Letter to Stakeholders on Proposed Budget for DDA

From Evelyn Perez, Assistant Secretary, Developmental Disabilities Administration

Last week Governor Inslee released his proposed 2018 supplemental budget.  We were pleased to see a budget that provides additional resources for investigating complaints of abuse and neglect in homes where supported living services are provided, additional staff to help the Residential Habilitation Centers (RHC) meet federal standards of care, and new community State Operated Living Alternative home options for people currently living in an RHC who have expressed a desire to live in the community.

Listed below are some of the significant budget items that are included in the Governor’s budget:

  • Supported Living Investigators:  Additional investigators will be added to the Residential Care Services division, dedicated to ensure that complaints related to the safety and health of clients in the supported living program are investigated in a timely manner.  In addition, complaint investigators may identify deficient provider practices and thus address problems related to certification before they become serious.  An annual certification fee of $908 per client paid by supported living providers will fund the additional investigators and eliminate the current GF-State appropriation for supported living investigations.  ($3.7M Total Funds)
  • Electronic Visit Verification:  To comply with the federal “21st Century Cures Act,” the state will identify and contract with a qualified vendor to provide a system that electronically verifies that personal care services were provided by individual providers and electronically reports information such as service type, location, and the date and time of the beginning and end of the service shift and integrates the data into the Individual Provider One payroll system.  Home care agencies will also contract with vendors to provide electronic visit verification.  ($549,000 GF-S; $1.3M Total Funds; 0.5 FTE)
  • RHC Medicaid Compliance:  Based on a number of failed surveys by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, higher staffing levels are required in the RHCs.  Direct care staffing will begin increasing from the current 1:7 staff to client ratio ultimately to a 1:4 ratio in the next biennium.  ($9.5M GF-S; $19.1M Total Funds; 130.9 FTE)
  • State Operated Living Alternatives Community Options:  There are 47 people living in RHCs who have requested a community residential placement, but whose needs are not able to be met by contracted residential providers.  Additional State Operated Living Alternative homes will be added, staffed by state employees.  ($1.4M GF-S; $2.7M Total Funds; 11.1 FTE)

Please remember that this is just the first step in the supplemental budget process.  The budget can and will change over time, but we are optimistic and appreciate the Governor’s support.  The legislative session begins on January 8, 2018.  During session, the House and Senate will each release a budget and from there a final conference operating budget will ultimately be passed by the Legislature.  As we move through this process we will be meeting with stakeholders and will keep you apprised of the budget status.  In addition to DDA’s specific budget information, complete DSHS Human Services Budget information can be found here.

Thank you for the work you do each day to provide supports and foster partnerships that empower people to live the lives they want. Have a safe and happy holiday season.


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