Letters to the Editor

Caregiver system just fine as it is

You may not have heard of it, but I-1029, the Caregiver Training Initiative, would, if passed, add millions of dollars to Washington’s already strained budget and make it more expensive and difficult for residents to care for themselves and their loved ones.

In January the Legislature will meet, facing a revenue shortfall of more than $3 billion. I-1029 would require more training and federal background checks for most long-term care providers. The state Office of Financial Management estimates this initiative would cost the state, through its Medicaid programs, almost $30 million for the first two years, and more after that as our population ages. This doesn’t include the what it would cost individuals who are not eligible for Medicaid, as their homecare agencies are forced to pass on the huge cost of about $1,500 per caregiver.

So, is this measure really necessary?

Of course people who need help should be able to expect competent, ethical caregivers. But caregivers are already required to have training and state criminal background checks. There is no good evidence that the public is being harmed by the current system or that the initiative would improve matters.

The Spokesman Review said it best: “If the evidence showed that the public was endangered by the current system, I-1029 might be needed. Right now, the case hasn’t been made, and Washington’s economic condition won’t tolerate millions in added costs on the strength of anecdotes and speculation.”

Sharon Emerson, RN

Jeanne Lepisto, RN

Island Home Nursing, Freeland

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