EMPOWER Care Act

(S. 2227 and H.R. 5306)

The future of the Money Follows the Person (MFP) program that has helped more than 88,000 seniors and individuals with disabilities move out of nursing homes and institutions is in jeopardy!

Sherwood 2019 Legislative Priorities

On the Federal level:
We will monitor proposals that adversely impact people with disabilities and send out timely action alerts to our supporters.


On the State level:
We will maximize public funding by adopting a sustainable funding structure to ensure equitable Early Intervention services are available to all eligible infants and toddlers wherever they live in Washington State.


There are many ways to accomplish these goals and we are committed to a collaborative effort with our Legislators. 


What's Possible?

  • The current funding system is very complex with administrative hold backs occurring several times before the funding makes it to direct services. The maximum amount of funding should be used for high quality direct services that benefit infants and toddlers.
     

  • Currently, the majority of funding for Early Intervention resides in OSPI and not the lead agency within the Department of Children Youth and Families (DCYF). The funding should reside with DCYF who is responsible to administer this program.
     

  • Early Intervention funding should maintain protections including being caseload forecasted and continue to be tied to the Basic Education Allocation (BEA) rate. We support the draft report to the Legislature.
     

  • Other states have been able to access Federal Medicaid match funding for Early Intervention Services. Our state should pursue federal Medicaid match for state funds appropriated for Early Intervention Services.

 

Supporting recruitment and retention of qualified professionals to provide quality early intervention services to infants and toddlers.

Early Intervention Providers have a difficult time recruiting qualified specialists including Occupational, Physical and Speech Therapists.


What's Possible?

  • We support wages, benefits and a tuition reimbursement program or other incentives that will encourage qualified providers to enter the Early Intervention Service System.

 

Improve outcomes of High School Special Education Students Transitioning to Adulthood/Workforce.

What's Possible?

  • Fund 915 graduating students to the Basic Plus Waiver in the 2019-21 Biennium. This will allow young adults to have the opportunity of employment for a higher quality of life. Total Cost: $10,603,000 ($5,874,000 GF-State)
     

  • Utilize caseload forecasting to provide annual increases to the availability of DDA Basic Plus waiver to meet the needs of students exiting high school. CEA believes that every transitioning high school student should have the opportunity for employment and an array of services to help meet their social, emotional, and independence goals.
     

  • Change the eligibility for DDA employment services from 21 to 19 years old. This change would allow coordination of activities that ensure a seamless transition from school to DDA services, making it possible for a person to have a paid job while still in school


Fund DSHS services to meet the needs of people with I/DD

What's Possible?

  • Fund DVR to serve people with the most significant disabilities. DVR is currently in Order Of Selection (OOS) with over 3,000 people on a waiting list for services. $2,000,000 GF-State will allow DVR to provide uninterrupted services to an additional 428 individuals annually with the most significant disabilities.
     

  • Use caseload forecasting to increase DDA Medicaid waivers (state dollars matched by federal dollars) to keep up with caseload growth.
     

  • Prioritize efforts to move people out of the RHC’s into the community to preclude an unnecessary investment in an antiquated model.
     

  • Address the Residential Crisis. Fund the DSHS Maintenance Level Decision Packages to increase provider rates to comply with Washington State minimum wage and increase provider rates by 5% July 2019, January 2020, July 2020 and January 2021 to stabilize the provider network, reduce the current turnover rate of 50% and address an ongoing crisis in the community residential system. Total cost $226 M ($114.23 M GF-S).
     

Increase Special Education Funding to Local School Districts

What's Possible?

  • OSPI requests funding for the implementation of a tiered multiplier, which will serve two purposes: 1) targeting funds to individual student needs; and, 2) promoting inclusionary practices. $86.7M
     

  • Monitor other proposals and support proposals that will benefit students in special education.
     

SB 6362 passed in the 2018 legislative session increasing the multiplier from .9309 to .9609. The funding does not reflect the cost to deliver services in different settings nor does it incentivize districts to promote inclusion in the general education classroom.

 


Eliminate Sub Minimum Wage Certificates for people with disabilities


People with disabilities can legally be paid less than the minimum wage in Washington State. Sub minimum wage is a historical exemption and it is time to see people with disabilities as fully contributing citizens who are eligible for the same protections as any other employees.


We ask the legislature to adopt a phase out plan to eliminate Washington Administrative Code (WAC) 296-126-010 & 296-126-015, which allow exceptions to minimum wage for people with disabilities.

 

  • Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maryland have already adopted legislation to phase out sub-minimum wage for people with disabilities. I have included information from the Maryland Legislation in the packet.
     

  • As of August, 2018, 450 people in Washington State were paid sub-minimum wage. 6% of those authorized for employment/day services.
     

  • Pre-Vocational Services will be phased out in Washington State as of May 2019.
     

  • Sub minimum wage is already eliminated in King County.
     

  • Many advocates including People 1st, SAIL, DRW, Arc and other national organizations support the elimination of sub-minimum wage.
     

  • Impacts to people’s benefits are being addressed at the federal and state level.

CONTACT US

402 91st Avenue NE

Lake Stevens, WA 98258

Phone: (425) 334-4071

Fax: (425) 335-1894

Email: sherwood@sherwoodcs.org

Tax ID# 91-0762805

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