Starting in 2021, about 250 IPs in Lewis, Mason, and Thurston counties will be transitioning to a “Consumer-Directed Employer” (CDE) as part of the pilot. This page is for IPs who have been selected by DSHS to begin this transition on September 1, 2021. You should have already received communications from DSHS and CDWA informing you of your participation in this pilot group. These steps must be completed between September 1 and 24, 2021 to make sure you are paid on time.

How you and your client can begin the Transition to Consumer Direct WA (CDWA) now

More can be found at ConsumerDirectWA.com/Resources.

  1. Confirm your access to the DirectMyCare web portal. You should have received an email from CDWA at InfoCDWA@ConsumerDirectCare.com.  That email contains your personalized CDWA login link. If you DID NOT get that email call CDWA at 866-214-9899.  
  2. Complete the questions.
  3. Complete your hiring documents. To do this, you will need:
    1. Your bank account number and bank or credit union routing number, if you are choosing to be paid via direct deposit. These can be found on your checks, as in this example.
    2. Your current driver’s license and proof of insurance, if you drive your Client. 
    3. Your I-9 documents to confirm you are eligible to work in the United States.  A comprehensive list of documents can be found here and proof can include a U.S. passport or a permanent resident card along with other documents. 
  4. Complete your paid 2-hour CDWA employment orientation. Through CDWA’s employment portal you will get links to your paid two-hour employment orientation.

Get Help and Contact CDWA

If you need help or have questions, contact CDWA at:

Email: InfoCDWA@ConsumerDirectCare.com  
Toll-Free Phone Number: 866-214-9899  
Website:ConsumerDirectWA.com  

Multiple live questions and help sessions will be held online to help IPs in this pilot phase. Go to CDWA’s website and register for the CDWA Pilot: Hiring Support Session webinars.

General topic webinars, such as Client Responsibility, Payroll Schedule Change and Work Week Limits, can be registered for here. All webinar recordings can be found here.

For more information on the move to CDWA, including a FAQ, please visit SEIU775.org/CDWA.

More Info:

DSHS has selected Consumer Direct of Washington (CDWA) to be the Consumer-Directed Employer. While consumers (e.g., clients) will still direct the daily tasks of IPs as required by the CARE Plan, CDWA will replace the State of Washington as the legal employer for IPs.  

As the COVID-19 Delta variant surges in Washington state, so have hospitalizations and COVID-19 cases, making the need for vaccinations more critical. As a result, Governor Inslee announced today that state employees and healthcare workers will be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18.

Does this mandate impact you?

  • Nursing Home workers: The vaccine mandate applies to all nursing home workers
  • Individual Providers (IPs): Exempt from mandate
  • Agency Providers (APs): Exempt from mandate

The mandate also includes exemptions for health and religious reasons.

Nursing Home workers — This mandate requires that you are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 by October 18, 2021. To meet this requirement, you will need to receive your first Moderna shot by September 13, or Pfizer shot by September 28, in order to have your second Pfizer or Moderna shot by October 4. The single shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine would need to be received by October 4. All three shots require 2 weeks after your final dose to be considered fully vaccinated.

As members of our Union, and because of this new mandate, we will be bargaining with our nursing homes on the impacts of this new requirement on caregivers because we know we have the right to bargain any change to our jobs. Watch your email for updates as they become available.

Though IPs and APs are exempt in this mandate, our Union supports equitable efforts to protect workers from COVID-19. This includes vaccines, which have been scientifically proven to significantly reduce the risk of catching, sharing, and dying from this virus. And, based on research by the SEIU 775 Benefits Group, we believe that more than 70% of home care workers have received at least one shot against COVID-19, compared to the statewide average of 58%. This is because we have been caring for the most vulnerable throughout this entire pandemic, whether at home or in nursing homes, and we fought to be included in the first priority group for these vaccines to keep us all of us – ourselves, our families, or clients, our residents – safe.

COVID-19 vaccines are free, and insurance is not required to receive the vaccine.

