WSR 03-08-079

PROPOSED RULES

DEPARTMENT OF

SOCIAL AND HEALTH SERVICES
(Economic Services Administration)

[ Filed April 1, 2003, 4:38 p.m. ]

Original Notice.

Preproposal statement of inquiry was filed as WSR 02-24-064.

Title of Rule: WAC 388-448-0130 Treatment and referral requirements and 388-448-0140 Good cause for refusing medical treatment or other agency referrals.

Purpose: (1) To describe employment services offered as an optional program and clarify that a client cannot be penalized for not participating.

(2) To clarify language on refusal to accept medical treatment based on religious principles.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.005 (6)(c).

Statute Being Implemented: RCW 74.04.005 (6)(c).

Summary: WAC 388-448-0130 Treatment and referral requirements, adds a new subsection to identify optional employment support services that department may choose to offer recipients.

WAC 388-448-0140 Good cause for refusing medical treatment or other agency referrals, revises the language on refusal of medical treatment on religious grounds and adds the fact that employment support services are optional as a good cause for failure to accept those services.

Reasons Supporting Proposal: Clients are losing benefits contrary to department intent.

Name of Agency Personnel Responsible for Drafting, Implementation and Enforcement: Doug Sevin, 1009 College S.E., Lacey, WA 98504, (360) 413-3097.

Name of Proponent: Department of Social and Health Services, governmental.

Rule is not necessitated by federal law, federal or state court decision.

Explanation of Rule, its Purpose, and Anticipated Effects: Rule: WAC 388-448-0130 Treatment and referral requirements and 388-448-0140 Good cause for refusing medical treatment or other agency referrals.

Purpose and Effect: WAC 388-448-0130 implements the state statute requiring clients who may become able to work or reduce their need for state cash assistance to cooperate with the medical treatment or services from other agencies that will achieve those goals.

WAC 388-448-0140 implements the state statute that a cash assistance recipient can refuse to accept medical treatment or referral to another agency when the recipient presents good cause. The rule defines good cause and describes some situations that the department accepts as good cause.

The effects are that department workers and recipients will be aware of the statutory requirements and administer those requirements in a uniform manner.

Proposal Changes the Following Existing Rules: The department has been authorized to offer employment supports to general assistance recipients and choose which recipients will be offered those supports. It is not the department's intent to use this choice to penalize recipients but this intent is not reflected in the current rule. WAC 388-448-0130 is being changed to make it clear that choosing clients to offer the services makes the recipient's participation voluntary. WAC 388-448-0140 includes the fact that employment supports are voluntary as good reason for a recipient to decline or stops using these employment supports.

The current rule granting good cause for refusing medical treatment on religious grounds is limited to a person who practices an "organized religion." The current language puts the department in the position of deciding what constitutes a religion. The change is meant to focus on how an individual's religious beliefs affect accepting medical treatment.

No small business economic impact statement has been prepared under chapter 19.85 RCW. This proposed rule does not have an economic impact on small businesses, it only affects DSHS clients.

RCW 34.05.328 does not apply to this rule adoption. These amendments are exempt as allowed under RCW 34.05.328 (5)(b)(vii) which states in-part, "[t]his section does not apply to...rules of the department of social and health services relating only to client medical or financial eligibility and rules concerning liability for care of dependents." These rules clarify eligibility criteria for the general assistance program.

Hearing Location: Blake Office Park (behind Goodyear Courtesy Tire), 4500 10th Avenue S.E., Rose Room, Lacey, WA 98503, on May 6, 2003, at 10:00 a.m.

Assistance for Persons with Disabilities: Contact Andy Fernando, DSHS Rules Coordinator, by May 2, 2003, phone (360) 664-6094, TTY (360) 664-6178, e-mail FernAX@dshs.wa.gov.

Submit Written Comments to: Identify WAC Numbers, Department of Social and Health Services, Rules Coordinator, Rules and Policies Assistance Unit, P.O. Box 45850, Olympia, WA 98504-5850, fax (360) 664-6185, e-mail fernaax@dshs.wa.gov, by 5:00 p.m., May 6, 2003.

Date of Intended Adoption: Not earlier than May 7, 2003.

March 28, 2003

Brian H. Lindgren, Manager

Rules and Policies Assistance Unit

3216.1
AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-14-059, filed 6/29/01, effective 8/1/01)

WAC 388-448-0130   Treatment and referral requirements.   We refer you to medical providers for available medical treatment or other agencies for treatment, rehabilitation or work activities when we decide it will improve your ability to be gainfully employed or reduce your need for GAU. "Available medical treatment" means medical, surgical, chemical dependency, or mental health services, or a combination of them.

(1) When you are first approved and at each review determination, we give you written information regarding your treatment requirements.

(2) You must accept and follow through on required medical treatment and referrals to other agencies and services, including applying for SSI, unless you have good cause for not doing so. Examples of good cause are found in WAC 388-448-0140.

(3) We may require you to undergo alcohol or drug treatment before reviewing your eligibility for GAU.

(4) You may request a fair hearing if you disagree with the treatment or referral requirements we set for you (see WAC 388-458-0040).

(5) Within available resources and at our discretion, you may be offered work activities and support services that we refer to as the WorkPlus program. Your participation is voluntary and we will not penalize you if you choose to decline or discontinue participation.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 74.08.090. 01-14-059, 388-448-0130, filed 6/29/01, effective 8/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 00-16-113, 388-448-0130, filed 8/2/00, effective 9/1/00.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 01-14-059, filed 6/29/01, effective 8/1/01)

WAC 388-448-0140   Good cause for refusing medical treatment or other agency referrals.   We may determine that you have good cause for refusing required treatment or referrals to other agencies. We may require you to provide proof to support your good cause claim. Valid reasons for refusing treatment and other agency referrals include, but are not limited to, the following:

(1) Valid reasons for refusing treatment referrals:

(a) You are so fearful of the treatment that your fear could interfere with the treatment or reduce its benefits;

(b) Treatment could cause further limitations or loss of a function or an organ and you are not willing to take that risk;

(c) ((You practice an organized religion that prohibits treatment)) Your refusal is based on religious belief; or

(d) Treatment is not available without cost to you.

(2) Valid reasons for refusing treatment or other agency referrals:

(a) We did not give you enough information about the requirement;

(b) You did not receive written notice of the requirement;

(c) The requirement was made in error;

(d) You are temporarily unable to participate because of documented interference((, or));

(e) You volunteered for an optional work activity, treatment or referral to another agency; or

(f) Your medical condition or limitations are consistent with the definition of necessary supplemental accommodation (NSA), WAC, 388-472-0020 and your condition or limitations contributed to your refusal, per WAC 388-472-0050.

[Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.04.510, and 74.08.090. 01-14-059, 388-448-0140, filed 6/29/01, effective 8/1/01. Statutory Authority: RCW 74.04.050, 74.04.055, 74.04.057, 74.08.090. 00-16-113, 388-448-0140, filed 8/2/00, effective 9/1/00.]

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