PREPROPOSAL STATEMENT OF INQUIRY
SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Health and Rehabilitative Services Administration)
Subject of Possible Rule Making: Amendment to chapter 388-885 WAC permitting the secretary, DSHS, to establish and maintain, with stakeholder input and biennial legislative review, a fee schedule by which attorneys and others are reimbursed for allowable activities pursuant to chapter 71.09 RCW.
Statutes Authorizing the Agency to Adopt Rules on this Subject: RCW 71.09.800.
Reasons Why Rules on this Subject may be Needed and What They Might Accomplish: Currently, fees are stated in rule. The present dollar amount has not changed in about ten years and is inconsistent with prevailing rates. The legislature has recently passed an increase in funding to permit payment of fees at a higher rate than stated in the present rule. Any adjustment in allowances responsive to legislative intent and funding requires a change in rule. Certain expenses, paralegal costs among them, are not specified in rule; provision for reimbursement for paralegal work, as proposed to the same work performed by attorneys or at the attorney rate, is desirable.
The proposed amendment would accomplish the following: (1) Allowable fees would be adjusted more efficiently, (2) fee adjustments would be more responsive to changes in prevailing rates, (3) the schedule could incorporate cost-saving components as they are identified without a change in rule, (4) stakeholder and legislative review would assure scrutiny similar to that applied to rule revision, and (5) response to legislative expenditure authorization would be more immediate, there being no further change required in rule.
Other Federal and State Agencies that Regulate this Subject and the Process Coordinating the Rule with These Agencies: None.
Process for Developing New Rule: A work group composed of DSHS staff and administrators, attorneys from the Office of the Attorney General, defense attorney organizations and other stakeholders will contribute to the development of the proposed draft. They and other interested parties will be included among the reviewing parties during the adoption process.
Interested parties can participate in the decision to adopt the new rule and formulation of the proposed rule before publication by contacting Lee Mosley, Policy and Staff Training Manager, The Special Commitment Center, P.O. Box 88450, Steilacoom, WA 98388, email@example.com, (253) 588-5281, ext. 1843.
May 4, 2004
Brian H. Lindgren, Manager
Rules and Policies Assistance Unit