The HCAOA Washington Chapter partnered with two other senior services associations last week for two days of intensive advocacy for home care, meeting with more than 50 legislators in total. The top legislative initiatives that the chapter supports include:
2022 brings lots of change to the Home Care Association of America Washington Chapter, including a new name and a new leadership team. 2022 also brings a new 60-day legislative session, the spread of the Omicron variant, and ongoing questions about the WA Cares Fund. There is a lot of work to do on behalf of in-home services providers - and one thing that hasn't changed is the chapter's commitment to its members!
The Washington State Legislature and Gov. Inslee have announced plans to change and improve the WA Cares Fund during the 2022 legislative session, which is scheduled to conclude in March 2022. Per direction from the governor, ESD will not collect premiums from employers until April 2022 or until the Legislature gives further direction.
All home care agencies in Washington are encouraged to order gloves, gowns, masks, respirators, and other supplies from the PPE Stockpile as soon as possible. Access to this resource will end on October 25. Each facility is eligible to order up to a 90 day supply. To access this resource, contact your local Emergency Management Agency.
The Pharmacy Quality Assurance Commission and Department of Health have jointly filed emergency rules to reinstate medication assistance rules as permitted under chapter 69.41 RCW. Specifically, these rules, filed under WSR 21-15-108 establish criteria for medication assistance in community-based and in-home care settings in accordance with RCW 69.41.010(15).
On August 20, 2021, Governor Inslee issued a revised version of his vaccination mandate. The Proclamation had several revisions of which long-term care providers should be aware. The most important revision addresses the vaccination requirements for contractors. Under the newly-revised Proclamation, the operators of Health Care Settings may elect to require the contractor or the actual company employing the contractor to assume responsibility for the vaccination verification and the reasonable accommodation requirements. The revised Proclamation provides a detailed explanation of the steps that must be taken by contractors to satisfy the proof of vaccination requirements for Health Care Settings. In addition, any Health Care Setting electing to require contractors to assume responsibility for vaccination and accommodation retains the right to investigate the contractor’s compliance and to withdraw the election at any time.
Several States Issue COVID Vaccine Mandates: HCAOA Chapters Seeking Clarification on Requirements for Home Care
Several states have recently announced COVID-19 vaccine mandates for health care workers, and HCAOA and state chapters are working with state officials to clarify how these mandates impact home care. For example, mandates in Washington, California, and New York do not include home care in some settings, while the order in New Jersey does include home care.
The HCAOA Washington Chapter/WAHCA recently met with representatives from the Department of Health to seek clarification about the requirements for In-Home Services Providers under the Governor's Proclamation for COVID-19 Vaccinations (21-14). DOH released a frequently asked questions document about the vaccine requirements, including this response specifically related to home care.
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) announced it is ending its PPE backstop and is specifically calling out In-Home Services agencies to make requests for PPE now. Agencies can request up to a 90-day supply. The state PPE backstop has been available to help support state agencies, counties, tribes and other partners through the COVID-19 pandemic. As the state transitions from how PPE needs were met during the peak of this pandemic, DOH is working to get PPE to the local level, where it is most useful.
The HCAOA Washington Chapter/WAHCA is starting to plan for the next Blooming with the Boomers conference in the Spring of 2022. Please take a moment to share feedback and help shape the details and content of the conference. Click here to take survey.
WASHINGTON: SB 5115 Expands Workers’ Compensation Liability and Notice Requirements for Infectious Diseases
On May 11, Washington State Governor Jay Inslee signed into law SB 5115, the Health Emergency Labor Standards Act (HELSA), which expands the workers’ compensation framework for infectious and contagious diseases and imposes new notice requirements on employers. The law adopts language similar to that contained in California’s SB 1159 (establishing a rebuttable presumption for workplace transmission of COVID-19) and AB 685 (creating notice requirements for potential workplace exposure to COVID-19) with some notable differences. read more