2021 Legislative Report

The 2021 Legislative Session adjourned on Sunday, April 25th around 6:30p.  In 105 days, in a mostly virtual setting the legislature passed 335 bills.  The final 2021-2023 State Operating budget appropriates $10.6 billion in COVID-19 Federal Stimulus funds and $59 billion in state revenue.

We were successful in collaboration with other long term care stakeholders to push back on proposed cuts to the long term care system when the state was looking at a $9 billion shortfall.  For adult family home providers serving people on Medicaid, this budget includes increases to the funding negotiated by the AFH Council for AFH Medicaid rates.

This budget also includes a proviso directing DSHS to work with stakeholders to immediately transition the language contained in citation/enforcement actions posted online to plain talk language. This will help insurers and consumers understand the nature of the citation/enforcement action.  Further, DSHS is directed to display the severity and resolution of the citation/enforcement.  For many years providers have expressed concern with the bombastic language used in DSHS citations. Underwriters for liability insurance also say the harsh language has impacted the way they assess risk.  This is an important policy change for adult family homes.

With the help of many AFH providers we were successful in getting adult family homes carved out of HB 1218, legislation requiring many duplicative rules and processes that adult family homes are already required to do, or do not apply to the adult family home setting.

We supported HB 1120 legislation to address the rules suspended and/or amended through Governor Inslee’s proclamations.

Under one of Governor Inslee’s proclamations there was a moratorium on evictions of residents for failure of paying rent.  SB 5160 was introduced addressing certain tenant protections during and after public health emergencies.  In conjunction with other long-term care advocates, the bill was amended to exempt long-term care facilities like AFHs from future moratorium outlined in this bill.

While it was extremely challenging for everyone involved, we are proud of the accomplishments made on behalf of all adult family home providers in Washington state. If you would like to receive more details you can register to attend AFH Council’s 2021 Virtual Spring Conference on Wednesday, May 5, 2021 where John Ficker and Maria Chiechi will be presenting this information in more detail.

The AFH Council continually seeks the input of members from around the state on key issues affecting adult family home operations.  If you have questions, and/or would like to provide input about a particular policy issue, please contact Maria Chiechi by telephone at:  360-754-3329, or email at:  maria@adultfamilyhomecouncil.org.

 

About the author
John Ficker
I am the Executive Director of the Adult Family Home Council. I like working with AFH operators all around the state.

2 Comments

    1. We at the Council have been meting with the Office of the Insurance Commisioner to address exactly that question. Along with the OIC, we have identified a few reasons. First we have gone from 12 underwriters down to about 3. The lack of completion has driven up rates. Additionally the remaining underwriters have assessed the risk, based on factors such as specialty designations and language in enforcement actions. The proviso discussed above is one step we are taking to work with the insurances industry We are taking many steps to try and improve the market, invite more underwriters into this space and hopefully reduce overall costs. I will discuss more about this issue at our upcoming Spring Conference.

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