Prepared by Leslie Emerick, Lobbyist
Today is the 41st day of the 60-day “short-session of the 2020 WA State Legislative Session! The “supplemental budget” comes out on Monday, February 24th for both the House and the Senate so we will know what the legislature is willing to fund beyond the original Operating budget this year. Time flies from here on out as bills begin to die and we know which ones “still have legs”! We started out with a high of 67 bills we were tracking, and we are down to 24 bills on our list. Right now, House bills go to the Senate for consideration in committee and vice versa. The next bill cut-off is February 28th to get out of the opposite House policy committees and March 2, 2020 is the last day for bills in the opposite house to pass out of the House fiscal committees and Senate Ways & Means. March 6, 2020 at 5 PM is the last day to pass opposite house bills and March 12 is the last day of the session!
We had a great In-Home Services Day on January 28th in Olympia! We had 36 attendees from all three associations and met with over 50 legislators. We received positive feedback from the attendees and were able to spread the good work of home health, home care and hospice to legislators from across Washington state. I enjoyed attending the board meeting the night before and giving the group an overview of our legislative agenda. Some members receive excellent one-on-one time with their state legislator and were really able to share stories about their experiences with family members in home care…such a valuable interaction when that happens!
Bills of High Interest and Concern
HB 2681 Preventing harassment, abuse, and discrimination experienced by long-term care workers The night before the In-Home Services Day, Jeff Wiberg and I worked on testimony for a public hearing the next day on. Jeff got a rude cut-off about halfway from the Committee Chair, Representative Sells as he went through his testimony. Even so, I think his voice was heard about having concerns with the impact of the bill on home care agencies. The bill has since been amended to form a workgroup and to reduce some of the duplication of training and documentation.
SB 6492 Workforce Surcharge replace the Workforce Surcharge bill from 2019. There were accounting problems with the original bill that passed last session, so they had to go back in and fix it in a hurry this session before any taxes were actually collected. Many people got letters for DOH stating that the implementation of the bill was on hold. The bill has already been signed by the Governor.
The bill has been very controversial this session and there were many long hearings with lots of amendments with requests to be excluded from the bill by many different health care providers. None of those amendments were accepted in the revised bill. They struck out all the language related to health care and to make it more generic and inclusive. The 1.5 % rate went from 1.8% then to 1.75% for all health care providers. The bill now includes hospice, home health and home care. Hospitals and health care practitioners who make less than $1 mill a year are exempt from the increase. Here is a link to the final bill language:http://lawfilesext.leg.wa.gov/biennium/2019-20/Pdf/Bill%20Reports/House/6492-S.E%20HBR%20APH%2020.pdf?q=20200208115720
Department of Health Issues
The next Department of Health (DOH) In-Home Services Roundtable will be April 23, 2020. Home care, home health, and hospice agency representatives and other interested parties are encouraged to attend. The purpose of these meetings is to provide agencies an opportunity to meet with DOH staff, to receive licensing, survey, and industry related information and updates, to have the opportunity to ask questions / raise concerns, and to collaborate with colleagues. The Roundtable will be held at the following address:
- Department of Health, Town Center Two, 111 Israel Rd SE (room 166) Tumwater, WA 98501
- Roundtable – 9:00 to 11:00am
Visitor parking is available in front of the main DOH buildings as well as the parking structure. You can park in any space that is not marked for special purposes. An agenda will be sent out prior to the April 23rd Roundtable. A call-in option will also be available for those who cannot attend in person.
Contact In-Home Services program manager if you have any questions at [email protected].
|Long-Term Care Workforce Development Steering Committee: |
Julie Ferguson, WAHCA member and I have been regularly attending the workgroup meetings of the Curriculum and Testing Committees for reviewing and assessing what would be in a core curriculum for all types of certified nursing assistants and have been participating in monthly workgroup meetings. Our last meeting was on February 10th. Background: In 2019, the legislature re-convened the Nursing Care Quality Assurance Commission (NCQAC) LTC Workforce committee to address key recommendations by providing detailed plans to improve availability and use of workforce-related data and make updates and revisions to training, and testing. The legislature also directed the committee to develop recommendations for skilled nursing facility staffing models and address deficiencies in resident care.
