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February 2024 WA Cares Newsletter


February 2024 Monthly Newsletter


Most of us will need help to live independently at some point in our lives. For some, this will be temporary after an accident or illness. For others, the need will strike late in life. In both cases, this is known as long-term care. Learn more about how WA Cares can help.


Webinars: This month, the WA Cares team and a panel of experts held a discussion on caregiving in rural communities. Check out the recording to learn more about the challenges faced by older adults in rural areas and work being done to address them. The webinar also includes an overview of WA Cares and how the program could help support beneficiaries in rural areas.

Find recording of past webinars and learn more about upcoming webinars here.


Rulemaking: The DSHS WA Cares Fund policy team is initiating rulemaking activities for implementing a new chapter of Washington Administrative Code related to the WA Cares Fund program. If you are interested in receiving notifications for rulemaking activities or joining rulemaking stakeholder meetings, please update your e-mail preferences. You can find information on rulemaking notices, upcoming meetings, and any posted material on our website.


Stakeholder Open Forum: On March 21, we will be hosting a Stakeholder Open Forum regarding provider payment maximums for residential facilities. These meetings are part of the LTSS Trust Commission’s work to set provider rates and are open to the public. Register here.


Fund Fact: Older adults make up a higher share of the population in rural areas and face additional challenges when it comes to aging at home.

Many factors can impact older adults’ access to long-term care in rural areas. Physical access (including the impacts of winter snow and summer wildfires) and lack of transportation can create significant barriers. The nationwide shortage of professional caregivers is often worse in rural communities and there are fewer working age people in rural communities who can provide care. Older adults in rural areas also face the impacts of limited access to healthy, affordable food, affordable housing and broadband.

Learn more about challenges these communities face when accessing long-term care and work being done to address this issue in Washington.


Monthly FAQ: What is WA Cares doing to prepare for serving people in rural communities?

As we work to implement the program, the WA Cares Fund team is already planning how to best serve beneficiaries in rural areas. To ensure we have enough providers to offer services to all WA Cares beneficiaries, we have a team dedicated to recruiting and supporting providers. In addition to participating in state-level efforts, this team is planning for other ways to increase providers in areas where they are most needed.

Some of these plans are as simple as making it easy for providers to register so more of them are willing to go through the process. We are also looking at policy solutions to help address this problem. For example, as part of our work with the LTSS Trust Commission to set maximum rates for providers, we’re studying ways to incentivize providers to offer services in rural areas.

The ability to make a family member a paid caregiver helps us tap into an additional source of care and offers more options for beneficiaries who want to receive care from a loved one. WA Cares also offers a variety of ways to use your benefit, many of which do not depend on the availability of professional caregivers. You can make a family member – even a spouse – your paid caregiver and get them training and other resources. Or you can use your benefit for things like home safety modifications or assistive technology that can help with some care needs, like medication reminders and fall detection.