Legislative Updates 1/13/2017

As we approach the end of the first week of legislative session there is already much to discuss.

Bills opposed by the Adult Family Home Council:

Senate Bill 5060 – limits the number of adult family homes allowed within a four block radius. In its current form, the proposed change in law would require DSHS to adopt rules to limit the number of AFH licenses to two within a four block area. The language does not make exceptions for currently licensed homes.

Our concerns about this bill:

  • Limits the rights of the property/business owners
  • Limits potential community resources
  • Owners of multiple AFH’s routinely have homes near each other to allow for resources to be shared between homes. This is a proven model of success.
  • The premise that AFHs create more traffic is without merit. A person living in their own home who is receiving care might have an increased traffic pattern due to caregivers, social workers and medical suppliers.
  • Potentially creates a discriminatory/limiting housing practice against those who require care.
  • At a time when more resources for the aging are needed, it is not the time to place arbitrary restrictions on potential resources.

To read the full text of this bill click here – To provide comment on this bill click here

This bill is not currently scheduled for a hearing. Providers can also request the Chair of the Senate Health Care Committee or committee member to not support this bill.


Bills supported by the Adult Family Home Council:

Senate Bill 5118 – Increases the personal needs allowance for residents. This bill would increase the personal needs allowance (currently set at $62.79). The increase would follow cost of living adjustments made for Social Security benefits. This would mean automatic increases to the amount allowed for the resident to keep every time there is an increase to Social Security benefits.

To read the full text of this bill click here – To provide comment on this bill click here

House Bill 1139 – Modifies office of public guardianship provisions with regard to services for supported decision-making assistance and estate administration. This bill would give greater authority to the office of public guardianship to assist individuals in need of an alternative decision maker when no family or other support system is available. Lack of a decision maker can be a barrier to placement in an AFH. This resource could stabilize and improve access for placements in adult family homes.

To read the full text of this bill click here – To provide comment on this bill click here

Pending Bills

Through our lobbying and advocacy efforts, the Council is working with legislators on two additional bills. As soon as bill numbers are assigned, we will provide links.

The first bill improves the investigation process when a call comes into the hotline. Currently, providers are investigated by both RCS and APS simultaneously. This bill would instruct the department that any reports related to an AFH or assisted living would be investigated by RCS. If the investigation resulted in concerns about abuse, then APS would investigate.

The second bill modifies a tax exemption to nonprofit AFH’s serving the developmental disabilities community. This would allow a qualified AFH to be exempt from property taxes if 75% of the residents are low income. This modification more closely aligns with tax exemptions allowed for nonprofit homes serving the elderly.

State Budget

Currently the House of Representatives and Senate are working on their budgets to propose. The Adult Family Home Council staff are meeting with members of the House Appropriations committee and the Senate Ways & Means committee to make sure the funding for our collective bargaining contract is included in their budget. As they are faced with numerous demands, we are making the following points about Medicaid rates in adult family homes.

  • The cost to fund the contract is approximately $15 million dollars in new state spending each year. This leverages more than $15 million in federal matching funds
  • Rates have not been remodeled since 2005
  • These increases are focused on the lowest rates currently set as low as $52 a day
  • Low Medicaid rates create a problem of access for people trying to exit hospitals and skilled nursing facilities.
  • Increased demand for Medicaid services in the AFH
  • Nearly 57% of available beds are currently occupied by Medicaid funded clients
  • Demographics show increased number of older people entering the long term care system
  • Improves access to care for clients living with developmental disabilities and mental health needs.

We hope all AFH providers will share these talking points at our upcoming Lobby Day, by email or calling your legislators. Please let us know if you need assistance in contacting your legislators.