We are still living in a pandemic world, but signs of hope are shining through.
Restrictions are slowly being eased up. Vaccination efforts are proceeding apace. Infection rates are slowing and federal efforts to provide new support are underway.
Make no mistake – we must remain vigilant. But our work goes on and Full Life Care continues providing services to those most in need.
And while we tend to those duties, we’re keeping an eye on Olympia again this year during the legislative session. Here are some of the legislative issues we’ll be watching this year on your behalf:
The In-Home Care Agency Vendor Rate has increased by only 1.4 percent in the past decade while costs continue to rise. Some relief came last year when state officials allowed a 50-cent administrative rate increase, funding through the CARES Act. That provided addition funding for PPE, training and establishing long-term crisis management processes for staff. But that funding needs to continue after the CARES Act expires. Continued state funding of the 50-cent per-year rate increase will:
- Help stabilize funding for agencies serving the Medicaid population and the most vulnerable.
- Help ensure access to home care for Washingtonians who need it, especially in rural areas.
- Enable administrators to be available when caregivers need them, making for a safer working environment for both the client and caregiver.
- The Long-Term Care Trust created last year is the first publicly funding long-term care program outside of Medicaid. Funded by workers through a payroll tax premium, the Trust provides funds families can use to pay for a caregiver, a wheelchair ramp, assisted living, or whatever supports people need when they are unable to care for themselves.
This session adjustments are being considered to strengthen the fund, expand investment guidelines and clarify rights and access, especially to allow tribal employers to participate in the trust, provide benefits to qualified workers with developmental disabilities and better define who can participate in the program.
We’ll continue to keep you informed of any major developments. The legislative session ends April 25.
And remember, you can always contact your legislator yourself and make your views known on these issues. Just go to https://app.leg.wa.gov/DistrictFinder/ to find your legislator and links to their contact information.
Or, just give them a call:
Tell the call center you want to leave a message for your legislators. They will ask for your address so they know which district you live in.
Keeping the season bright
While 2020 was as trying a year as none other, Full Life volunteers helped to end it on a high note.
With contributions of hand-made gifts and other generous donations, more than 350 Full Life Care clients benefited from this season’s generosity. More than 120 supporters, local and nationwide, responded to Full Life’s call to Crafts for a Cause, contributing over 675 handmade hats, scarves, and blankets, and more than 750 over greeting cards. Read all about it here.
A shot of hope
Getting a COVID-19 vaccination can be a challenge, but thanks to excellent cooperation from the Seattle Mayor’s office and the Seattle Fire Department, some of Full Life’s most vulnerable clients and their caregivers were able to get their first vaccinations recently.
On Saturday, Jan. 30, 94 clients, family caregivers and staff got their first doses of the Moderna vaccine in a special pop-up clinic at Full Life’s Columbia City facility.
“This is a wonderful opportunity – Life giving!” exclaimed Svetlana Tyulina’s daughter, Olga, as her mom got her injection Saturday morning. The photo at left shows Svetlana getting her vaccination.
The clinic was an amazing example of preparation and logistics between city leaders and Full Life staff. The city has been staging mini-clinics in Seattle Housing Authority residences since the middle of January when Director of Community Based Services Rena Ferretti asked if Full Life clients could also participate. When the thumbs up came, Rena and staff had just a week to prepare the venue and call clients to schedule visits.
“I’m just glad we were able to provide this for our clients (like Manuel Alfonso, right),” Rena said. “They are among the most vulnerable in the community, and access is especially challenging for them.
“This is why we’re here.” Clients will return for their second doses at the end of February. We are hopeful that we can hold additional vaccination clinics for even more clients and their caregivers in the near future.