House unanimously approves Chambers’ bill to help reduce long-term care worker shortage

A bill by Rep. Kelly Chambers that would incentivize current long-term care professionals to stay on the job, and encourage others who retired or left long-term care to return to the profession, gained unanimous approval in the state House of Representatives late Tuesday.

Chambers, R-Puyallup, says House Bill 1568 is in response to a serious health-care worker shortage in Washington’s nursing homes, hospitals, rehabilitative care centers, and other long-term care facilities.

“I’ve watched how hard caregivers have worked over the pandemic. They are the unsung heroes in the health-care workforce. They don’t get a lot of attention, but we know if we don’t have enough of them, it impacts our entire health care system, from hospitals to nursing homes to all of our facilities. If we don’t have enough workers, we can’t take care of people who need it the most,” said Chambers.

Under the bill, certain home care aides and nursing assistants whose credentials have expired for more than six months, but less than two years, would be exempt from late or current renewal fees, if the person complies with all other certification requirements necessary to return to active status. The renewal cycle for home care aides, nursing assistants, and medication assistant endorsements would also be extended to two years.

“These are simple changes in the law that would give our health-care workers more bang for their buck — two years for the price of one — and allow those workers who took other employment or retired during COVID to have the opportunity, if they so choose, to return to the profession without penalties,” added Chambers.

Chambers says the bill would also provide more flexibility in the training schedule by extending time to meet the requirements.

“For instance, workers have found it challenging to being able to schedule their certification exam in a timely manner. My proposal would extend the timeframe to get licensed an extra 100 days if the employee proves they’ve completed their required training,” Chambers noted.

Chambers says her proposal is an additional tool to bolster the long-term care profession and provide for the increased demand of critical care services among the elderly population in Washington state.

The measure now heads to the Senate for further consideration.


Washington State House Republican Communications