DDA partners with providers and stakeholders for ideas on potential staffing challenges

Contact: Lisa Pemberton, DSHS Media Relations, 360–902–7844

lisa.pemberton@dshs.wa.gov

A photo of a computer screen with Saif Hakim presenting during the webinar.
Saif Hakim, chief of the Office of Residential, Employment, and Day Programs, presents during the webinar.

DSHS’ Developmental Disabilities Administration hosted a webinar on Sept. 9 to share information on Gov. Jay Inslee’s COVID-19 vaccination mandate.

Nearly 300 people attended the online information-sharing event, which featured presentations by representatives from DDA, the Aging and Long-Term Support Administration’s Residential Care Services and the state Department of Health.

The event also featured a live Q&A session, with participants submitting their questions via chat.

A laptop screen and portion of a keyboard, with Mike Anbesse presenting during the webinar.
Residential Care Services director Mike Anbesse presents during the webinar.

Assistant Secretary Debbie Roberts thanked everyone for turning out for the hour-long discussion, which included information on the governor’s proclamation, vaccine exemptions and COVID-19 information geared towards supported living, group home, companion home and other DDA providers.

The health care system is already struggling nationally to recruit and retain workers. The state’s deadline for all health care workers and state workers to be fully vaccinated by Oct. 18 is expected to have an additional impact on DDA programs, Roberts said.

“We want to partner with our providers and stakeholders,” Roberts said. “We don’t have all the answers, but together we will ensure people receive the care and support they need.”

After the event, providers and stakeholders were invited to break into region-specific discussion and brainstorming sessions about potential staffing issues that could be caused by the vaccination deadline.

Send ideas, feedback and creative solutions

From now through Oct. 22, DDA providers and stakeholders are invited to send ideas, feedback and creative solutions to address the emergent concerns by emailing DSHSDDAStaffingBrainstorm@dshs.wa.gov.

A photo of a computer screen with Megan Fort (her name tag reads Megan Kwak) presenting during the webinar.
DDA Community Residential Program manager Megan Fort presents during the webinar.