CEOs and staff. Our value is in our ability to advocate, educate and convene all of the above to create a better environment to deliver publicly owned health care.

We are led by a professional, full time staff and an all volunteer Board of Directors.

What We Do

We Advocate

When it comes to influencing public policy, AWPHD is the voice of Washington Public Hospital Districts. Together, with our experience and members’ collective voices, we bring your needs and issues to the Legislature, State and Federal Agencies.

We Educate

At AWPHD we offer tailored governance education to PHD leaders and Commissioners. In addition, we help our members navigate legal questions unique to PHDs.

We Convene

We recognize the value to our members in gathering to learn and share. AWPHD sponsors multiple annual gatherings for PHD leaders. We also have forged strategic partnerships within the healthcare and public policy arenas that add value to our members.

We Support

AWPHD administers Intergovernmental Transfer (IGT) and Nursing Home Pro-Share programs that deliver direct financial benefit to our members. In addition, AWPHD provides access to qualified, independent legal support on those issues unique to PHDs.

What are Public Hospital Districts?

What is a Public Hospital District?

Public Hospital Districts are community-created, governmental entities authorized by state law to deliver health services—including but not limited to acute hospital care—to district residents and others in the districts’ service areas. Owned and governed by local citizens, hospital districts tailor their services to meet the unique needs of their communities.

What is the Statutory Authority for Public Hospital Districts?

In 1945 the Washington State Legislature adopted legislation establishing Public Hospital Districts. The statute that establishes and defines Public Hospital Districts is RCW 70.44.

How are Public Hospital Districts Formed and Governed?

Public Hospital Districts are formed by a vote of local residents and are governed by an elected Board of Commissioners.

How Many Public Hospital Districts are There?

Fifty-six local communities in Washington have established Public Hospital Districts. Forty-four have hospitals and the others provide services such as emergency services, urgent care, nursing homes, etc. Nearly half of all hospitals in Washington State are Public Hospital Districts.

How are Public Hospital Districts Supported?

The source of most of the revenue received by Public Hospital Districts is the same as for all other hospitals: private and public insurance. Also, as junior taxing districts, Public Hospital Districts have statutorily-limited access to property tax dollars but these tax dollars represent a very small proportion of their total revenue—usually around 2-3%.

Transparency and Open Government

As units of local government, Public Hospital Districts are subject to all state laws related to transparency and open government, including the Open Public Meetings Act, the Public Records Act, and others.