Initiative 1163 Requires More Training for Caregivers in Washington State

Seniors and caregivers and, well, everyone who votes in Washington state tomorrow will be presented with Initiative 1163.  Washington voters approved this initiative in 2008, but the legislature delayed implementation.  The largest contributor to promoting passing of this initiative was a union, and well, there was a problem in that there was no way to fund the costs of the new initiative, which included 75 hours of paid training for caregivers.  Oops!

What is Initiative 1163? 

A new law in Washington state which would require 75 hours of caregiver training and mandatory multi-state background checks.

Why do many senior care professionals see no need for the initiative?

Caregiver training is already required and provided for professional senior caregivers and background checks are also already conducted.  Senior care companies must also follow certain background check and hiring guidelines in order to meet their insurance coverage protections.  Caregivers moving into Washington from another state already must pass FBI fingerprint checks, as required by law.  Medical professionals already provide caregiver training.

What are the costs of implementing the new initiative?

Numbers that are anywhere from $18 million to $80 million are being tossed around.  Currently, Washington state is operating in the red - the state does not have enough money to pay for their current programs.  The Washington state legislature recently cut, earlier this year, $500 million in medical services and in-home care to seniors and adults with disabilities.

As you examine this initiative, it seems clear that it creates additional training in order to help one group, the Service Employees International Union, profit.  It creates something that is not even needed.  Outdated rules are credited with helping to bring down the automotive industry in  Detroit.  It seems with technology advances, many union initiatives also should be a thing of the past.

The Arab Spring happened because of the availability of social media - it is now that simple to move people together to advocate for change.  This is how we now communicate.  If there is not strong social movement for a cause, that should always be a red flag to look deeper.  In this case, when you look deeper, you find an old fashioned approach to making money where you set-up a government program that your group can profit from and the taxpayers fund.

Caregiver training is also now available online, allowing caregivers to take the training courses at their own pace.  As technology continues to offer new ways to communicate, we will be able to take advantage of these abilities to offer continued training and have the capability to efficiently track everything.

It seems everyone in Washington state would be better off by trying to find ways to increase the ability to give care to seniors at home, instead of spending money on items that are not needed because they already exist.

 

 

 

 

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Caregivers: Share your Story and Win Prizes

Senior caregivers can share their caregiving stories and win prizes in honor of National Family Caregiver Month.  Anyone assisting a senior knows there are challenging days but also moments of kindness and wisdom which can really make you stop and think about your own life.

This senior housing website is offering both random prizes and an award for the stories which are voted the most popular.  It is estimated that as many as 30% of Americans are serving as a caregiver to a family member or friend.  This is more than 65 million people.  Emeritus Senior Living is a sponsor of the "share your story" program.

Caregivers can win a flip video camera or weekend getaway. Learn about the contest and submit your story.

You can also aply for a caregiving job on Caregiverlist, to work part-time or full-time and learn about caregiver training programs.

 

 

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New Washington State Law Will Regulate Eldercare Referral Companies

Finding proper senior care is not as easy as finding someone to clean your carpet or babysit or Saturday night.  Yet some of the services that provide handyman and babysitters seem to think it is the same.

Senior care professionals know the many dynamics involved with senior care, from emotional and physical needs to medical care requirements and ongoing planning for financial capabilities.  Does the senior want to stay at home and if so, is their home appropriate?  Would they enjoy life more if they moved to a senior living community?  Will they eventually need to find nursing home or hospice care? What does Medicare cover and would they be in a postion at some point to qualify for Medicaid?

Proper senior care requires learning a complete industry with a unique language (ADL's?) and many licensing and training regulations and provider variations in each state.  It requires professionals with experience.

The state of Washington passed a law that was signed by the governor in May, 2011, regulating senior care referral placement agencies, to make sure referrals are made by qualified senior care advisors and to quality senior living communities.  The Seattle Times has a series of investigative reports and found some referral agencies, such as A Place for Mom, did not have advisors with senior care experience and certifications and referrals were made to facilities that were in violation of Washington's licensing requirements.  The new law will make sure the referral agencies check the state database to make sure a facility is not in violation and require the senior care advisor to create a customized care plan and maintain records about the senior and the referral.  Other eldercare referral agencies do take the senior on in-person tours and hire advisors who are certified senior advisors or geriatric care managers and Registered Nurses with experience in senior care.  You can follow Washington state's guidelines for any eldercare referral agency you hire.

Learn about senior care options review nursing home ratings and costs and if you will need to move to a senior living community, it makes sense to use a quality referral agency.  Review quality standards for eldercare referral agencies and the Washington state eldercare referral law.

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Background Check Laws in the U.S.A.

All senior caregivers employed as professional caregivers for senior care companies (senior home care agencies, assisted living communities, nursing homes) are required to pass a criminal background check upon hire.