Here is how anyone 12 years and older can get vaccinated:

  • By phone or text. Call the DOH Statewide Vaccine Finder phone line at 1-800-525-0127 or 833-VAX-HELP, then press # and 1 for English, 2 for Spanish, and 3 for all other languages. Text your zip code to GETVAX (438829) or VACUNA (822862) to find a vaccine provider near you.
  • Online. You can look online for an appointment at the DOH vaccine locator.
  • At Home. If you or your client are not able to leave home for a vaccine, you can request Homebound Vaccination Services. To do so:

Directions on ordering PPE can be found here.

Together, we can help to keep our clients, residents, families, and ourselves safer.

MEDIA ADVISORY: Tuesday, July 13, 2021
Home Care Workers Across Washington Rally for Permanent Higher Wages, Long Term Care

As Congress mulls new round of investments, caregivers call for permanent higher wages and investment in home care for older adults and people with disabilities.

SEATTLE, WA — On Tuesday, July 13, SEIU 775 home care workers and local senior and disability advocates will rally across Washington State to urge the White House and Congress to invest in the nation’s care economy with the American Jobs Plan. Nine events in Washington, including one in downtown Seattle, join a nationwide call to action spanning 24 cities.

The American Jobs Plan will transform the lives of workers across the economy. By making a historic investment in the essential healthcare work of home care, the American Jobs Plan will fuel a more equitable economic recovery, lift up the home care workforce – the national majority of which are Black women, Indigenous women, women of color and immigrant women – and be a huge step towards ensuring caregivers get the respect they deserve.

“Caregivers provide essential healthcare to some of Washington’s most vulnerable seniors and people with disabilities. Currently, where someone lives dictates their access to essential health care services. With more than 10,000 people turning 65 every day in America — and tens of millions more in need of care every day — there is no time to lose. We need to pass the American Jobs Plan.” said Becky Fernandez, caregiver and SEIU 775 member from Lacey, WA.

“Caregivers should always make a living wage, not just during a pandemic. We are lifelines for our clients and do the essential work of keeping vulnerable people home and safe,” said Sterling Harders, SEIU 775 President. “We need to invest in caregivers and make long-term care a sustainable profession.”

Learn more about how home care investments can address critical needs in Washington State at https://seiu775.org/hazardpayreport/.

Events across Washington State on July 13, 2021:
Everett: 7:30 a.m. at the corner of Summit Ave and 23rd St
Federal Way: 5 p.m. at the corner of S 320th St and Pacific Highway S
Olympia: 5 p.m. at the Boulevard overpass over I-5
Vancouver: 5 p.m. at 11502 SE Mill Plain Blvd
Seattle: 5:30 p.m. Boren Ave and Pine St
Spokane: 5:30 p.m. at the corner of Division St and Ruby St
Bremerton: 6 p.m. at W Loxie Eagan Blvd and S National Blvd
Tacoma: 6 p.m. at the corner of Sprague & Division
Yakima: 6 p.m. at 1421 W Nob Hill Blvd

Members of the media are encouraged to RSVP to Allison Tabiando, allison.tabiando@seiu775.org, 206.538.5784.

Homecare is Healthcare Report

Read the full report here.

Washington’s home care workers are a vital part of our State’s pandemic response. COVID-19 has sickened and led to the deaths of thousands of older adults and essential workers, and has disproportionately impacted low-wage workers, people whose primary language is not English, and Black, Indigenous and people of color. Home care workers are highly trained healthcare professionals who have helped protect their clients from exposure to COVID-19. 

Home care workers support medically fragile elders and people with disabilities in their homes, where people are safest during a pandemic. They are essential, low-wage workers who risk their own health and economic stability to protect their clients. Both caregivers and their clients are disproportionately immigrants, people whose primary language is not English, and Black, Indigenous and people of color. Even before the pandemic and its economic fallout, these communities already experienced higher rates of poverty and economic hardship, and, during the pandemic, have faced more severe health consequences. 

