The Service Employees International Union(SEIU) Local 1199 supports the passing of I-1029. On their website they provide an article that lists a number of reasons why I-1029 is good for Washington state. Please note that portions of this article were reprinted word for word in a letter published in the Opinion section of the Everett Herald on 10/26/2008 and is credited to Louise Clark, President of the Resident Councils of Washington.
Claim 1: I-1029 will protect vulnerable seniors. Most caregivers are compassionate, loving professionals, but every week we see too many headlines about seniors abused and neglected in long term care settings. In July, for example caregivers at an Everett adult family home were arrested for identity theft. They stole thousands from an 83-year old man with dementia.
True, but confusing.
The story is true, but it implies that more training and certification will prevent this type of abuse. The Governor’s LTC Training Workgroup found in 2007 that:
- Examination of ADSA and Department of Health records revealed little conclusive evidence of care deficiencies related to training in Washington.
- The most cited training deficiency cited focused on medication delivery, administration, and management issues.
- DOH most frequent deficiencies fall into categories of oversight, supervision, and documentation deficiencies.
Claim 2: I-1029 will protect vulnerable seniors from these types of tragedies by closing existing loopholes and requiring nationwide FBI background checks for long term care workers.
This claim is hard to prove or disprove. According to the Washington State Voter’s guide, background checks, including FBI background checks, are already part of current laws.
- These checks are performed against Washington State Patrol records in order to search for criminal convictions in Washington. If the worker has lived in Washington for less than three years, then a fingerprint-based check is conducted through the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
More importantly the exact wording of the initiative indicates that:
- All long-term care workers (LTC) for the elderly or persons with disabilities hired after January l, 2010, shall be screened through state and federal background checks in a uniform and timely manner to ensure that they do not have a criminal history that would disqualify them from working with vulnerable persons.
Only LTC workers hired after January 1, 2010 would be subjected to the “nationwide” background check.
Claim 3: It requires home and community-based long-term care workers to complete 75 hours of training – the national standards for nursing home workers – and pass a certification exam to demonstrate basic competence.
True, the initiative requires 75 hours of training, however the national standards are not so clear cut.
The Governor’s LTC Training Workgroup of 2007 found that:
- Washington’s LTC training is aligned with current national trends for a person-centered model that provides flexibility for consumers and workers to determine scheduling, type, and amount of care.
Claim 4: The initiative is based on the majority recommendation of a Long-Term Care Worker Training Workgroup made up of policy experts, senior advocates, and legislators appointed by the Governor.
The initiative is based on some general proposals found in the report, but LTC Training Workgroup report also included these key findings:
- Washington LTC training requirements and content appear consistent with states leading the way to rebalance LTC services within in-home and community based settings.
- The LTC Training Workgroup recommended tiered credentialing rather than certification. Credentialing would allow the two types of LTC workers, those on a career path, and those who would limit themselves to caring for family members, equal acknowledgment for completing basic training, but it would also allow those on a career path to get further credentialing for training in a specialized area. The LTC Training Workgroup generally supported including a minimum number of work hours to complete credentialing
- The LTC Training Workgroup could not come to a clear consensus regarding the amount of training hours to require. More than half on the committee recommended over 85 hours of training while a few recommended 40-90 hours of training. One committee member recommended no change. So although the majority of the LTC Training Workgroup suggested increasing training hours, the specificity of 75 hours of training included in this initiative is not part of the LTC Training Workgroup recommendations
- Initiative 1029 Online Text, http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/en/Documents/I1029-Textforweb.pdf
- Resident Councils of Washington, http://www.residentcouncil.org/home.html
- SEIU Healthcare, http://www.seiu1199nw.org/
- The Long Term Care Task Fund, http://www.governor.wa.gov/ltctf/workgroup/2007report/default.htm
- Vote Yes on Initiative 1029: Protect and Improve Care for the Elderly, http://www.seiu1199nw.org/Vote_YES_on_Initiative_1029__Protect_and_improve_care_for_the_elderly.aspx
- Washington Secretary of State Online Voter Guide, http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/osos/en/Pages/OnlineVoterGuideGeneral2008.aspx#ososTop
- Yes on I-1029: Measure Will Ensure Safe, Quality Care, http://www.heraldnet.com/article/20081026/OPINION03/710269996