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HCAF's Key Legislative Priority Introduced in Florida Senate

Monday, January 13, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kyle Simon

As the 2020 Florida Legislative Session kicks off, HCAF's top legislative priority to expand duties for home health aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) has been introduced in the Florida Senate. Senate Bill (SB) 1676, introduced by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) proposes expanding duties to these professionals if a licensed home health agency authorizes a registered nurse to delegate tasks, including: medication administration; routine preventative skin care; basic wound care; and, assistance with intermittent positive pressure breathing treatments and nebulizer treatments.

The legislation also requires training requirements for aides and CNAs to provide these expanded services, specifically an initial six-hour training course by the home health agency and a two-hour inservice training in medicaid administration and medication error prevention.

Additionally, SB 1676 proposes the creation of the Excellence in Home Health Program, for the purpose of awarding program designations to home health agencies that meet certain criteria. Specifically, agencies must meet standards relating to:

  • Patient satisfaction;
  • Patients requiring emergency care for wound infections;
  • Patients admitted or readmitted to an acute care hospital;
  • Patient improvement in the activities of daily living;
  • Employee satisfaction;
  • Quality of employee training; and,
  • Employee retention rates.

A home health agency must be actively licensed and in operation for at least 24 months to apply for this designation.

Another provision of the bill would require the Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA) to develop and maintain a voluntary Home Care Services Registry, which would collect information from home care workers to be published on AHCA's website.

Finally, SB 1676 calls for AHCA to create a direct care workforce survey of home health agencies that would go into effect beginning January 1, 2021. The survey requires home health agencies, nurse registries, homemaker/companion service providers, nursing homes, and assisted living facilities to report the following information at license renewal:

  • The number of direct care workers employed by the licensee;
  • The turnover and vacancy rates of direct care workers and contributing factors to these rates;
  • The average employee wage for each category of direct care worker;
  • Employment benefits for direct care workers and the average cost of such benefits to the employer and the employee; and,
  • Type and availability of training for direct care workers.

SB 1676 requires AHCA to continually analyze the results of the surveys to address the state's caregiver shortage and publish the results on its website with monthly updates.

HCAF will advocate for passage of the bill and the House companion bill, which has not yet been introduced in the House of Representatives, at the annual Home Care Day on January 29, 2020 in Tallahassee. Click here for more information and to register, and stay tuned for ways to advocate for this legislation online.

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