Letters to the Editor

A disaster awaits elderly

Initiative 1163 is a disaster for seniors and everyone else, except the union (SEIU).

Initiative I-1163 on the November ballot would require 75 hours of training for home caregivers and criminal background checks for them. Sounds good, doesn’t it?

But what if you knew that the state already has a very fine 30 hour training program for caregivers?

And that doing criminal background checks has been a requirement for over 10 years?

That the program will cost $40 million a year and has no funding?

That last session the Legislature delayed an identical initiative until 2014 because there was simply no money for it?

That essential state programs and care for the elderly and disabled have already been cut to the bone and are facing more cuts because deficits keep getting worse?

That almost every penny of the $80 million will go to a union, the SEIU, to train its members, who only serve Medicaid clients? The rest of it will go to DSHS to administer the program and to hire 5 new investigators to make sure that the law is being complied with, at a time when thousands of teachers and other state employees have either been laid off or given weekly furloughs of a day or more.

That small private homecare companies who serve the vast majority of you who are not on Medicaid will not get any funding to train their workers, which means they will have to raise prices to you significantly?

That the complaint level for private duty agencies is practically zero?

That the problems with a few adult family homes on the mainland have been mostly deliberate negligence and exploitation, which no amount of training will prevent? Better supervision is the answer there.

If you knew all that, would you still think it was a good idea?

Vote no on I-1163.

Sharon Emerson


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