Initiative Measure No. 1163 Concerns Long-Term Care Workers And Services For Elderly And Disabled People.
This measure would reinstate background checks, training, and other requirements for long-term care workers and providers, if amended in 2011; and address financial accountability and administrative expenses of the long-term in-home care program.
Should this measure be enacted into law?
[ ] Yes
[ ] No
The Law as it Presently Exists
Long-term care workers assist the elderly and persons with disabilities in the homes of the people they assist or through assisted living facilities, adult family homes, or state-licensed boarding homes. Assistance by long-term care workers may include help with eating, dressing, bathing, meal preparation, household chores, and other assistance with daily life. Long-term care workers might provide this assistance under a direct contract with the state as an individual provider, or they might be employees of home care agencies or other facilities. Long-term care workers include respite care providers, community residential service providers, and any other worker who directly provides home or community-based services to the elderly or persons with functional or developmental disabilities. Long-term care workers do not include employees of nursing homes, hospitals or other acute care facilities, adult day care centers, or adult day health providers. Long-term care workers are paid according to a collective bargaining agreement negotiated with the state, subject to legislative approval.
State law currently requires that long-term care workers receive training. Additional requirements are scheduled to take effect in the future. Under current law, long-term care workers hired on or after January 1, 2014, will be required to be certified by the state Department of Health as "home care aides" within 150 days of beginning work. To be certified, long-term care workers will need to complete specific training and pass an examination. The requirement that long-term care workers receive 35 hours of basic training will increase to a 75-hour requirement on January 1, 2014. State law requires that the state pay for the training, and pay long-term care workers for the time they spend in training. After they are certified, long-term care workers hired after January 1, 2014, will be required to receive 12 hours of continuing training each year. There are reduced requirements for those who only provide care for their own adult children or parents. The state will also be required to offer advanced training to long-term care workers beginning January 1, 2014.
State law also requires that long-term care workers receive criminal background checks. These checks determine whether long-term care workers have a criminal history that would disqualify them from working with vulnerable persons. These checks currently look only for criminal convictions in Washington. If the worker has lived in Washington less than three years, then a fingerprint-based check also is conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). All long-term care workers hired after January 1, 2014, will be required to receive a fingerprint-based check through the FBI, no matter how long they have lived in Washington.
The Effect of the Proposed Measure, if Approved
Initiative Measure 1163 would move up the date by which the additional training, certification, and background check requirements for long-term care workers take effect. The requirement that long-term care workers receive certification as "home care aides," and receive additional training would apply to all long-term care workers hired on or after January 7, 2012, instead of January 1, 2014. The requirement that long-term care workers receive criminal background checks through the FBI would apply to all long-term care workers hired on or after January 1, 2012, instead of January 1, 2014. Community residential service providers would not be covered by these additional training, certification, and background check requirements until January 1, 2016.
In addition, this measure would require that the state auditor conduct performance audits of the state's long-term in-home care program. The first audit would have to be completed within twelve months after this measure takes effect. The auditor would be required to conduct performance audits "on a biannual basis thereafter." This measure would also require the state to hire five additional fraud investigators.
This measure would require the state to limit its administrative expenses so that at least 90% of taxpayer spending on the long-term in-home care program is devoted to direct care. The state would be required to achieve this limitation within two years after this measure takes effect. This measure also provides that if the passage of this act triggers changes to any collective bargaining agreement, then those changes go into effect immediately without the need for legislative approval.