In addition to providing easier access to background information, this new legislation enables facilities to conduct CNA training despite deficiencies.
Efforts to protect older Americans and ensure a qualified, capable post-acute and long-term care (PALTC) workforce are gaining traction in Congress moving into 2020. Just last week, Senators Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Scott (R-SC) introduced the Ensuring Seniors Access to Quality Care Act. This is designed to help senior living centers caring for aging adults to better screen, hire, and retain quality staff.
In addition to providing nursing home owners/operators with access to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), the bill amends restrictive regulations that bar certain senior living facilities from conducting training programs for in-house Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) for a two-year period after a facility is found to have deficiencies, such as poor conditions or patient safety violations. Under current regulatory mandates, senior living facilities that receive a civil monetary penalty (CMP) over $10,000 are automatically prohibited from providing this training.
The bill will allow facilities to reinstate their CNA training program if:
- The facility has corrected the deficiency for which the CMP was assessed.
- The deficiency for which the CMP was assessed did not result in an immediate risk to patient safety and is not the result of patient harm resulting from abuse or neglect.
- The facility has not received a repeat deficiency related to direct patient harm in the preceding two-year period.
According to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living, “This bill does two important things. First, it will help ensure that long-term care providers have the ability to provide training for CNAs. Just as important, it will allow skilled nursing facilities to access the National Practitioner Data Bank, providing a better way to conduct background checks on potential employees.” Katie Sloan, LeadingAge president and CEO, further observed, “We have for years advocated for changes to the training lockout mandated under the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. This legislation…offers a much-needed solution to help alleviate this severe workforce shortage in long-term care. CNAs, who provide direct care to residents, are the backbone of every nursing home’s team.”
This legislation is similar to the House bill, Nursing Home Workforce Quality Act (H.R. 4468), introduced in September by Representatives Dwight Evans (D-PA) and Ron Estes (R-KS). It also echoes some of the components of the Promote Responsible Oversight & Targeted Employee Background Check Transparency for Seniors (PROTECTS) Act (S. 2574), introduced in the Senate earlier this year.