Initiative 1163 – concerning long-term care workers and services for elderly and disabled people.
This measure would reinstate background checks, training, and other requirements for long-term care workers and providers, if amended in 2011; and address financial accountability and administrative expenses of the long-term in-home care program.
Quick background that I know most of my friends know, but not everyone who stumbles on this will. I spent 3 years caring for my mother during her terminal illness and for my grandparents as their health declined before they died. I hired a number of people to help care for my mother. We did not use an agency for reasons that are not germane to this. There was no good way to determine the qualifications or experience for these caregivers, and it was a crapshoot with respect to the care they gave. For my grandmother, I insisted we use an agency that performed background checks at least, and they supposedly gave their workers some minimal training.
In 2008, I voted for an initiative that created a licensing program and training for long term caregivers. It passed by a large margin. Since then, the state legislature delayed some of the requirements instituted by that initiative. This was an attempt to save money given the horrible budget constraints the state experienced. Instead of starting in 2012, the program now starts in 2014.
If I could be sure this was a one-time delay, I wouldn’t lose a lot of sleep. I wouldn’t like it, but we’d get the improvement in standards fairly shortly. However, given that we continue to have budget constraints, I fully expect the legislature to delay the start of the program again. I do not want it to be indefinitely delayed. If this initiative passes, the program starts in 2012, and the legislature can’t amend it for two years. By which time it will have started. It’s much harder to shut down an existing program than to delay one that hasn’t started.
I don’t care that it costs some money. In an ideal world, market forces would create a mechanism for ensuring care, but that hasn’t happened. The only way to ensure good long term care is to have a lot of money. People who are disabled or dying deserve a minimum level of care even if they are poor, and this initiative goes a long way to ensuring that.
I’ll be voting yes on I-1163.