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HCAF's 2020 Florida Legislature Policy Priority Explained

Tuesday, February 4, 2020   (0 Comments)
Posted by: Kyle Simon

HCAF's top legislative priority to expand duties for home health aides and certified nursing assistants (CNAs) has been introduced in the Florida Legislature. Senate Bill (SB) 1676/House Bill (HB) 7053, introduced by Senator Ben Albritton (R-Bartow) and Representative Josie Tomkow (R-Auburndale) 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 bill calls for minimum training requirements for aides and CNAs in order to provide these expanded services, specifically an initial six-hour training course by the home health agency and a two-hour inservice training in medication administration and medication error prevention. A registered nurse would not be permitted to delegate the administration of any controlled substance listed in Schedule II, Schedule III, or Schedule IV. Additionally, if responsibilities are delegated to a CNA or home health aide who is not qualified by training, experience, certification, or licensure, the registered nurse may be subject to denial of a license or disciplinary action.

Excellence in Home Health Program

SB 1676/HB 7053 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.

Direct Care Workforce Survey

SB 1676/HB 7053 calls for the Agency for Health Care Administration (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/HB 7053 requires AHCA to make public the results of the surveys. Data reported to AHCA will be updated monthly for policy maker and stakeholder analysis in a "big picture" effort to address the state's health care worker shortage.

Next Steps & How You Can Take Action

HCAF is advocating for passage of this legislation before the Florida Legislature adjourns the 60-day legislative session in March.

SB 1676 unanimously passed the Senate Health Policy Committee (10-0) on February 4. Both versions of the bill each have two remaining committee hearings in their respective chambers before the full Senate and House can debate on and decide whether to advance the legislation to the Governor for final approval.

Please lend your voice to HCAF advocacy efforts by urging your Senator and Representative to support SB 1676/HB 7063.

Click here to take action online using HCAF's Legislative Action Center!

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