The following report examines the role of the Medicaid Home Care Program in promoting the health of Washington residents, equity among communities, and sustainability of state systems and safety nets. The analysis is based on academic and scientific literature, data from state agencies like the Department of Health, and interviews we conducted in 2020 with home care workers and clients across the state. We conclude: 

1. Home care workers reduce the spread of COVID-19. 

Staying home is the most powerful action any of us can do to reduce the spread of the virus. Home care workers help clients do this. 

  • Quality, skilled home care allows elders and people with disabilities to stay out of residential care facilities where more than 40% of the deaths due to COVID-19 in the U.S. have taken place. 
  • Caregivers are also coming up with creative ways to ensure their clients can leave their residence as little as possible, to decrease their exposure to the disease. They acquire clients’ basic needs, such as prescriptions, groceries from the store or food bank, and, during the pandemic, supplies like hand sanitizer and masks. 
  • Caregivers’ training includes knowledge of infection control protocol and caregivers’ practices with their clients demonstrate the seriousness with which they take their responsibility to protect their clients. 

2. Caregivers provide care at great risk to themselves. 

Compared to the general population, caregivers in Washington are more likely to experience COVID-19 and are more likely to live on the brink of crises, like food insecurity or homelessness. 

  • More than twice as many caregivers in Washington tested for COVID-19 were found to be positive, compared to people tested in the general population. 
  • Medicaid home care employment keeps caregivers afloat economically. However, low wages mean that many caregivers still depend on state and community safety nets and cope with precarious household finances. 

3. Investing in home care is an investment in Black, Indigenous and communities of color, communities most impacted by economic hardship and COVID-19. 

  • Black, Indigenous and people of color are at higher risk of exposure to and serious health consequences from COVID-19. Underlying health conditions, caused by factors like inequity in access to healthcare, are compounded by inequities in access to timely COVID-19 testing and care. 
  • People whose primary language is not English have also been more likely to contract COVID-19 and need hospitalization. Caregivers who speak the same language as the client become essential messengers of public health information and mitigate the risks of exposure. 
  • Black, Indigenous and communities of color in Washington experience poverty at higher rates than White communities. 
  • Medicaid home care is a financial lifeline for caregivers and clients. This is especially true for Parent Providers and other family caregivers who are limited in their ability to secure other employment because they are responsible for the well-being of their clients. 

4. A quality home care program reduces strain on hospitals, mental health care systems, criminal justice systems, emergency services, and state social safety nets. 

  • Caregivers have extensive training in client health and support. Through daily tasks like reducing client falls and reminding clients to take medications and eat healthy meals, caregivers maintain clients’ health and well-being. These efforts slow the decline of clients’ conditions and reduce their need for expensive emergency services and hospitalization. 
  • When people with mental or behavioral health needs have an in-home caregiver, they are less likely to experience relapses that could prompt more expensive medical responses, such as hospitalization. It also prevents increased criminalization and the costs, to the state and the individual, of courts, incarceration and re-entry. 
  • Medicaid home care is essential for the well-being and health of caregivers and their families. Health insurance allows caregivers to access care when they need it, before their health needs become an expensive emergency. Paid caregiving also reduces caregivers’ reliance on safety nets like unemployment, food assistance, housing assistance, and public health insurance. 

When the Medicaid Home Care Program is strong, providing quality care and livable jobs, it protects some of the communities hardest hit by COVID-19: elders, people with disabilities, Black, Indigenous and people of color, immigrants and people whose primary language is not English. 

Investing in home care saves the State money, by reducing institutionalization, hospitalization, and reliance on other systems and safety nets. Moreover, it saves and improves lives, keeping people most at risk of dying from COVID-19 away from possible exposure, reducing declines or relapses in clients’ conditions, and providing wages and benefits that increase caregivers’ access to basic needs for themselves and their families. 

As we work to keep our state’s most vulnerable residents safe and reduce inequities in health and well-being, Washington must continue to invest in this highly qualified workforce through wages and benefits that ensure clients receive the care they need and caregivers are able to sustain themselves in their essential work. 

Read the full report here.

