Washington State

Office of the Attorney General

Attorney General

Bob Ferguson

PO Box 40124
Olympia, WA 98504-0124

Division Chief: Paige Dietrich, Senior AAG

Overview: The Social and Health and Services (SHO) division represents six state agencies in their missions to provide benefits, protection and care to some of our state’s most vulnerable and disenfranchised residents. The division’s 50 attorneys and 35 professional staff provide legal services, advice and representation to the Department of Social and Health Services’ many programs and functions, including mental health services and the state psychiatric hospitals; adult protective services; home and community services for elderly and disabled individuals; service to individuals with developmental and intellectual disabilities; income assistance; revenue recovery and child support; vocational rehabilitation; and the Special Commitment Center.  We provide legal services to the Health Care Authority programs such as public employee benefits; school employee benefits; Medicaid and other medical assistance programs; alcohol and drug rehabilitation; and behavioral health.  We assist the Department of Children Youth and Families with a broad range of state provided services to children, including child abuse and neglect litigation in Thurston, Mason, and Lewis Counties, coordinating with the five divisions that handle juvenile litigation statewide, and the operation of institutions for juvenile offenders.  Other clients include the Health Benefits Exchange, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the Department of Services for the Blind.

Legal Highlights:  Division litigation ranges from federal court class action cases involving thousands of individuals to administrative appeals involving a single individual.  Recent cases include a challenge to the adequacy of the state’s mental health services and a challenge to the adequacy of services provided to foster children. Other examples of cases include: contract disputes with medical providers and managed care organizations; appeals related to eligibility for certain medical services; lawsuits brought by legal advocacy organizations on behalf of Medicaid recipients and disabled individuals; complex civil rights challenges by residents of the Special Commitment Center for sexually violent predators; civil and felony commitment hearings and trials; guardianship petitions on behalf of children or vulnerable adults; and appeals of findings of abuse or neglect.

Revenue recovery for DSHS and HCA:    $407,871.90 in FY 2018

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