Gov. Inslee signed Engrossed Second Substitute House Bill 1694 on May 11, and it goes into effect July 23. The bill is intended to improve the home care workforce shortage by offering solutions to long-standing barriers that do not require the same investment as traditional pathways, like education and training.
The bill eases home care aide certification standards, including changing the definition of “date of hire,” expanding certification timelines, and exempting certain home care aides and nursing assistants from paying late or renewal fees for expired credentials. The bill also expands the list of family members who are exempt from having to become home care aides and reduces the training requirements for these caregivers.
WSHA strongly supported the provisions of the bill that direct the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) to study the feasibility and cost of paying caregivers who are the parents of medically complex children under 18 years old or the spouses or registered domestic partners of a person with complex medical needs. The bill also directs DSHS to report annually on long-term care workforce data trends.
Significant workforce shortages in long-term and post-acute care results in reduced long-term care admissions and delays in discharging patients from hospitals. These are creative ideas to help address the workforce shortage and expand the capacity to care for our community members.
The Department of Health and the DSHS, as applicable, must adopt rules to assure that continuing education requirements are not a barrier for persons reactivating their certification. We will keep you apprised of any updates throughout the process. (Katerina LaMarche)