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Advocates In Action

Advocates In Action

The Voice of Long-Term Care – WHCA Advocacy

Washington Health Care Association has a long and strong history of advocacy with federal and state government agencies, policymakers, and budget writers, and we have a passion for bringing our providers’ voices to critical policy and budget discussions. We work alongside our member leaders to develop policy and funding positions designed to ensure that Washington’s skilled nursing, assisted living and enhanced services providers are adequately resourced and responsibly regulated—and our members are key to that effort.

Together, we are focused on these initiatives:

Support for Medicaid funding in the Washington state operating budget: Medicaid funding is established in the Washington State operating budget. Complex, data-driven Medicaid payment methodologies require the level of expertise WHCA brings to the table; our staff, consultant and members collaborate to ensure that the Legislature prioritizes funding to support quality long-term care. When Medicaid rates are inadequate, people are harmed. Fundamentally, we believe that Medicaid rates should reasonably cover labor and operations costs, and we continue to fiercely advocate for vital funding to support Washington’s low-income citizens and their caregivers.

Rebuilding the LTC Workforce: LTC workers face tremendous barriers to licensing, training, and certification—and that was evident prior to the 3-year COVID public health emergency. WHCA worked to elevate this crisis by partnering with the Washington Board of Nursing on a LTC workforce initiative that cleared the way for significant, important work on training, testing and credentialling of certified nursing assistants. That work continues, but simply is not enough to ensure that providers can hire and retain a qualified workforce. In addition to Medicaid budget advocacy, WHCA is working on targeted measures that will help increase the pipeline of long-term care workers, including nurses, certified and home care aides, and other key support staff. We also work to oppose measures that drive the staffing crisis, like the CMS minimum staffing rule proposal. From working on direct comments to CMS to helping educate Washington’s congressional delegation about this ill-timed proposal, WHCA is partnering with the American Health Care Association to educate and inform federal policymakers about such proposals. WHCA is also working to help inform other state agency projects and activities. Our goal is to ensure that workforce efforts are targeted, and that there are tangible, measurable successes from these investments. Finally, WHCA is standing up an LPN Apprenticeship Program that will create alternate educational pathways for licensed practical nurses who are central to long-term care service delivery.

Educating policymakers about the impact of their proposals: State legislators are asked to govern on complex and broad-ranging issues. WHCA is serious about the role to help legislators understand the impact of policy decisions for long-term care. While there are competing priorities among the stakeholder community, WHCA’s role is to ensure that accurate and impactful information is provided to policymakers who are asked to make informed decisions. There are times when we can actively support measures, and there are times when our focus is to oppose or work to amend proposed statutes and regulations. Regardless of our position, we work in good faith to education and inform policymakers by supporting our members’ legislative action, and by fully engaging in policy development activities.

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