Adult Protective Services (APS) WAC Changes

Adult Protective Services (APS) WAC Changes

Last week DSHS filed a permanent rule-making notice for a new chapter of WACs for Adult Protective Services (APS). The purpose of the new chapter is to ensure clarity that APS is its own separate division within DSHS. Most of the WACs from the former APS chapter 388-71 were unchanged and moved to its new chapter 388-103. The substantive changes in the new rules are as follow.  

Historically there has been no definition or meaning of “willful” in WAC. Following a court case, the state needed to define “willful” when defining abuse. The following definition was added.  

 “Willful.” A person’s action or inaction is willful when the person’s action or inaction is intentional or knowing.  

The second change is adding in a petition process for CNAs in WAC. While this process has not yet been created, it would allow for CNAs to petition APS for their removal from the CNA registry regarding an instance of neglect. APS has intended to officially begin this process through RCW the last couple of years but have not been successful. Last year the request legislation was pulled due to budgetary constraints and the cost of the registry. We do believe APS will seek this legislation in 2022.  

Additionally, two of the sections specific to skilled nursing facilities updated the language to better align with the federal CFRs for abuse and neglect. In that alignment, the phrase “Nursing assistant employed in a nursing facility or skilled nursing facility” was changed to “an individual used by a nursing facility or skilled nursing facility.” This phrasing now clearly includes agency or contract staff who are temporarily working in your building. While this is not a change in practice, LeadingAge Washington submitted comments to clarify the individuals it covers as this is a new language for providers. We also asked for clarification if “an individual used by a nursing facility or skilled nursing facility” includes individuals privately employed by the resident and it does not. Our request for clarification in WAC was not accepted.   

These rules will go into effect on July 1st, 2021. You can find the entire new chapter here




Alyssa Odegaard- Vice President, Public Policy 

c: 206.948.2279


May 26, 2021