Bill aims to address staffing shortage, create safer patient environments in health care settings

LANSING, Mich. — A bill introduced by Sen. Hoon-Yung Hopgood (D–Taylor), that would address staffing shortages and create safer patient environments in health care settings, today unanimously passed the Michigan Senate, 37-0.

Senate Bill 286 ensures that the training standards received by Certified Nurse Aides (CNAs) from other states cannot be less than those of Michigan. It also requires CNAs to pass a nurse aide training program and competency exam approved by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), or be in good standing in a bordering state — as verified through the state’s CNA registry.

“It’s critical that we address staffing shortages while ensuring patients receive care from qualified, experienced CNAs, and this legislation does that,” Sen. Hopgood said.

In 2001, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a report that found that low staffing levels would put nursing home residents at risk. SB 286 helps minimize this risk by allowing CNAs with licenses from neighboring states to work in Michigan under certain circumstances, and allows LARA to monitor and investigate any issues that arise in a health care setting.

“This bill will make sure that necessary safety measures are in place for the more than 39,000 residents living in Michigan nursing homes,” Sen. Hopgood said.

In Michigan, CNAs who work in long-term care facilities are regulated under a different set of guidelines than those who practice in hospitals and home-based settings. SB 286 addresses this issue by authorizing CNAs to practice in a variety of health care settings, and updates the statute so that all CNAs would be held to the same standards.

“With this bill, we have an opportunity to attract more qualified caregivers to provide better care for patients,” Sen. Hopgood said. “Michigan’s aging residents deserve quality, and safe, patient care.”