What is a serious health condition?

A “serious health condition” is defined in RCW 50A.05.010. Generally, a serious health condition could include an illness, injury, impairment, or physical or mental condition that involves:

Inpatient care in a hospital, hospice, or residential medical care facility, including any period of incapacity; or

Continuing treatment by a healthcare provider including any of the following:

Incapacity: A period of incapacity of more than three consecutive days and subsequent treatment or period of incapacity relating to the same condition. Incapacity means an inability to work, attend school, or perform other regular daily activities because of a serious health condition, treatment of that condition or recovery from it, or subsequent treatment.

Pregnancy: Any period of incapacity due to pregnancy, or for prenatal care.

Chronic conditions: Any period of incapacity or treatment for such incapacity due to a chronic serious health condition. A chronic serious health condition is one which:

  • Continues over an extended period of time, including recurring episodes of a single underlying condition;
  • Requires periodic visits to a health care provider; and
  • May cause episodic rather than a continuing period of incapacity, including asthma, diabetes, and epilepsy
  • Permanent/Long-term: A period of incapacity which is permanent or long-term due to a condition for which treatment may not be effective. The employee or family member must be under the continuing supervision of, but need not be receiving active treatment by, a health care provider, including
  • Alzheimer’s, a severe stroke, or the terminal stages of a disease; or
  • Multiple treatments: Any period of absence to receive multiple treatments, including any period of recovery from the treatments.
  • Substance abuse may be a serious health condition if the treatment meets other requirements in this definition.