What information is included in a criminal background check?

A federal law called the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA regulates the information which can be collected on a background check. 

What information does the FCRA allow to be collected in a background check?

  • Name match to Social Security Number
  • Address match to Name and Social Security Number
  • Criminal court records of arrests going back for 7 years

State laws will over-ride the FCRA.  Sometimes, for instance, a state will allow the background check to access criminal history beyond 7 years if the person will be working with children or the elderly.  Caregiverlist provides the state background check laws to allow you to find out if the state law will allow an employer to access additional information.

Although the law is called the Fair Credit Reporting Act and includes governing credit checks, usually senior care companies do not check credit records due to the additional expense and because caregivers and nursing aides will not work with financial records.  Credit check information, which includes showing bankruptcies and unpaid bills, will also only show a 7-year history, according to the guidelines of the FCRA.

You may purchase your own background check to review the information prior to applying for a job as a certified nursing aide, home health aide or senior caregiver.

 

 

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Healthcare Bill Passes: The Positive Benefits for Senior Caregivers

The first step in providing affordable access to healthcare begins with passage of the healthcare bill  yesterday.  I know that most of us are very tired of hearing all the commentary on the healthcare bill.  I heard a senator from Iowa saying that the U.S. has never required Americans to buy anything - he was a very good debater but I guess the guy doesn't know he is required to buy car insurance? 

Usually something is never as bad as we think it will be and never as good as we think it will be.  Remember, when Medicare began providing benefits for prescription medications?  The new plan included a silly donut hole gap in coverage - made no sense, but it pleased the drug companies (shhh!) and allowed the benefit to be passed.  The healthcare bill fixes this silly donut hole gap in prescription medication coverage for seniors.  The same fixes will happen to the new healthcare legislation.

Here is the good news about the healthcare bill for seniors and senior caregivers.

  • Children cannot be denied health insurance because of pre-existing conditions and adults will not be denied beginning in year 2014
  • Small businesses will receive assistance in providing health insurance benefits for employees (50 employees or less) in the form of tax credits covering up to 50% of employee health insurance premiums
  • New insurance plans must include preventive care by 2018 (a very large number of seniors have never had health insurance until they turn age 65 and go onto Medicare/Medicaid)
  • No lifetime caps on health insurance
  • Children can remain on parent's health insurance plan until age 26
  • Insurance companies can non longer kick you out of their plan when you become ill
  • Insurance companies must reveal how much money is spent on overhead
Caregiverlist's survey found that only 26% of Caregivers  have health insurance benefits through their employer.
The reasons why?
  • 18% of Professional Caregivers did not participate in a company plan because the co-pays were too high
  • 55% of Professional Caregivers work for a company that does not provide health insurance benefits
Health insurance benefits in the past have been difficult for small businesses to provide due to costs, lack of participation and high turnover of employees.  Family caregivers who are not employed for a company face the same challenges.  The new legislation cares for the caregiver, in providing access to affordable health insurance for both small businesses and individuals.
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Caregiver Health Insurance

As Congress debates the healthcare overhaul legislation, Caregiverlist decided to find out if professional caregivers receive healthcare benefits, as oftentimes companies require caregivers to be full-time employees to qualify.

The results?  Only 26% of Caregivers said "Yes, as a professionally employed senior caregiver, I receive healthcare benefits."

Another 18% of Caregivers said the do not participate in their company health benefit program because the co-pay is too much.

Caregiverlist Survey:
Professionally Employed Caregivers Receiving Health Insurance as a Benefit:  26%
Professionally Employed Caregivers Not Participating in the Company Health Insurance Because it is Too Costly:  18%

However, those Americans who do not have insurance, are not turned away from emergency rooms for care, even if they are unable to pay.

According to Northwestern Memorial Hospital's annual report (Northwestern is located in downtown Chicago, Illinois and is a leading university research hospital), in 2008, $28.6 million was spent on providing "charity care" to these individuals who did not have insurance and could not pay for care.  Another $110.3 million was for the additional costs of unreimbursed Medicare and Medicaid patient care.

Because healthcare is not available to everyone - even co-pays can be too expensive for small businesses and individuals because they do not enjoy the benefit of having risk spread out over a large number of people - health care costs are higher for those who do pay and insurance costs are higher.

Many Americans only receive health insurance for the first time in they go onto Medicare insurance, which everyone receives at age 65.

One wonders what would happen if preventive care were part of our system.  In addition, as the baby boomer population numbers 77+ million people, many more senior caregivers will be needed.  It would be nice to know that individuals who must quit their jobs to care for a relative and caregivers working for small businesses will have access to affordable health insurance.  As we try to find the best ways to provide care for seniors, Caregiverlist hopes we can also pave the way to provide care for the senior caregivers through affordable health insurance benefits. , ,

Senior Caregivers: Is Health Insurance a Standard Benefit? Surprisingly, It Usually Is Not

Starbuck's founder, Howard Schultz, was passionate about finding away to provide health insurance for all Starbuck's employees.  Each Starbucks coffee shop employees several people to take the drink orders, make the coffee and take the money.  These positions do not require high level skills but do pay more than minimum wage (the national minimum wage rate is $7.25).

