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2017 LEG PRIORITIES

  Adult Family Home Council of Washington State 

  1.  Fund Adult Family Home Service – With the inclusion of the AFH Council’s collective bargaining agreement funding in the state budget, our providers will be able to continue their work to care for Medicaid clients.  This would be one of many important steps the state will take to insure adult family homes continue to be a viable choice for the consumer.  Nearly 57% of occupied beds are filled with Medicaid funded residents.
  2. Streamline Investigation/Oversight Process – This we believe will require legislation.  Oversight by multiple agencies, resulting in multiple investigations over a single issue absorbs significant resources from the various departments, the AFH owner, staff, clients, and families. Each entity has a mandate to investigate.  We suggest a coordination to avoid the waste of resources and burden on all involved.
  3. Re-Introduce HB 2193 – This bill was introduced late in the 2015 legislative session by Rep. June Robinson, did not move out the finance committee, re-introduced the 2016 session and is currently sitting in its original form.  This bill would provide a property tax exemption for adult family homes occupied by eligible persons with developmental disabilities, if at leas 75% of the eligible persons have a low income.  It would affect approximately 5-10 home and allow those home to continue to operate.
  4. Increase Facility Based Training Opportunities – I-1163 improved the quality and oversight of training.  It did not consider, the impact of the rule changes would have on adult  family home providers.  We are in conversations with the training  unit of DSHS and believe they are onboard in working with us to find ways to create opportunities for integrated on-the-job training, facility based training, and modification to indirect supervision requirements.
  5. Adult  Family Home Bed Fees – The last time adult family homes received an increase in theri bed fees was in the 2014/15 Budget.  We will continue to push back on any proposals from DSHS to increase bed fees.  Consideration for Medicaid occupancy and the overall savings to the state (on average $100 a day savings compared to Skilled Nursing Facility) should play important roles in establishing fees that encourage the development of more resources in our state.

 

Alzheimer’s Association Washington State (ALZWA)

 State Issues

  • Fund agency staff to help implement the Washington State Plan to address Alzheimer’s Disease and other dementias
  • Extend the life of the Joint Legislative Executive committee on Aging and Disability to preserve expertise on matters relating to people with dementia

Federal Issues

  • Continue implementation of National Alzheimer’s Plan

 

 AARP Washington 

Personal Needs Allowance (PNA) – This is the standard amount of income that an institutional client is allowed to keep, out of Social Security, for clothing, personal items and other incidentals. The PNA for a person living in a medical Institutions (nursing home, hospice care center, RHC) out of home and in full month care is $57.28. The PNA was held at its current amount starting 7/1/2008 and has not adjusted. Senator Rolfes introduced a bill last session which would adjust the PNA to inflation. The bill was introduced too late in the session to get it out of committee. This session Senator Rolfes has agreement from Rep. Appleton to sponsor a companion bill in the House. Here is a link to last year’s bill page for SB6555.  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=6555&year=2015
Elder abuse and financial exploitation – Cases of elder neglect and financial exploitation are on the rise. Washington needs tougher laws regarding elder abuse and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults. Many of the adults have dementia or are embarrassed to report the crime so the crime goes unreported. The revised bill will be based on HB 1499 will reflect legislators concerns and feedback around criminal mistreatment and increasing the statute of limitations to improve the possibility of prosecution. The bill creates the crime of “theft from a vulnerable adult” with a higher sentence range for people who steal a felony-level amount of money. Currently, people convicted of theft serve only weeks or up to three months in jail. The tougher penalties need to reflect the fact that these types of crimes put an older person’s life at risk, not only their financial health. A group has been working on this legislation during the interim including Disability Rights Washington, AARP and the Attorney General’s office and have evaluated elder laws in other states to show where Washington’s laws fall short. Here is the bill page for HB1499.  http://apps.leg.wa.gov/billinfo/summary.aspx?bill=1499&year=2015
Restoration of Funding for Hearing Aids under Medicaid – (Budget Request) It is important to treat hearing loss, as untreated hearing loss is associated with depression, social isolation, increased falls, reduced quality of life, and loss of independence.   Moreover, studies have shown that persons with hearing loss have an increased risk of dementia, cognitive decline, and more rapid brain decline.  Hearing treatment can assist many persons with dementia by reduction of confusion, facilitating social participation and improving the ability to understand. Dental, hearing, and vision benefits were cut out during the recession.   First, dental was restored.   Now it is time for step two, hearing aids. 650,000 Washingtonians have hearing loss. With an average price tag of $2,363 (per aid) (Hearing Review 2013), hearing aids are unaffordable for a growing population of low and middle-income seniors. Most health insurance plans do not cover hearing aids. Neither Medicare nor Washington State’s Medicaid plan cover adult hearing aids. Washington discontinued Medicaid coverage of hearing aids effective January 2011. More than half of all other U. S. states cover hearing aids under Medicaid. See attached flier.
Guardianship – People living is residential care facilities and nursing homes should not be barred from seeing whom they choose. Under current guardianship laws, there are loopholes that give guardians too much authority which keep that person away from loved ones. Some of the challenges stems from the definitions used in guardianships and others involve the monitoring and investigations around guardianship abuse. There are numerous organizations working on this issue reflecting the complexity of the issue. AARP’s concern is that there were two celebrity families who brought forward guardianship related bills last session that address specific issues around guardianship. AARP is concerned that passage of these “celebrity bills” could negatively impact the work that the coalition is working on and would like to oppose random bills that do not have the support of the coalition.

