Washington state voteres passed an initiative this week that will require 75 hours of caregiver training and FBI background checks, but there is one problem - the state does not have the money to fund this program and also already cut senior care benefits because of a budget deficit.
Meanwhile, the senior care companies already are required by law to provide training and perform background checks, which is why this same initiative which was also passed in 2008, was never implemented. It seems a union was behind passing this new law, which would benefit them by paying them to provide the 75 hours of training and making sure the caregivers were paid for the 75 hours of training. The SEIU, Service Employees International Union, spent more than $1 million promoting passage of this legislation.
Senior care professionals agree that quality background checks and training are necessary, but having one union behind the proposed legislation smells a bit fishy.
The governor of Washington also opposed the legislation, stating that there was a lack of money to pay for the program.
It seems there might be better solutions out there - for instance, online training is something that is scalable and affordable and could be piggy-backed with in-person training to test skills. In addition, competency tests could be given, as certainly some career caregivers will already have much more than 75 hours of training already. It also seems that maybe the union would partner with other senior care providers to enact something that is affordable, if they truly are going after the training requirements to support better care for seniors, rather than just to benefit their own wallets. If they had partnered with the entire senior care industry in Washington to observe what the current requirements are and then propose solutions to existing problems, it would also proably be possible to do this in a cost-effective way. But training is arleady required, along with background checks.
You can learn more about Initiative 1163 in Washington and we will make updates on the implementation.
caregivertraining, initiative1163, seniorcare