June 2021 Newsletter
Upcoming Events
2-Day Virtual Workshop - Hospice and Palliative Nurse Certification Review
June 15th & 16th
6:00am-2:00pm (PST)
Cost: $110 for members, $125 for non-members
This course, designed for nurses preparing to take the certification exam for hospice and palliative nurses. However, if you are already certified you can use this class as part of your continuing education requirement. The program is additionally intended to benefit any nurse working in hospice, home health, oncology or other settings who are caring for patients with end stage disease processes.

The Hospice and Palliative Nurses Association offers a “Clinical Review for The Generalist Hospice and Palliative Nurse” as a means of preparing the practitioner for certification. Nurses who participate in this 2-day review can expect a general presentation of the course material via multi-media tools, handouts and lectures, as well as individual and group exercises to reinforce the information. 

1-Day Virtual Workshop – Palliative Care & Hospice Nursing Assistant Review: CHPNA Exam Preparation

June 24th
6:00am-2:00pm (PST)
Cost: $55 for members, $65 for non-members
Hospice PEPPER – What Does Your Update Look Like?

July 13th
8:30am-10:00am (PST)
Cost: $35 for members, $45 for non-members
This session will take agencies through the winding road of Medicare scrutiny. While billing the Medicare benefit and getting paid relatively easy, there is always a risk of things being reviewed at some point and what can you do to avoid denials. This session will discuss PEPPER reports and other data analysis that agencies will need to review to ensure that their risk from medical review is limited. Don’t be caught in the comfortable position of believing that everything is okay. Attendees will take away information that will assist in assuring that your hospice truly is accurately documenting. Learning Objectives: Outline the targets that are calculated on the PEPPER Reports Detail the targets and other data from the PEPPER reports that is used to evaluate a hospice’s performance Detail the top reasons hospices are targeted for medical review that correlate to the PEPPER.
In The News
Click on the topics below for more information
Covid-19 Updates
The Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology (APIC) wants to “reiterate that the CDC’s updated Interim Public Health Recommendations for Fully Vaccinated People, issued May 13, do not apply to healthcare settings.” APIC notes that even though CDC has relaxed recommendations for members of the general public who are fully vaccinated, “healthcare facilities should continue to follow all current COVID-19 infection prevention and control recommendations, including those addressing work restrictions, quarantine, testing, and use of personal protective equipment to protect themselves and others from COVID-19.”
Survey Readiness
The Department of Health’s Office of Investigation and Inspection (OII) is responsible for ensuring that licensed in-home services agencies comply with all applicable state and federal requirements. The OII survey and investigation teams conduct routine state and federal surveys as well as complaint investigations. Washington State licenses more than 400 in-home services agencies to provide home-based personal care and health services to clients and patients within the minimum health and safety standards established in chapter WAC 246-335. The OII survey team is required to survey applicants as part of the initial licensing process, and to survey licensees once during each licensure period. Initial surveys are scheduled and announced; on-going surveys are unannounced. Check out this link to find helpful resources to help you have a successful survey. (Remember – if your agency is Medicare certified you will also be surveyed against applicable Conditions of Participation (COPs)).

Compliance Corner
Long Term Care Services and Supports -

In 2019, the Legislature established the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program (LTSS Trust Program), which provides up to $36,500 in lifetime benefits for eligible beneficiaries to apply to the cost of their long-term care. WA State passed legislation in 2021 (SHB 1323) regarding the Long Term Care Trust Fund that takes effect January 1, 2022.
What is the background regarding the Long-Term Services and Supports Trust Program (SHB 1323) -

With the aging population and few people planning for their elder years with no LTC insurance, it will swamp the states LTC system and cost the state millions if not billions more to take care of this aging population in the future. This funding will provide a financial cushion for seniors, using their own money, to be able to stay in their homes longer with support services before they spend down into Medicaid.
Home care agencies were strongly in support of this legislation because they would be able to provide services under this new program and probably home health too. It’s either pay now for some of your long term care costs or have the state pay for you later at the taxpayers’ expense. HCAW was in support of this legislation in 2019.

