Initiative Measure 92
An Ordinance To Ensure Quality And Accountability In Publicly-Funded Services For The Elderly And Disabled WHEREAS the City of Seattle contracts with home care agencies to provide publicly-funded home care and related services to vulnerable elderly and disabled adults; and WHEREAS the City of Seattle has a duty to provide elderly and disabled persons with the highest quality care possible; and WHEREAS the City of Seattle has a further duty to protect its most vulnerable and elderly residents from abuse, neglect, and exploitation; and WHEREAS the City of Seattle decreases the likelihood of such abuse by contracting for home care services only with agencies with a demonstrated track record of delivering high quality care; and WHEREAS the City of Seattle exposes its most vulnerable residents to harm and abuse if it contracts with agencies with documented histories of abuse, neglect, and exploitation to provide home care services; and WHEREAS contracting with care agencies with histories of abuse, neglect, or exploitation potentially exposes the City and its taxpayers to liability NOW THEREFORE, BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY OF SEATTLE as follows: A new provision of the Seattle Municipal Code is added to read as follows: Sec. 1. Legislative Findings A. Pursuant to its role as the designated Area Agency on Aging for King County, the City of Seattle has the duty and discretion to select which home care agencies to contract with to provide publicly- funded home care services to elderly and disabled persons. B. The City of Seattle, taxpayers, recipients of home care services and their families have a vested interest in ensuring that agencies providing home care and related services to the elderly and/or disabled deliver the highest quality care possible. C. To eliminate to the greatest extent possible, the risk of abuse, neglect or exploitation to vulnerable, elderly or disabled persons who receive home care and related services, it is the declared policy of the City to contract for home care and related services only with responsible agencies with a demonstrated record of delivering quality care. Sec. 2. Contracting with quality and accountable home care agencies. Pursuant to its authority as the designated Area Agency on Aging for King County, the City of Seattle shall contract only with home care agencies that meet all of the following criteria: A. The home care agency has at least three years experience providing licensed home care services in the State of Washington; B. Neither the home care agency nor its related organizations have been found by any court, court monitor, or court-appointed lawyer to have instances of neglect, abuse, or exploitation that led to client deaths anywhere in the United States in the past three years. C. Neither the home care agency nor its related organizations have been found by any court, court monitor, or court-appointed lawyer to have defrauded any state, fraudulently altered documents, or otherwise committed fraud anywhere in the United States in the past three years. Sec. 3. Audit. Within 90 days of the effective date of this ordinance, the City shall conclude an audit of its existing home care agency contracts to ensure compliance with this section. Contracts with agencies not in compliance shall be terminated. Sec. 4. Notwithstanding any of the language contained in sections 1 through 3 of this ordinance, nothing herein shall be interpreted or applied so as to limit or restrict any Washington State legislative or constitutional grant of power to the legislative authority or other officer of the City of Seattle, and the reach of this initiative is expressly circumscribed and limited by any such legislative or constitutional grant of power, nor shall any portion of this initiative be read to require the city to breach any current contractual obligation. Sec. 5. Any resident of the City of Seattle shall, by virtue of his/her status as a taxpayer in the City, have legal standing in King County Superior Court, to bring a cause of action to enforce this ordinance; such resident shall be entitled to injunctive relief requiring the City to terminate any contract with an agency not in compliance with section 2, without the necessity of any bond being posted, so long as the elements necessary to obtain injunctive relief pursuant to RCW 7.40.020 are established to the satisfaction of the Court. Sec. 6. If any provision of this act or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances shall not be affected.