The start of a New Year also signals the beginning of the legislative budget cycle and the 2018 Legislative Session. This year, WDVA has some pretty significant ‘asks’ of the Governor and the Legislature. We are fortunate that Governor Inslee has included our budget requests in his version of the budget. Now we are working hard to share information with legislators serving on the Ways and Means, Appropriations, and Capital Budget Committees in the hopes that these items will be included in their budget versions as well. Our budget requests include:
$8.8m to fully fund the 2017 salary increases included in last year’s statewide collective bargaining agreements. WDVA received the authority to earn those dollars in federal and local funds, but there is no way for us to bill Medicare and Medicaid more than the allowable amount.
$6.5m to fill in gaps caused by lower than projected census at the Soldiers Home and Walla Walla Veterans Home.
$150,000 for our new veterans case management system.
$340,000 to hire a clinical compliance nurse who can help our homes navigate the new Centers for Medicare and Medicaid nursing home regulations.
$301,000 to manage compression and inversion issues in our pay scale caused by the salary increases in the first bullet.
We are also monitoring many pieces of legislation that have been carried over from the 2017 Legislative Session and introduced in the 2018 Session. You can track those on our website at: http://www.dva.wa.gov/about-wdva/legislative-updates
I am looking forward to a great 2018 with you, our friends and partners, as we work together to serve veterans and their families!
-WDVA Director, Alfie Alvarado-Ramos