Weekly check-in With Congressional Delegation

Weekly check-in With Congressional Delegation

LeadingAge WA and WHCA had our weekly check-in with our Congressional Delegation to update staff on Washington’s COVID-19 response.

Staff was updated on the most recent numbers of LTC facilities who have a COVID + case, this number has continued to grow every week. It was also reported that we are still experiencing the same statewide shortage of PPE and testing. The growing strain on our workforce was also discussed. As more and more staff members are contracting the virus, many LTC facilities are operating at inadequate staffing levels. With a dwindling workforce and no PPE, there is a need for increased liability protections for workers and providers. LeadingAge, WSHA, and WHCA submitted a request for liability protections to the Governor, we learned yesterday that that joint request was denied, you can find his response here.  WHCA, LeadingAge and the Adult Family Home Council submitted a second and separate liability waiver request to the Governor making additional arguments to support the need for both health care worker and facility protections. Given the Governor denied WSHA, Medical Association, Nurses Associations and others request for protection, we are not expecting him to approve our separate ask. The health care and medical associations will likely take further steps to try and secure these protections this fall when the legislature is expected to return to address COVID related issues.  

We did learn that Senator Maria Cantwell has requested to convene a group to head the LTC response efforts for COVID-19. No additional information was available at the time of our call but her staff will be in touch with us as more details are known.

We also conveyed the need for one single agency to take the lead during a pandemic response. Currently, there are too many agencies responding and that urgently needs to be streamlined before the predicted resurgence of COVID-19 hits. Specifically, the congressional staff was asked to advocate for CMS stepping back on this response and letting state public health agencies take the lead.  Assist versus compliance visits and having the right expertise guide and coordinate our system response is critically important. 

We will continue to update you on these weekly calls.




Alyssa Odegaard- Vice President, Public Policy