Bill sponsored by Chambers seeking to ease home care aide shortage unanimously approved by House

With a 97-0 vote Friday, the Washington State House of Representatives approved a bill sponsored by Rep. Kelly Chambers that would make it easier for home care aides with expired licenses to get recertified.

Under House Bill 1877, a home care aide license that has been expired for five years or less may be recertified if
the person holding it completes an abbreviated application form, pays any necessary fees, and provides written declarations regarding any disqualifying or disciplinary actions taken against them in the past.

Current law requires home care aides that have not renewed their licenses for three years or more to repeat the training and examination required for initial certification, in addition to the other steps listed above.

House Bill 1877 would not change the requirement that all certified home care aides complete 12 hours of annual
continuing education, which provides relevant and practical training.

Chambers, who works in the home care industry, says a shortage of caregivers is creating staffing shortages throughout the long-term care continuum, even impacting the ability of hospitals to discharge patients. Through House Bill 1877, she says she's hoping to strengthen the continuum of care going forward.

“When it comes to our home care aide workforce, we are facing a crisis in staffing levels that has been exacerbated by the pandemic,” said Chambers, R-Puyallup. “In looking at ways to tackle this problem, it became clear that reducing unnecessary regulations could make a meaningful difference. The reality is we don't need these individuals to repeat the training and examination that initially qualified them to work in this field. I am confident the other steps they will be required to take are sufficient. These are highly competent and highly motivated individuals who have taken their jobs seriously in the past and will do so again once recertified. But we must get them recertified, and quickly.”

House Bill 1877, which has five Republican and five Democrat cosponsors, now moves to the Senate for further consideration.

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Washington State House Republican Communications
houserepublicans.wa.gov