Washington, DC — On Monday, Councilmember Christina Henderson introduced two bills to address workforce challenges in the long-term care, skilled nursing facility, and home health fields, and to establish the profession of behavior analysts as a licensed healthcare profession.
The Direct Care Worker Amendment Act of 2023 would eliminate barriers to licensure and certification for direct care workers and will establish a new minimum wage for individuals providing direct support services at 120% of the District’s living wage. Specifically, it would replace the fragmented credential system for certified nurse assistants (CNAs) and home health aides with a unified credential for Direct Care Workers (DCWs). The legislation also encourages on-the-job training and registered apprenticeship programs for DCWs, and expands provider availability by allowing certified practitioners from Maryland and Virginia to practice as DCWs in the District. Additionally, the legislation lowers the age for DCWs to 16 years old, provided they are pursuing a high school diploma and practice in a facility setting with appropriate oversight.
“Overall, the streamlining of certification and licensures for DCWs and establishment of a minimum wage will move the District forward in addressing the long-term care workforce challenges,” Henderson noted. “As the population ages, the District must be prepared to support our residents that need assistance with their daily needs and want to age in place.”
The Direct Care Worker Amendment Act of 2023 was co-introduced by Councilmembers Charles Allen, Brianne K. Nadeau, Matthew Frumin, Janeese Lewis George, Zachary Parker, Brooke Pinto, and Trayon White, Sr.
The Behavioral Analyst Licensure Amendment Act of 2023 establishes the profession of Behavior Analyst (BAs) as a licensed healthcare profession. BAs specialize in assessing and addressing complex behavior issues, especially for children with autism spectrum disorder. BAs create and implement intervention plans for behavioral-related issues, and may provide therapy services in health care clinics, schools, homes, and businesses. Some BAs also specialize in trauma-based behavioral analysis, such as with clients with post-traumatic stress disorder.
“Behavioral Analysts are licensed in our neighboring jurisdictions, which provides a framework for ethical practice and quality assurance. By creating a regulatory structure in the District, we will not only enhance the professionalism of the field, but also expand the scope of practice for BAs, thus enabling them to address a broader range of behavioral and mental health challenges,” said Henderson. “Furthermore, this adjustment will facilitate insurance reimbursement for behavior analysis services and increase access to care, particularly for children in our Medicaid program who are facing autism-related challenges.”
The Behavioral Analyst Licensure Amendment Act of 2023 was co-introduced by Councilmembers Matthew Frumin, Zachary Parker, Robert White, Jr., and Trayon White, Sr.