Emergency Rules Related to COVID-19

Coronavirus set against backlit graphs in blue tones.

The Developmental Disabilities Administration (DDA) has made temporary changes to its Home and Community Based Services waivers in order to meet immediate health and safety needs during this pandemic.

These changes are called “emergency rules.” They are meant to make it easier for people to get the help they need while reducing the risk of infection and illness. These rules end once the WA emergency declaration ends.

The following highlights show some of the ways DDA is responding to this public health emergency. For the complete list of rule changes with all the details, click here.

Changes to Service Limitations and Restrictions when Related to COVID

  • Limits to respite hours generated in the CARE assessment may be exceeded when approved by DDA in advance.
  • Funding limits may be exceeded for aggregate services under the Basic Plus, CIIBS, and Individual and Family Services waivers when approved by DDA in advance. Aggregate services include: positive behavior supports, skilled nursing care, home and vehicle modifications, staff & family training.
  • Community guide and community engagement may be provided to more than one client at a time.
  • Assistive technology is available on all five waiver programs when a waiver participant requires a basic technology in order to receive waiver-funded remote supports during the COVID-19 outbreak. Assistive technology is only available to the participant when access to technologies through other resources is not possible. Technology includes: tablets, switches, telephones, or other devices.
  • Waiver transportation services may be used to travel to a place where the client will not be receiving waiver services if it is necessary to prevent illness or meet a client’s immediate health and safety needs (e.g., transportation to a family member’s home).

Remote Services and Alternative Locations

  • All waiver services (except goods) may be offered remotely by providers when travel to the waiver participant is not possible due to COVID-19 infection or exposure.
  • If a client is displaced from their home because of quarantine or hospitalization, or if a provider is unavailable due to illness or business closure, the following waiver services may be provided in a hotel, shelter, church, other facility-based setting, or the home of a direct-care worker: Residential habilitation; Respite care; Positive behavior support; Staff and family consultation; Behavioral health stabilization-positive behavior support; Behavioral health stabilization-crisis diversion beds; Nurse delegation; and Skilled nursing.

Provider Qualifications

  • Staff and Family Consultation may include emergency preparedness consultation from a provider trained in emergency management or a similar field with a current DDA contract.
  • Respite care may be provided by currently contracted positive behavior support providers.

Assessments and Service Planning

  • A level-of-care reassessment may be postponed, and services continued up to one year, if:
    • the client, their representative, or a DDA employee are unable to participate in the reassessment due to illness or quarantine; or,
    • there is not enough time for the case manager to complete the annual reassessment paperwork.
  • The time limit for approving an expired person-centered service plan can be extended if it meets the client’s current needs, and monthly remote or telephone monitoring is provided to ensure the plan continues to meet their needs.
  • Assessments can occur by phone in place of face-to-face assessments on a case-by-case basis. For initial assessments, a brief in-person visit will take place as follow up to the phone assessment; however if it’s not safe to do an in-person visit, services can be authorized prior to an in-person visit occurring.


Emergency Rules Related to COVID-19 (pdf)

Thumbnail image of 2 page bulletin on emergency waiver rules.


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