 

Disability Rights Washington (DRW)

 

Hearing Loss Association of Washington

 

Long Term Care Ombudsman (LTCOP)

  • Increase the funding for the Long Term Care Ombudsman by $350,000 allowing the program to better serve the 72,000 people in long term care facilities
  • Fund hearing aids within the Medicaid Program
  • Increase case management and decrease client ratios at the Area Agencies on Aging by investing $5.18MM (GFS)
  • Continuing the Joint Legislative Executive Committee on Aging and Disability

 

Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action (PSARA)

  •  top issues for PSARA are likely to include the following  list- final 2017  Legislative Agenda will be decided at the PSARA Legislative Conference on Nov. 29, 2017
  1.  Support for greater transparency and accountability in the budget process, including the elimination of tax exemptions that do do serve a public purpose.
  2. Allocation of significant resources to provide a much larger stock of low-income housing.  There is a growing population of  seniors who rely on Social Security as their source of income as well as many Washington residents who are unable to afford adequate housing because of the preponderance of low-wage jobs and the erosion of defined benefit pensions.
  3. Support for all legislation that furthers the cause of universal health care coverage.  PSARA believes that comprehensive affordable health care is fundamental human right.
  4. Support for legislation that furthers the cause of retirement security for all generations, including a  proposal for a supplemental income program for Social Security recipients.

 

Retired Public Employees Council of  Washington (RPEC)

TOP TIER PRIORITIES

• Restoration of the Plan 1 COLA
• Restore PEBB Medicare benefit by increasing the state’s contribution by a minimum of $32.50 per month per member.
• Full funding of employer contribution rates to the pension plans
• Oppose effort to create a new state retirement plan
• Protect and Expand Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid
• Opposition to the TPP
STATE PRIORITIES
Retirement
• Restoration of the Plan 1 COLA
• Continue to support full funding of employer contribution rates as recommended by the State Actuary
• Oppose creation of any new retirement plans for public employees that diminish benefit levels and/or compromises retirement security
• Support legislation to create an automatic default into PERS Plan 2 for new employees
• Continue efforts to strengthen the role of active and retired PERS members in PERS governance
• Support legislation to study possibility of a state based Social Security supplement
Health Care
• Restore PEBB Medicare benefit by increasing the state’s contribution by a minimum of $32.50 per month per member.
• Maintain retiree health insurance options through PEBB at affordable costs and adequate level of benefit for those who have access
• Support the creation of a public option on the state health insurance exchange to create competitive and affordable rates
• Access to affordable health care for all retired public employees
• Support and monitor the Office of the Insurance Commissioner in their regulation of Medicare supplement policies and rates to ensure quality plans are as affordable as possible
• Work to maintain and expand access to Dental coverage
Contracting Out/Privatization
• Oppose efforts to privatize or contract out public services
FEDERAL PRIORITIES -Social Security and Medicare
• Continue fight to protect Social Security from privatization
• Protect and Expand Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid
• Pass legislation that eliminates the contribution cap to Social Security ($118,500 in 2015) and adopts the CPI-E to calculate the cost-of-living adjustments
• Support the full implementation of the Older Americans Act
• Pursue affordable long-term care options for retirees
• Fight for the elimination of the Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) and the Government Pension Offset (GPO) which unfairly diminishes the Social Security benefit of some public employees
• Opposition to the TPP
RPEC ADMINISTRATIVE ACTION –  Continue to encourage RPEC member-volunteers to advance RPEC’s legislative agenda and support lobbying activities year around As adopted by the RPEC Convention: 9/27/16

