Advocacy Call to Action

Advocacy Call to Action

The time has come to start preparing for the next legislative session. Over these next few months’ legislators are in-district, meeting with constituents getting ready for session. It is important that during this period legislators spend time in communities and put a “face” to the issues we bring to them. Meeting with them is also a great opportunity to talk about the issues that affect your community or organization.

The Ask

We are urging you to schedule meetings with your legislators, in August, September, and October of this year. Here’s how:

  1. Make sure you know the legislative district for your facility. Click here to for the legislative district look up.
  2. Call legislative assistants to book an appointment.  Here’s a roster of all legislators with office contact information. You will want to invite both of your representatives and your senator

The Issues

Assisted living Medicaid funding– In the 2019 session, the legislature appropriated nearly $10 million to fund the new Medicaid methodology. This was a huge shortfall from the $50 million that was called for to fund the methodology at 78% of the total cost to fully implement the model. Further, the money was targeted to only high acuity CARE levels and almost half of the Medicaid caseload saw no increase in rates. The legislature did however appropriate nearly $2.5 million in bridge funding, for providers who serve 60% or more Medicaid clients in their communities. Unfortunately this funding is only temporary and does not alleviate the funding burden. This year we will continue to stress the importance of a substantial increase in funding so providers can continue to serve low-income seniors, regardless of acuity, in assisted living.

SNF Medicaid funding- Due to the failure of the legislature to appropriate funds for 2019 rebasing, Washington is now experiencing a funding crisis in skilled nursing facilities. We have seen a rapid increase in SNF closures around the state, 18 and counting in the last two years. The current rates do not begin to cover the increasing costs that providers face due to rising minimum wage around the state. Currently there is a 42 month lag for base costs. This level of underfunding is unsustainable. We are calling for emergency funding to prevent more closures and the displacement of low-income seniors.  We also need a long term solution to this problem by moving to an annual rebasing system and an inflationary adjustment to base year costs to insure the rates reflect the current cost.

Here are some recent articles and interviews on all of the nursing home closures.

  • Austin Jenkins’ NPR article related to nursing home closures.
  • The Daily News article
  • McKnight’s article related to Washington’s nursing home closures.
  • Skilled Nursing News article related to closures.
  • Click here for an interview with WHCA CEO Robin Dale on the Candy, Mike and Todd Show on KIRO Radio.
  • Click here for Deb Murphy’s Q&A with State of Reform, a Washington-based health care policy brief.

Workforce shortage– LeadingAge WA supports the Nurse Licensure Compact (NLC), which allows for registered nurses (RNs) and licensed practical nurses (LPN) to have one multi-state license, with the ability to practice in person or via telehealth, in both their home state and other NLC states. This allows for the immediate employment of nurses moving to Washington State, including military spouses, without having to wait for the Dept of Health to issue their license. We will be working on this topic during the upcoming session.


Once you have scheduled the meeting, I will send talking points depending on issues you will be discussing with your legislators. LeadingAge WA staff and our contract lobbyists, Scott and Emily, are also available to attend the meetings. Please let me know if you have any questions or need additional resources to schedule these meetings.

Thank you,

Alyssa Schnitzius