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Washington State Voters OK LTC Training Mandate

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Voters in Washington state voted Tuesday by a 67% to 33% margin to pass Initiative Measure 1163, a measure that will move up the effective date for new training, certification and background check requirements for long-term care (LTC) workers who work in the home.

Originally, the state was going to increase training, certification and background check requirements for home health care workers starting in 2014.

Now, the requirements will start to take effect in January 2012.

The measure does not affect workers who work in LTC facilities, such as nursing homes and adult day care centers, officials say in 1163 summary.

The measure does not have a direct effect on LTC insurers, but it could affect home care reimbursement for policies that cover home health care.

Washington state law already requires that LTC home health care workers receive some training.

Now, workers hired on or after Jan. 1, 2012, will have to be certified by the state Department of Health as “home care aides” within 150 days of beginning work.

Training requirements will increase to 75 hours, from 35 hours.

The state must pay for the training and pay the LTC home care workers while they are in training.

The workers will have to receive 12 hours of continuing training every year.

Initiative supporters said it would increase the quality of home health care; opponents, including home health care industry groups, have said it’s a vehicle for using $80 million in state money that could be spent on services to pay for what will amount to a private union training program.