washington state long term care initiativeOn January 7, 2012, Initiative 1163 went into effect requiring most long term care (LTC) workers to receive additional training and become certified as a home care aide (HCA). These changes impact workers employed in adult family homes, assisted living facilities, home care agencies (both those accepting Medicaid and private pay), as well as individual providers and others.

Because most new hires this year have been exempt from the law due to the fact that they worked in long term care in 2011, as of June 1, just a handful of caregivers across the state have received the new certification. Other long term care workers exempt from the requirement include workers holding a current Department of Health (DOH) credential such as registered nurses, licensed practical nurses, certified nursing assistants, occupational and physical therapists. A significant number of caregivers who would otherwise be required to complete the new HCA training are opting for the slightly more time consuming but much more versatile Nursing Assistant Certified (NAC) training instead.

Now, halfway into the year, the number of non-exempt new hires is increasing and we believe that by the fall more and more caregivers will be seeking the HCA certification which, while requiring 75 hours of training, an exam and a fingerprint-based background check, can still be completed in a shorter period of time than the NAC training.

Several home care agencies, assisted living facilities, and a number of independent training schools have received DSHS approval to provide training. Agencies are also gearing up for the new continuing education (CE) standards which require that all long term care workers receive 12 hours of additional training/classwork each year.

As more information becomes available about implementation of the new training, testing and certification requirements, Family Resource will be sure to share it on these pages for our friends, referral sources, and colleagues.