 SEIU  775

  • Independent provider (IP)
  • Safety Equipment
  • Parity to Agencies
  • Money for Retirement
  • Additional training money
  • Respite care hours
  • Long Term Care Council
  • Revenue

 

Washington Association of Area Agency of Aging (W4a)

$5.18 million GFS to keep seniors safe at home
  •  Adding $5.18 million GFS ($10.35 million including federal match) will provide for a ratio of 75 clients per case manager, allowing sufficient home visiting to assure the safety and well-being of seniors and people with disabilities.
  •  In other states our clients would be in nursing homes—we are innovators in helping people age at home. But as clients get sicker and have more cognitive problems, they are more vulnerable to abuse and neglect.
  •  DSHS states “Lack of adequate oversight results in poor client health outcomes, unnecessary expensive institutional stays, gaps in caregiving, homelessness, and delays in identifying potential abuse, neglect and exploitation or Medicaid fraud.”
  •  Case managers need to visit clients in their homes to make sure caregivers are doing their jobs properly and check if clients need more help.
$2 million reinvestment of shared Medicare savings to coordinate care for people covered by both Medicaid and Medicare (dual-eligible)
  •  The Health Home program funds care coordination for people on both Medicaid and Medicare who have the greatest chronic health problems.
  •  By avoiding hospital and nursing home visits, care coordination has reduced per capita Medicare costs by 6%, saving $21 million in the first year.
  •  Washington has already received shared savings as a $7.2 million rebate from Medicare and expects a second payment of $3.5 million to arrive in 2017, all based on the first year of operation.
  •  Shared savings in future years are expected to match or exceed that first year’s experience.
  •  Current care coordination rates are 20% below the cost of providing services. Providers will eventually have no choice but to end their contracts.
  •  The program is set to expand statewide by adding King and Snohomish counties in 2017, but without adequate rates, statewide coverage will not be feasible.
  •  Reinvesting $2 million of the shared Medicare savings in health home care coordination in HCA will assure seniors and people with disabilities can improve health and avoid expensive hospital and nursing home stays.

Washington Education Association Retired (WEA Retired)

WEA- Retired Legislative Goals

Overarching Goals for all TRS, PERS and SERS Plans

  • Ensure continued state contribution toward retiree healthcare coverage
  • Restore Medicare supplement ot previous level and establish it in statute
  • Support defined benefit versus defined contribution retirement plans

Specific Goas for TRS and PERS Plan I

  • Establish and annual COLA
  • Continue the plan to eliminate the unfunded liability by adding additional money through an increase in the employer rate

Specific Goals for TRS and SERS Plan II

  • Allow members to retire at age 62 without penalty
  • Support efforts to reduce pension penalties for those who take early retirement
  • Allow PEBB access when leaving service without drawing retirement
  • Allow members sick leave cash-out at the time of separation from service without penalty
  • Make Plan 2 the default plan for new employees
  • Provide a disability benefit for members of Plan 2 who are permanently disabled and no longer work

Specific Goals for TRS, PERS and SERS Plan III

  • Allow members to retire at age 62 without penalty
  • Allow five-year vesting without age restrictions
  • Allow members sick leave cash-out at the time of separation from service without penalty
  • Support effort to reduce pension penalties for those who take early retirement
  • Make Plan 2 the default plan for new members
  • Provide a disability benefit for members of Plan 3 who are permanently disabled and can no longer work.

 

Washington State  Council on Aging (SCOA)

  •  Support increase in AAA case Management staff
  • Support passage of legislation increasing penalities for abuse and financial exploitation of vulnerable adults
  • Support restoration of adequate funding to keep the LTC Ombudsman program operating
  • Monitor and support activities of Joint Legislative Executive Committee on aging and Disability Issues and advocate for continuation of the JLEC beyond its current mandate
  • Support the expansion of the Health Homes Initiative and for adequate rates to ensure continued usccess
  • Support improvement in the Sate’s guardianship programs
  • Support reinstatement of Medicaid coverage for adult hearing and vision hardware/services
  • Advocate for the needs of Senior and those with special needs in reference to Homelessness
  • Advocate for adequate transportation options for Seniors
  • Support continued development of the Sate’s Demential Action Collaborative

National Issues

  • Advocate for increasing funding for the Older Americans Act
  • Advocate for improving Access to Medicare Coverage Act of 2015 HR 1571/S843
  • As homelessness solutions are sought, afocate for the needs of senior and those with special needs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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