What you need to know - The LTSS Trust Program is funded through a 0.58 percent premium assessment on an employee's wages. The premium assessment begins January 1, 2022, and eligible beneficiaries may begin receiving benefits on January 1, 2025. An individual who is a Washington resident, at least 18 years old, not disabled before the age of 18, assessed as needing assistance with at least three activities of daily living, and paid into the program for either three of the last six or years or a total for ten years with no more than a five- year interruption, is eligible to receive benefits. An employee who wishes to opt-out of the LTSS Trust Program must attest to having purchased long-term care insurance before the effective date of the bill. Here is the link to the bill summary:  1323-S SBR HLTC TA 21 (wa.gov).
What you need to do – Educate employees about the new tax. Educate your payroll staff and verify your payroll vendor (if any) about the tax and when it becomes effective. Workers who pay into the fund for the required number of years will be eligible for the benefit. What will it cost them? The 2019 law signed by the governor mandates that beginning in 2022 workers pay 58 cents for every $100 of income. So someone making $50,000 a year would pay $290 a year for this tax. Someone making $100,000 annually would pay $580. Each worker would be eligible for the same, long-term care benefit. People who pay for their own long-term care insurance can apply for an exemption from the tax during the first year. The benefit is not portable, so people planning to move out of the state after retirement won’t receive it, despite paying in for years. Long-term care insurers indicate that people who plan to retire in the next decade won’t see the benefit, because of certain eligibility requirements. The Washington Policy Center provides a critique that you can read here: Lawmakers might close a window on workers who would rather choose their long-term care plan than be taxed for a publicly financed one » Publications » Washington Policy Center
Proceeds of this tax on Washington employees will be used to create the Long Term Care Trust Fund to fund the long-term services and support (LTSS) Trust Program. The LTSS Trust Program is designed to provide basic long-term care insurance for Washingtonians.
This new payroll tax is expected to cost Washington employees ~$1 billion annually in “premiums”.4 Employers are responsible for collecting the tax via payroll withholding of 0.58 percent and for remitting the premiums to the Washington Employment Security Department. Individuals earning $100,000/year will thus pay $580 per year in additional tax. Employees earning five times as much will pay five times as much premium for the same coverage since there is no cap on wages subject to this tax.
The legislation also requires the Washington employment security department and the department of social and health services to jointly conduct outreach to provide employers with educational materials to ensure employees are aware of the program, and that the premium assessments will begin on January 1, 2022. The law’s outreach and education assistance mandate for state agencies must be completed by October 1 of this year. Read more here: Washington State Payroll Tax Funds Long Term Care Trust Fund — Except for Those Who Choose a Better Way - Lane Powell PC
Staff Recruitment
What are the best and worst places to work for nurses in 2021? Arizona tops the list for the best. Where does Washington State weigh in?

Read more here:
Value Based Purchasing for Medicare Agencies May be Expanding in 2022
Value Based Purchasing for Medicare Certified agencies began in 2016 under a CMMI funded grant. Originally there were nine states included in the project, with WA State being one of them. The fourth annual report on VBP was released in May of 2021. To expand to all states will require rule making and it is anticipated that the notice of rule- making will be out in July of 2021 and finalized in October, 2021 to be effective January 2022.
Here is the link to the short 163 page annual report that contains really good information:
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion
HCAW is dedicated to increasing Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) within our industry. Please join us in this endeavor by taking a moment to read the articles below.

HCAW Membership
We want you to join our community of members! Here's why.....

  • We offer a community, resources, and strong voice for professionals providing care in the home.
  • Our membership is for your entire team! Members include managers, directors, aides, nurses, dietitians, finance managers, c-suite executives, and all other professionals who support care in the home. 
  • Free and reduced cost premium education that impacts your work.
  • Tools and resources to improve your agency.
  • HCAW advocates for our members and industry both here in Washington state and throughout the nation.
  • Up to date news that impacts you.
HCAW Website and Social Media
We are excited to announce our new website is now live!

We've got some new features (On-Demand ProgramsEvent Calendar & more!), an updated Member Portal and just overall new looks. But most importantly, we want to make sure you have all the information you need to navigate our new site.

Some things you should know:

  • Member Portal: Our member portal is password protected - our new updated password for the page is: HCAWMember21
  • Clearing Caches: It's important that you clear your cache on all your devices so that you are able to view and navigate the site without issues. Click here for more instructions on clearing your cache for your browser/device
And remember to follow us on social media!