2.72.020  <<  2.72.030 >>   2.72.040

Public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration programContracts for servicesEligibility criteria and minimum standards of practiceDuties of officeCase-weighting systemFees.

The public guardianship administrator is authorized to establish and administer a public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration program as follows:
(1)(a) The office shall contract with public or private entities or individuals to provide:
(i) Public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration services to persons age eighteen or older whose income does not exceed two hundred percent of the federal poverty level determined annually by the United States department of health and human services or who are receiving long-term care services through the Washington state department of social and health services;
(ii) Supported decision-making services for a fee to persons age eighteen or older when there is no one else qualified who is willing and able to serve; and
(iii) Estate administration services for a fee to the estate of an individual who died at age eighteen or older, in circumstances where a service provider under contract with the office of public guardianship is granted letters under RCW 11.28.120(7).
(b) Neither the public guardianship administrator nor the office may act as public guardian or limited guardian or act in any other representative capacity for any individual.
(c) The primary function of the office is to contract for public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration services that are provided in a manner consistent with the requirements of this chapter. The office is subject to audit by the state auditor.
(d) Public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration service contracts are dependent upon legislative appropriation. This chapter does not create an entitlement.
(2) The office shall adopt and maintain eligibility criteria to enable it to serve individuals with the greatest need when the number of cases in which courts propose to appoint a public guardian exceeds the number of cases in which public guardianship and supported decision-making assistance services can be provided. In adopting such criteria, the office may consider factors including, but not limited to, the following: Whether an individual with diminished decision-making ability is at significant risk of harm from abuse, exploitation, abandonment, neglect, or self-neglect; and whether an individual with diminished decision-making ability is in imminent danger of loss or significant reduction in public services that are necessary for the individual to live successfully in the most integrated and least restrictive environment that is appropriate in light of the individual's needs and values.
(3) The office shall adopt minimum standards of practice for public guardians and contract service providers providing public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration services. Any public guardian providing such public guardianship services must be certified by the certified professional guardian board established by the supreme court.
(4) The office shall require a public guardian to visit each incapacitated person for which public guardianship services are provided no less than monthly to be eligible for compensation.
(5) The office shall not petition for appointment of a public guardian for any individual. It may develop a proposal for the legislature to make affordable legal assistance available to petition for guardianships.
(6) The office shall develop and adopt a case-weighting system designed to balance the increasing need for access to guardianship services, while effectively managing public guardian caseloads and providing appropriate supports for individuals on that caseload.
(a) The standard caseload limit for a contract service provider must be no more than twenty incapacitated persons per certified professional guardian. The office may authorize adjustments to the standard caseload limit on a case-by-case basis, and payment for services to a contract service provider that serves more than twenty incapacitated persons per professional guardian is subject to review by the office. In evaluating caseload size, the office shall consider the expected activities, time, and demands involved, as well as the available support for each case.
(b) Caseload limits must not exceed thirty-six cases. The office shall not authorize payment for services for any contract service provider that fails to comply with the standard caseload limit guidelines.
(c) The office shall develop case-weighting guidelines to include a process for adjusting caseload limits, relevant policies and procedures, and recommendations for changes in court rules which may be appropriate for the implementation of the system.
(d) By December 1, 2019, the office must submit to the legislature a report detailing the final case-weighting system and guidelines, and implementation progress and recommendations. The report must be made available to the public.
(e) The administrative office of the courts shall notify the superior courts of the policies contained in the final case-weighting system.
(7) The office shall monitor and oversee the use of state funding to ensure compliance with this chapter.
(8) The office shall collect uniform and consistent basic data elements regarding service delivery. This data shall be made available to the legislature and supreme court in a format that is not identifiable by individual incapacitated person to protect confidentiality.
(9) The office shall require contract service providers to seek reimbursement of fees from program clients who are receiving long-term care services through the department of social and health services to the extent, and only to the extent, that such reimbursement may be paid, consistent with an order of the superior court, from income that would otherwise be required by the department to be paid toward the cost of the client's care. Fees reimbursed shall be remitted by the provider to the office unless a different disposition is directed by the public guardianship administrator.
(10) Fees may be collected from the estate when the decedant's income prior to death exceeded two hundred percent of the federal poverty level, determined annually by the United States department of health and human services, based on a fee schedule established by the office that must be published annually.
(11) The office shall require public guardianship providers to certify annually that for each individual served they have reviewed the need for continued public guardianship services and the appropriateness of limiting, or further limiting, the authority of the public guardian under the applicable guardianship order, and that where termination or modification of a guardianship order appears warranted, the superior court has been asked to take the corresponding action.
(12) The office shall adopt a process for receipt and consideration of and response to complaints against the office and contracted providers of public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration services. The process shall include investigation in cases in which investigation appears warranted in the judgment of the administrator.
(13) The office shall develop standardized forms and reporting instruments that may include, but are not limited to, intake, initial assessment, guardianship care plan, decisional accounting, staff time logs, changes in condition or abilities of an incapacitated person, and values history. The office shall collect and analyze the data gathered from these reports.
(14) The office shall identify training needs for service providers it contracts with, and shall make recommendations to the supreme court, the certified professional guardian board, and the legislature for improvements in training. The office may offer training to individuals providing services pursuant to this chapter, to individuals who, in the judgment of the administrator or the administrator's designee, are likely to provide such services in the future, to lay guardians, and to the family and friends of individuals subject to guardianship.
(15) The office shall establish a system for monitoring the performance of contract service providers, and office staff shall make in-home visits to a randomly selected sample of public guardianship and supported decision-making assistance clients. The office may conduct further monitoring, including in-home visits, as the administrator deems appropriate. For monitoring purposes, office staff shall have access to any information relating to a public guardianship, supported decision-making assistance, and estate administration client that is available to the guardian.
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