The challenge in providing health insurance for workers, as a corporation, is technically 75% of your staff must participate in the group health insurance plan in order for a group plan to be offered. The employees must also be willing to chip in for the monthly premium.  This usually is no problem for higher income workers.  But a monthly premium of $50 hits harder for an employee being paid  $8 or $9 an hour and usually the premium is higher than $50 a month.

Senior care companies have the additional challenge of high employee turnover (even at nursing homes, the nursing aide turnover is often higher that at a fast-food restaurant due to the emotional and physical toll caregiving takes and the high number of patients each nursing aide must care for during a shift). 

Starbucks succeeded in providing health insurance for all employees working at least 20 hours per week, and much to the dismay of many shareholders, the company takes the hit for this cost.  Howard Schultz was passionate about this because as a child, his family suffered financial hardships because his father's jobs did not provide health insurance.  The family lived in public housing and he knew from experience that when your entire paycheck must pay for health problems, there is nothing left over.

In today's current health system, the burden for insurance is placed on companies and there is not a good alternative for individuals seeking their own individual health insurance or for those who are unemployed.  Unless you show up at the emergency room - and then the circle continues as hospitals and doctors eat these costs which are passed on in higher insurance costs and higher costs of services.

Professional caregivers should all be provided with health insurance benefits - - - there is such irony in being a caregiver yet not being cared for as an employee receiving health insurance - - - and even those who must quit their jobs to be a family caregiver should have access to affordable health insurance.  That is not the case now. 

PROFESSIONAL CAREGIVERS:  LET US KNOW IF YOU HAVE HEALTH INSURANCE IN THE CAREGIVERLIST SURVEY

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Caregiver Training Schools

Senior caregivers may begin their careers first as a caregiver for a family member, neighbor or friend.  They develop many of their skills on the job.

Caregivers working for quality senior home care agencies must first complete a training program and orientation.  This training can be from 1 hour to 20 hours and more and more states are enacting legislation to require training hours for even non-medical, companion caregivers.  In addition, most senior care companies provide on-going training opportunities for caring for seniors with specific conditions and training for providing care for each of the types of memory loss.

Senior care briefs provide information on caring for specific conditions, such as a stroke or hip replacement.  You may also view caregiver training videos to learn how to transfer a senior safely and manage care needs for a senior with memory loss. 

Certified Nursing Aide training programs provide classroom and field training for caregivers to learn the skills necessary to manage for all the personal care and emotional care needs of seniors.  C.N.A. training programs will enable students to pass the state certification exam and begin working at a nursing home, hospital, hospice or home care agency when hands-on care is required.

You may explore training opportunities and take a free sample nursing aide test to find out about the skills taught in a training program.  Ongoing employment opportunities are available for certified nursing aides as the large baby boomer generation ages  - living longer and requiring assistance with care. , ,

$150 Research Opportunity for Nursing Assistants Funded by NIH

Caregiverlist was just informed the Oregon Center for Applied Science is conducting a research opportunity for working Nursing Assistants (you must be currently employed).  Participants will complete 3 surveys and view two computer training sessions and will receive up to $150 for their time.

Name of the Research Project:  Caring Skills Project

Research Study Participant Requirements:

  • Working as a Nursing Assistant
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Working at least 16 hours per week
  • Read and speak English
  • Access to a computer with high-speed internet connection
  • Active e-mail address

How do you apply to participate?

This research project is funded by The National Institute of Aging.  All information is kept completely confidential. Research applicants will be accepted through September, 2010, for this ongoing project but to be accepted, you are encouraged to apply immediately.  You may learn more about working as a Certified Nursing Aide and submit an application on our career center.

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Caregiver Job Benefits

Caregivers working for senior care companies, including senior home care agencies, assisted living communities, hospices, nursing homes and hospitals qualify for certain benefits, by law, as employees.

What benefits do professional senior caregivers receive?

  • Worker's Compensation Insurance
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Social Security Benefits Upon Retirement (Due to Payroll Contributions)
  • Health Insurance Usually for Full-time Employees
  • Training
  • Bonuses

Learn about ongoing training opportunities as the senior care industry will be a top employer in the coming decade as the baby boomer generation ages (anyone born between 1946 and 1964).  About 78 million people are considered baby boomers.

Learn about training for senior caregivers, certified nursing aide programs and part-time and full-time job opportunities to grow your caregiving skills or to consider caregiving as a career.

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