Letter to the Editor by SEIU 775 Caregiver, Barb McQueen

I’ve been an in-home caregiver since I was 17 years old, and I am now past the age when most people retire. At the beginning of this pandemic, our lawmakers called caregivers like me essential, and across the state we worked to keep our clients out of hospitals overrun with COVID-19 patients. And while we do this essential work, we’re also the ones who are paying outrageous taxes; way more than our fair share compared to our wealthy neighbors.  

I’ve kept working, caring for my client who also lives in Sequim, all through this pandemic. I have to keep working just to make my bills every month, all while also paying 5 times more of my income in taxes than the mega-wealthy in our state. It’s these few individuals in our state who’ve profited extraordinarily during the pandemic and its long past time they paid their fair share as those of us who worry about buying groceries or paying for a medication.   

I thank Senator Kevin Van De Wege for supporting the working people of Sequim, like me, by voting to add a capital gains tax on extraordinary profits (SB 5096) and strongly urge Representatives Mike Chapman and Steve Tharinger to pass it also. We deserve an economy and a tax system which works for everyone, not just the wealthy. 

Read in the Peninsula Daily News

Letter to the Editor by SEIU 775 Caregiver Julie Sparkman

I was drawn to Spokane for of its hometown feel and because I thought it was a place where a positive life was possible. Although I’ve never had any negative interactions with our police, I am shocked to hear that Spokane has one of the deadliest police forces in the country, ranking third nationally in the rate of police killings by population. (https://mappingpoliceviolence.org/compare-police-departments)

Our Legislature is discussing bills right now that would stop police forces from buying and using dangerous and costly military equipment, like tanks and shoulder rockets (ESHB 1054). I strongly urge Sen. Jeff Holy and Rep. Mike Volz and Rep. Jenny Graham to support this and other common-sense police accountability bills including HB 1310, HB 1267 and SB 5051.

I am a caregiver for two local young people with autism and this year more than any, they could use these funds to get the additional care that’s out of reach. We have serious needs in Spokane for housing, and people are lined up for the food banks. Our taxes should go to give people hope, rather than oppress and endanger them.

I’ve never seen a militarized police force that didn’t use their weapons. Even if I was never personally harmed, I don’t want to support a community that doesn’t help and keep safe all its members. Spokane has the potential to be exactly what it presents itself to be; and that starts with a police force that is accountable to our community.

Read in the Spokesman-Review

Vicki Bickford, SEIU 775 Caregiver, Letter to the Editor in The Columbian

I’m a long-term caregiver, I’m happy to help everyone in our community by paying taxes and I’ve donated more than ever during this pandemic. At the same time, the ultra-wealthy have profited to an unimaginable level from the pandemic, while paying only a fraction of what we do toward our safety net.

We could have that strong community again if everyone in Washington paid their share in taxes. But right now, our taxes are very unfair, with working people like us paying 17 percent of our income in state and local taxes, while the super wealthy only pay 3 percent. Our state’s upside-down tax system is beyond broken. The poor and middle classes shoulder too much of the burden while the rich ignore all the suffering. 

Our broken tax system started long before the pandemic. We must stop sacrificing people, and the safety net we rely on, so that the wealthy can get wealthier. 

One first step is for our lawmakers, Sen. Annette Cleveland and Reps. Sharon Wylie and Monica Stonier, to support the Senate’s capital gains tax (SB 5096). As a long-term caregiver, I urge everyone to make sure the wealthy pay their share of our recovery.

Read the letter in The Columbian

During the overnight shift at a Bellingham nursing home, residents have started dropping by the nurses station again.

Some are in pain from a recent procedure, or “sundowning,” a common symptom of dementia marked by confusion and restlessness as night falls. Others are night owls, or anxious from not seeing family members for so long. Still more stop by for no reason at all — everyone eventually has a sleepless night.

Shelly Hughes, a certified nursing assistant at North Cascades Health and Rehab, has vitals to take and supply closets to stock. But she is happy to see people start to come out from their rooms. She must guide them back — but this is progress. For nearly a year, the station has been quiet, as COVID-19 shuttered so much of life inside the facility and out.

