Coalition News

Shortcut to The Medicaid Demonstration Project

Shortcut To Understanding The Medicaid Transformation Demonstration Project And How To Get Involved!

On January of this year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved the Medicaid Transformation Project Demonstration. This five-year contract with CMS authorizes up to $1.5 billion in federal investments to promote innovative, sustainable and systemic changes that help improve the overall health of Washingtonians.

Here are Five Things You Need To Know 

What is the Demonstration?

The demonstration is a part of the Health Care Authority’s Healthier Washington Initiative. Through a five-year demonstration, this proposal includes three initiatives aimed at improving how we take care of individuals to better address local health priorities, deliver high-quality, cost-effective care that treats the whole person, and create linkages between clinical and community-based services.

What are the three initiatives under the demonstration?

Initiative 1: Transformation through Accountable Communities of Health (ACHs)
Initiative 2: Long-term Services and Supports of the aging population
Initiative 3: Foundational Community Support Services

Which Initiative is open to input from individuals and community partners?

Under Initiative 1, ACHs must coordinate with a wide range of community partners to carry out at least four regional transformation projects (two required and at least two chosen by ACHs, with input from the community), aimed at driving regional and systemic population health improvement.

 Take The Community Input Survey Now!


What and who is your local ACH?

Accountable Communities of Health (ACH) bring together leaders from multiple health sectors around the state with a common interest in improving health and health equity. The Cascade Pacific Action Alliance is the ACH for the central western Washington region, and   CHOICE Regional Health Network is the health care collaborative that provides the administrative support for the ACH.

How can you easily participate in the direction these funds take in your county?

Please join the Thurston Asset Building Coalition’s Health Hub at the next Thurston County Safety Net Council meeting, so that we can continue to work together on the transformation of health care and quality of life in our area.

Bridging Health & Housing Forum – What’s Next?


The Innovations Bridging Health & Housing Forum brought in over 50 community members and leaders to share in the discussion and listen to original approaches to Housing First practices. Our key note speaker, Andy Bond of the Portland Hotel Society in Vancouver BC, shared the many challenges and success of the now 24 year project, which has achieved international acclaim for its avant-garde programs including Insite, North America’s first legal supervised-injection site.

On a regional level, our panel of local experts expressed the need of integrating the health issues of the homeless with the immediate need of getting them housed. Being a public health issue as well as a housing issue, this question is one for business, government, social services and individuals alike.

We have received many positive comments about the event and would like to get your feedback as well. Please take a moment now to fill out our event survey.
“I have already begun sharing much of this information with our Housing Network group here in Lewis County. We’re also going to try and present at least one or more similar forums here in Lewis County. We may be contacting you for advice.” – Event Participant


If you would like to come together around this topic and other emerging issues in the community, join the Thurston Asset Building Coalition at one of our Hub meetings and learn how you can get involved.

Click below for video recording of keynote speaker.
Part 1 and Part 2

Claim Your Free Tax Credit Today


Is it really that simple – a Free tax credit from the IRS? Yes, there is money out there waiting for you, and all you have to do is claim it! The little know “tax credit”, the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC.), is available to individuals and families with low to moderate incomes and can mean as much as $6000 in Free cash.

Schelli Slaughter, the Thurston Asset Building Coalition Chair, joins Kirsten Klien of the AARP Tax- Aide Foundation, in an interview with Dick Pust, host of It’s Your Community on Mixx 96 FM, to talk about the EITC, what it is, how you can get it and where you can find FREE tax preparations sites in Thurston and Lewis County.

“Yes, it is possible to receive the credit, which means cash to you, even if you have not paid any taxes during the year, but you must have earned income.” – Kirsten Kline, District Coordinator for  AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Foundation

Click here to hear the complete radio interview.

Earned Income Tax Credit: You Could Receive Up to $6000


The Internal Revenue Service reports that the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) – one of the largest anti-poverty programs in the United States – raises over 6 million people above the poverty line each year. Yet, every year one out of five eligible workers fails to claim it. This leaves billions of dollars unclaimed.

