Care Providers Split On Initiative 1029 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Care Providers Split On Initiative 1029

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YAKIMA--Freedom is at the root of the debate on Initiative 1029.  Opponents say a person should be free to choose how much training their caretaker has.  But supporters say the ability to save someone's life should not be optional.

Barbara Capetillo works full-time taking care of her mom Rozo Blanche.   Capetillo used to work as a nurse's aid.  She needed all her experience last week when her mom had a diabetic seizure.

"Had I not had some training prior to the emergency, she'd be dead right now," Capetillo said.  "I knew to keep her airways clear, keep her head up, and get her to the hospital immediately."

Suzy Diaz works for Home Care of Washington.   They oppose Initiative 1029, saying its training requirements are vague and inferior to the current requirements.

"The training isn't accredited and it isn't an approved curriculum," Diaz said.  "[Caregivers are] potentially subjected to training that may not even pertain to the client they're caring for."

Opponents say Initiative 1029 will cost about $135 million over the next five years.   They think that is too expensive and say most caregivers do not need the extra 40 hours of training the initiative would mandate.

"These types of caregivers perform nonskilled care," Diaz said.  "They complete a lot of general duties, housekeeping, cooking, cleaning."

Capetillo and supporters contend that their job takes much more than that.

"Caregiving isn't just housekeeping and driving around," Capetillo said.  "It's taking care of the client and seeing that the clients needs are all met."

If passed, Initiative 1029 would not go into effect until 2010, but spending would start next year to hire people to train caregivers.