A New Year’s Message from The Executive Director

To the Adult Family Homes of Washington,

Happy New Year!  2023 is set up to be a great year for adult family homes.  This year we will have the opportunity to address many key issues that are impacting adult family homes.  We look forward to creating more opportunities to gather with members, listen to your feedback, and understand your challenges.

Starting next week, the Washington State Legislature will convene a 105-day session.  They are tasked with developing a two-year budget. We at the Council have already begun work to ensure the budget and policies developed during session support our mission of improving lives for our residents.  To that end, we have put together a legislative agenda that is intended to address some the challenges around low Medicaid reimbursement, workforce development, and improvements to the overall health and long-term care systems.

Our agenda includes increased reimbursement for AFHs serving Medicaid. Some of the details of the proposed increases can be found at this link. We are seeking employment-based health care coverage for AFH workers and language access support for new workers completing training.  We believe these issues will improve the ability for AFHs to serve Medicaid funded residents and help grow and retain the AFH workforce. For more about our legislative updates, we will be hosting webinars every other Friday starting on January 13 through out session.  You can register for those webinars at this this link. You can also follow our Advocacy Facebook age at this link.

In 2023, DSHS intends to launch a new electronic application for new AFHs.  This will help dramatically reduce the long wait times for someone to develop an AFH.  These changes will allow for the continued growth of the AFH sector.  Over the last three years we have seen nearly a 30% growth in the number of AFHs statewide.  Even with that growth demand continues to be high for our services.

Another goal for 2023 is to improve the visibility of the adult family home option. As the number of older adults continues to grow, we are working to build a public awareness campaign aimed at people seeking long term care. The campaign will highlight the more intimate, individualized settings that an AFH can provide.  We believe this type of marketing can increase the utilization of AFH beds by privately funded individuals and reduce our sector’s dependence on the Medicaid program.

Lastly as we plan our in-person Spring Conferences, chapter meetings, and Fall conference for 2023, we look forward to celebrating the work that we have done together. 2023 marks the 30-year anniversary of the Adult Family Home Council. We know that is our work together with our member, affiliates, board and staff that have allowed us to improve conditions for residents and workers alike. We look forward to continuing to meet the challenges and celebrate the success of the adult family homes with you.

As always, if you have questions, comments, or concerns, please reach out to our office.

All the best,

John Ficker