Each year, The Thurston Asset Building Coalition partners with the AARP Tax-Aide Foundation to bring awareness to this valuable credit and provide FREE tax preparation services for low-to-moderate-income working people.

We want to get the word out to those who are eligible, that they could receive up to $6,000 or more in tax refunds when claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit. Here are five things you should know about the Earned Income Tax Credit:

What is the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)

An earned income tax credit (EITC) is a tax benefit designed to help low- to moderate-income working people get ahead. It reduces the amount of taxes owed, and refunds the difference if the credit is larger than the amount owed. Eligible workers who claim the EITC on their tax return can receive a refund even if they do not owe income tax.

Who Is Eligible

EITC is complex. It varies by income, family size and your filing status. To be eligible, you must have earned income or certain disability income. This means you must have income from working for someone or working for yourself.
For tax year 2016, a worker with no children who makes less than $14,880 can receive up to $506. Single parents with three or more children who make less than $47,955 are eligible for $6,269. Married couples must file taxes jointly. Couples earning less than $20,430 qualify for a credit of $506. Those with three or more children qualify for $6,269 if they make less than $53,505. The IRS estimates that more than 28 million citizens received over $66 billion in earned income tax credits in tax year 2013.

Don’t guess about your EITC eligibility, however. Use the EITC Assistant tool on or visit one of the many FREE Tax-Prep sites offered by AARP Tax Aide Foundation.

How Can It Help You?

By arriving as a single lump sum, the credit also functions something like an instant savings account for workers living paycheck to paycheck, allowing them to make big purchases they otherwise couldn’t afford.

EITC refunds can boost financial assets and savings, which may help working families avoid future financial setbacks. To help families looking to save their tax refund for a rainy day, the Thurston Asset Building Coalition also encourages those without bank accounts to sign up for a free or low-cost checking account to expedite returns and encourage savings.

Will It Affect Your Eligibility for Other Benefits?

Claiming the EITC does not affect eligibility for other benefits like SNAP (food stamps), SSI, Medicaid, cash assistance, or public housing. A saved tax refund does not count against federally-funded benefit program resource/asset limits for 12 months after the refund is received.

Where Can I Find Free Tax Preparation Services

The Thurston Asset Building Coalition in partnership with the AARP Free Tax Prep Foundation offer free tax preparation services for low-to-moderate-income working people. The sites are staffed by trained and certified volunteers.

These volunteers, trained by the AARP Foundation Tax-Aide Program and certified by the IRS, ask you the needed questions to find out if you qualify for the EITC and other refundable tax credits like the Child Tax Credit. Volunteers at Tax-Aide sites, also prepare and e-file (electronically file) your tax return at no cost to you. The program welcomes taxpayers of all ages and backgrounds.

Find a FREE Tax-Prep site near you.




Community Tax Preparation Volunteers Needed



Do you like helping others? Do you care about giving back? Do you want to develop new skills, build your resume or gain work experience?

Every year, AARP Tax Aide, Thurston Asset Building Coalition and ROOF Community Services, provide free tax prep for the elderly and for people with low-to-moderate incomes in our community.

  • No prior experience required.  You’ll receive specialized training but it is helpful if you have some tax knowledge and understanding of computers.
  • You’ll learn how to prepare basic tax returns and learn about tax deductions and credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit, Child Tax Credit and Credit for the Elderly.
  • Hours are reasonable.  Volunteers serve an average of four hours per week.  The programs are open from mid-January through April’s tax filing deadline.
  • Continuing education credits for tax pros.

As a volunteer, you’ll join a national program that’s helped millions of people file tax returns at no charge.  It’s people helping people.  It’s that simple.

For More Information or to Sign-Up to Volunteer Contact

Kirsten Klein, AARP Tax-Aide District Coordinator, 360-269-5771

Kellie McNelly, ROOF Community Services Executive Director, 360-273-6375,

Mayra Pena, Thurston ABC Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, 360-464-6055,