Meeting Agenda and Materials
Palliative Care Roadmap: We have had a second meeting for the “PC roadmap”, working with DOH staff to review the compiled information that was gathered at the first big meeting. Shawn D’Amelio attended the first meeting where they took broad feedback for the larger workgroup. The next few meetings will be editing with a smaller group of palliative care experts as to the direction and content for the report. As you may remember, we had excellent representation from across the state with many different types of palliative care providers and experts at the table for the initial source of content for the booklet. Now it’s time to start narrowing it down and organizing the content. The booklet will be very similar to the Dementia Roadmap published by DSHS a few years ago. It is to be used as a resource for patients, their families and practitioners when a patient has been diagnosed with a serious or life-threatening illness. Hard copies must be available for distribution no later than September 30, 2020.
More to come!
Palliative Care-Rural Health Integration Advisory Team (PC-RHIAT): This is an ongoing workgroup thatI am involved in. I am on the advisory team for the Community Engagement Workgroup. To learn more about the Washington Rural Palliative Care Initiative please visit : https://waportal.org/partners/home/washington-rural-palliative-care-initiative
Labor and Industries Issues
Just areminder that House Bill 1931: Concerning workplace violence in health care settings, which passed last session impacting in-home services agencies licensed under RCW 70.127. It requires workforce violence prevention planning and training for hospitals, including in-home services providers under RCW 70.127. See the WA State Hospital Association article below:
Long-Term Care Trust Act Implementation: This will be an ongoing issue over the next few years as it is implemented.Provides benefits for long-term services and supports to qualified individuals who need assistance with at least three activities of daily living. Establishes eligibility requirements for the Trust Program for persons who pay a premium of 0.58 percent of $100 (a little over a nickel) of a person’s wages for a specific amount of time. Here is a good fact sheet on the impacts of the bill: https://www.agingwashington.org/files/2019/02/2019-Long-Term-Care-Trust-Act-Factsheet.pdf
Consumer Directed Employer (CDE)
Starting in 2018, this multi-year process will establish a contract between the Department of Social and Health Services and Consumer Direct of Washington (CDWA) to become the Consumer Directed Employer. This entity will serve as the employer for Individual Providers of in-home personal care and respite in Washington state. When the Consumer Directed Employer contract goes into effect, CDWA will handle the credentialing, payroll and other employer responsibilities currently managed by the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration, Developmental Disabilities Administration and the Area Agencies on Aging. Consumers will continue to select, schedule, supervise, and dismiss their Individual Providers.
In November 2019, DSHS signed a contract with Consumer Direct of Washington (CDWA). The Department remains committed to initiating the transition to the CDE by the legislatively required date of June 30, 2021.
The move to a CDE model will shift the IP employment-related activities to the CDEs and will help DSHS realize the goal of increasing the capacity of DSHS/AAA case management, customer service, and other social services staff to focus on core case management activities.
New federal requirements were enacted in 2016 as part of the “21st Century Cures Act”. The Act requires states to implement an electronic visit verification (EVV) system for personal care services delivered in the home. The CDE will implement the EVV system for IPs. Home Care Agencies will implement separate EVV systems for Home Care Agency workers.
Please see the Questions and Answers page for additional details and background information.
Public Policy Updates
WA State Dementia Collaborative: They are creating a “First Responder Toolkit” to help reduce ER admissions and public awareness campaigns at DOH. They are also working on a legal Alzheimer package for advance directives. https://www.dshs.wa.gov/altsa/dementia-action-collaborative. If anyone wants to order some more Dementia Roadmaps for your agency, please go to: www.dshs.wa.go/altsa/dementa-action-collaborative.