Register for the 2024 HCAOA National Home Care Conference in Seattle, WA, by November 10 and pay 2023 registration rates. The price will increase in 2024, so register today and save!
In Washington state, the new Nursing Assistant skills test went into effect on October 1, 2023. The purpose of the change is to increase access to skills testing following graduation. Graduates will be expected to pass the skills test before registering for the written test, which saves steps and time in the testing and certification process. By 2024, most nursing assistant training programs will provide skills testing routinely after graduation. One of the biggest changes is graduates will no longer register for the skills test on Credentia365 but will continue to use the platform to obtain their Candidate ID number.
HCAOA Washington Chapter Addresses Exclusion of Family-Funded Home Care Providers in WA Cares Act Funding
Recently, the Washington LTSS Trust Commission recommended (see slide 27) that family-funded home care providers be excluded from accessing WA Cares Act funding if they do not have a contract to provide Medicaid services. HCAOA and its Washington Chapter submitted a letter to the Commission expressing its vehement disagreement with the proposal, which you may read by clicking here.
Starting September 11, 2023, applicants will no longer use the Department of Health's credentialing process. Instead, they will directly register and pay for exams through Prometric. After submitting their credentialing applications to the Department of Health, applicants will receive email notifications from Prometric to schedule their exams. While English language exam applicants can self-schedule and pay online, those requiring interpreters or special accommodations will still require assistance from a Prometric advocate. The Department of Health will provide training resources, including guides and videos for the new scheduling process, with a voucher system for bulk payments. Prometric's webpage will have updated information as the transition to direct scheduling approaches.
Click here to learn more.
The mandatory withholdings for the WA Cares Fund were implemented on July 1, 2023. Originating from the Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Trust Act, signed by Governor Jay Inslee on April 21, 2021, this state-operated long-term care insurance initiative requires employers to deduct premiums from their employees' payrolls, unless proof of exemption is provided. The enactment followed amendments outlined in H.R. 1732 and H.R. 1733, signed by Governor Inslee on January 27, 2022, which postponed and modified the withholding until July 1, 2023.
Family Resource Home Care has recently completed the acquisition of Companion Care, inc., a home care agency based in Woodinville, WA. The move is in line with Family Resource's strategic expansion plan to cover a substantial portion of the aging population in the Pacific Northwest. The acquisition adds to Family Resource's presence in the Puget Sound region, bringing their total locations to seven in that area and 29 across Washington, Oregon, and Idaho.
Several weeks ago, Washington Gov. Inslee signed into law Senate Bill No. 5123, which will protect prospective employees from discrimination in hiring due to their lawful, off-duty use of marijuana. With this law, Washington will join the growing list of states offering some workplace protections to workers who engage in “off-duty” marijuana use. The new law is not a “go-ahead” for all Washington employees to engage in recreational marijuana use without employment consequences, however. Governor Inslee has emphasized the law does not protect all such use and does not prevent employers from establishing policies regarding a drug-free workplace.
The Washington Aging & Long-Term Support Administration (ALTSA) is seeking public comment on the draft Washington State Plan on Aging for 2023-2027. ALTSA is designated as Washington’s State Unit on Aging to administer the federal programs under the Older Americans Act. ALTSA submits a State Plan on Aging every four years to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for Community Living (ACL).
Home care industry leaders and HCAOA members in Washington met last week at the state chapter conference in Seattle to receive updates on several issues impacting the home care industry. State surveyors Lori Heiner and Annalisa Atienza provided detailed insight on surveys and Leslie Emerick, state lobbyist for the chapter, offered a recap of legislative and regulatory activities over the last five months.
If you have not registered for the Washington Chapter Conference on Wednesday, May 17, here are 3 reasons to sign up now.
Beginning January 1, 2023, Washington employers with 15 or more employees will be required to publish, on every job posting, the wage scale or salary range and a "general description of all of the benefits and other compensation to be offered to the hired applicant." They must also provide this information for internal transfers upon request.
A new Basic Caregiver Training Emergency Rule (WSR 22-15-020) has been refiled in Washington state, effective July 12, 2022. The Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) filed rules effective July 1, 2022 as WSR 22-12-081 to outline dates by which HCAs must complete basic caregiver training based on hire and rehire dates. These dates may extend through September 30, 2023, or within 120 days after the end of the COVID-19 training waivers established by the governor, whichever is later.
Washington Reestablishes Fingerprinting Requirements, Holds Listening Sessions for Home Care Aide Date of Hire Proposals
The Washington Department of Health (DOH) and the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) will be jointly hosting two virtual listening sessions on Wednesday June 22, 9-10:30 a.m. and Wednesday July 20, 10-11:30 a.m. to receive feedback on the below date of hire proposals for Home Care Aides.
The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services has filed new rules to respond to the backlog of long-term care workers needing training and/or testing for certification caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
These new rules will allow additional time for long-term care workers to be trained and certified. Workers are also credited with continuing education hours for on-the-job training during the COVID-19 emergency, and deadlines for completing continuing education are also extended. The Permanent Rule Making adds two new sections in Chapters 388-71 WAC and 388-112A WAC. To access the rule language, please click here.