Nursing homes have absorbed so many of the cruel blows of the pandemic. Long-term care facilities, which include nursing homes, assisted-living facilities and adult family homes, account for half the state’s now-almost 5,000 deaths, since the very first outbreaks in the U.S., in the Seattle area. Those rightly stoked fears about the virulent spread of the new disease and the vulnerability of so many seniors, often frail, living so close together.

“A year ago, being at work, it was scary and you never knew what you were coming into,” Hughes said. “You came in, and thought ‘OK, is this the day I find out we have an outbreak? Am I going to show up and be the only person here?’”

Read more at The Seattle Times

OpEd by Gerry Knight, Veteran, covid-19 survivor, and retired caregiver. He lives in Black Eagle with his wife.  

Great Falls, MT — Senator (Jon) Tester and I go way back – I know he understands that wages for working people is the same as weather for a farmer. Lousy income is like lousy weather, and without a sustainable $15-hour minimum wage, Montanans are in a lousy situation.  

My wife and I moved with the Air Force to Montana in 1988. In 1992 we relocated to Black Eagle because it’s a peaceable, comfortable community where we are treated more as a friend than a stranger. It’s a place where we care about each other– because just like in the military when one member is having a hard time, we are here to support each other. 

For many years, I worked as an in-home caregiver, as have both my wife and daughter.  Late this past year I came down with COVID.  Caregivers like me across the state put ourselves at risk to keep vulnerable Montanans safe in their own homes.   Yet too many of us still make under $15 – it’s not right.  

My wife still works, and like most people in our community, she only makes approximately $10 an hour. I worry about people in my community who are merely existing at these wages, juggling bills with nothing to fall back on, rather than thriving.  Having a more sustainable wage of $15 an hour would help tremendously. It is about getting by, not getting ahead. 

I am thankful that Senator Tester has always had a big heart for veterans and that he was able to establish the Veteran Support Center in Great Falls. A lot of veterans live in our community and I’ve been going there for assistance periodically.  

 A $15 an hour minimum wage would help Veterans and everyday Montanans. In 2017, the Economic Policy Institute estimated that 1 in 5 veterans nationally would also benefit from a higher minimum wage.  

Senator Tester has an opportunity to help not just caregivers and Veterans, but so many families in Montana by supporting a $15 an hour minimum wage. Raising the minimum wage could mean an average of $233 more a month for affected workers in Montana, according to a recent report from the Economic Policy Institute. This wouldn’t put money in the bank, but it would lower our stress if we had a little bit to fall back on. If we need repairs to our home or truck, we could meet the challenge.  

As a former small business owner, I believe this would be good for business. With a higher wage, employees are more apt to stay on the job, with more devotion to the company as a higher quality employee. The Economic Policy Institute report also shows that raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour would help 25% of 25–54-year-old workers and 23% of workers over 55 in Montana. This would be a boon to all Montana workers, not just recent high school graduates working entry-level jobs. With these wages folks are more apt to go out to do things, like enjoy a meal at a local restaurant. That in turn helps those local, small businesses. Families could purchase higher quality groceries at the local store rather than fast food that is cheap and bad for your heart. Flourishment is what I call it.  

A sustainable $15-hour minimum wage is the right thing to do for caregivers and other essential workers keeping us safe in the pandemic.  It’s the right thing to do for Veterans that sacrificed for our country.  It’s the right thing to do for Montana’s economy.  It is the soil from which a community grows, allowing us to weather storms when they happen and grow during the good times.  

 Nursing-home workers are urging lawmakers in Olympia not to make funding cuts to their facilities.

Funding for Washington state nursing homes has fallen short by more than $100 million, according to the state Department of Social and Health Services. Inside nursing homes, the lack of funds is apparent to workers.

Sherylon Hughes, a certified nurse’s aide at a facility in Bellingham and an executive board member of Service Employees International Union Local 775, said they need more cash, not less.

“My employers and the other operators of these homes are in dire straits right now,” Hughes asserted. “I fear that my building may close. I worry about other buildings closing, and I feel that’s what’s on the horizon if we don’t get some better funding in Washington state.”

Read more at Public News Service.