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 Outdated rules are credited with helping to bring down the automotive industry in Detroit.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.