Training for care providers and personal support workers is a win-win for workers and consumers; consumers receive a higher quality of care from better-trained professionals and workers have a path towards professional development and career advancement.
Last year, our union advocated for the adoption of SB 1534, which provides training for care providers and personal support workers who are approved to provide services and supports to individuals receiving in-home services funded through Medicaid or Oregon Project Independence.
Senate Bill 1534 included training on topics such as:
- Safety and emergency measures
- Understanding the requirements for providers paid with Medicaid funds
- Providing person-centered care
- Understanding how to support the physical and emotional needs of the individual who is receiving care
- Managing medications
- Providing personal care and assistance with activities of daily living.
SEIU 503 established a Training Partnership dedicated to training and developing caregivers who provide in-home supports for seniors and people with physical, intellectual, or developmental disabilities. The Partnership exists as part of the family of employee benefit plans negotiated and sponsored by the State of Oregon and our union.
A website was established to provide updates on the implementation of SB 1534. It includes recommendations from the Training Workgroup, a task force composed of SEIU members, community partners, stakeholders, advocacy groups, and consumers. Rules for the program are being drafted by a group of SEIU members, community partners, advocates, consumers, providers, and DHS representatives. The Steering Committee responsible for the overall implementation of SB 1534 is composed of leadership from SEIU, Aging and People with Disabilities, and the Office of Developmental Disabilities Services. Our union is at the table representing workers’ needs in all three bodies convened to implement SB 1534. We have a voice in this process and will ensure that the training is effective, equitable, and benefits workers.
SB 1534 will be fully implemented in January of 2021, but pilot programs in select counties will begin next year. Stay tuned for updates on the pilots later this year.
Just as fair wages, affordable health care, and a retirement savings option are only available to Medicaid and Oregon Project Independence homecare workers, these training requirements also do not apply to private sector homecare workers. The implementation of SB 1534 will further the divide in the quality of care for homecare consumers and the professional development of homecare workers. That is why it is essential for the Legislature to pass SB 669 this year.
SB 669 will mean:
- Better treatment of workers at private agencies
- More training for workers at private agencies
- Penalties for agencies that violate the rules
- Peace of mind for consumers, knowing that no matter where they get services, the standards will be consistently high