Bloomberg Law: Aides’ Training Waiver Must End for Nursing Home Safety, CMS Told (December 10, 2021)
Advocates for nursing home residents say it’s past time for the Biden administration to reinstate mandatory federal training requirements for nursing aides who handle the bulk of direct patient care at the facilities.
To ensure sufficient staffing levels at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Trump administration waived a rule that limited employment for temporary nursing aides to four months at Medicare- and Medicaid-certified facilities unless they completed state-approved training of at least 75 hours. In April 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services updated the guidance, to say “that states evaluate their NATCEP [Nurse Aide Training and Competency Evaluation Program] and consider allowing some of the time worked by the nurse aides during the public health emergency to count toward the 75-hour training requirement.”
The CMA and other advocacy groups fear that unless the CMS restores the pre-pandemic training requirements, care of vulnerable residents, as well as the safety of nursing assistants who already endure high on-the-job injury rates, could be at risk. They’ve been asking CMS for action since February.
“You’re not just talking about helping people get in a wheelchair and putting a plate in front of them,” said Eric Carlson, directing attorney at Justice in Aging. “It’s significantly more complicated than that and the training requirements reflect the difficulty of the job.”