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House of Representatives
Session of 2019 - 2020 Regular Session


Posted: July 30, 2020 12:19 PM
From: Representative Curtis G. Sonney
To: All House members
Subject: Temporary Nurse Aide Transition to Certified Nurse Aide during COVID-19
I am introducing companion legislation to Senator Ward’s, which would enable Temporary Nurse Aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to transition to Certified Nurse Aides.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) suspended federal regulatory and statutory provisions to assist in the hiring of nurse aides. In accordance with the federal waiver, Pennsylvania authorized individuals seeking to be hired as nurse aides to complete an approved 8-hour online training and successfully pass the 50-question accompanying examination.
While this has resulted in many Temporary Nurse Aides (TNAs) being hired, these individuals will have to leave their job once the waivers expire because they will not be deemed qualified or eligible for the State Nurse Aide Registry, which is necessary for all nurse aides to work in a long-term care facility. Current law requires an individual to successfully complete a State-approved training and evaluation program in order to be employed in a skilled nursing facility. In Pennsylvania, approved programs consist of 120-hours of in-class and clinical training as well as a two-part exam.
This measure would amend current state law to allow TNA’s hired during the declared emergency to be deemed to satisfy the requirement of completing a nurse aid training and competency evaluation program and placed on the Certified Nurse Aide Registry if they meet a certain level of training, testing and experience. The TNA must meet all the following: 1) successfully complete a training program and competency assessment authorized under the CMS waiver, including online training and on-line examination; 2) complete a minimum of 80 hours working as a TNA under the supervision of a licensed or registered nurse and; 3) establish competency by successful completion of the state nurse aide exam, certification by a site administrator as part of an approved apprenticeship program, or through an assessment by the hiring entity in all areas of required nurse aid training set forth in federal rules.
The legislation would provide a path to full-time employment as a certified nurse aide for those who have served admirably and compassionately as a nurse aide during the severe challenges of caring for our most vulnerable during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Pennsylvania Health Care Association and LeadingAge PA support this measure.
Please join me in cosponsoring this legislation to amend the State-approved certified nurse aide training program to recognize the training and experience of TNAs to transition them to placement on the State’s Nurse Aide Registry, during COVID-19.

Introduced as HB2830