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State Senate passes CNA medication proposal to ease nursing home worker shortage

nursing home
Brennan Linsley

The vote was unanimous, 39-0. A similar bill in the House will soon be up for a vote. If signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would take effect July 1.

A bill that would allow certified nursing assistants in nursing homes to give certain medications to patients was approved Tuesday by the Florida Senate.

The measure (SB 558) is an effort to address the ongoing worker shortage at Florida’s nursing homes.

The vote was unanimous, 39-0 vote. A similar bill (HB 351) in the House will soon be up for a vote.

If signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would take effect July 1.

According to the bill, CNAs must receive “qualified medication aide” certification before giving medications in a nursing home. They must also receive specific training and work as a CNA for at least a year.

QMAs would be limited to administering oral, transdermal, ophthalmic, otic, inhaled or topical prescription medication. They must also be supervised by a nurse when doing so.

The nursing home won’t be able to count QMA hours toward required staffing ratios. CNAs must provide a minimum of two hours of direct care per resident per day, and a weekly average of 3.6 hours of direct care per patient per day.

The bill sponsor is Sen. Colleen Burton, R-Lakeland, chair of the Health Policy Committee.

Originally founded in December 2006 as an independent grassroots publication dedicated to coverage of health issues in Florida, Health News Florida was acquired by WUSF Public Media in September 2012.