Bill allowing CNAs to train as 'medication aids' approved by Florida House
The legislation, which unanimously passed the state Senate last month, would allow certified nursing assistants to become trained as “qualified medication aides.”
The Florida House on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that would allow trained certified nursing assistants to provide medications to nursing home residents.
The bill (SB 558), which unanimously passed the Senate last month, would allow certified nursing assistants to become trained as “qualified medication aides.”
They could then administer what supporters have described as “routine” medications to nursing home residents, freeing up registered nurses to provide other needed care.
Qualified medication aides could also perform tasks such as checking residents’ blood glucose levels.
The proposal is an effort to address the ongoing worker shortage at Florida’s nursing homes. It would also create a career path for CNAs to get more training.
CNAs seeking to qualify would need to get specified training and must have worked as a CNA for at least a year.
The medical aids 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.
A nursing home won’t be able to count qualified medical aid 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.
Several groups have signaled support of the bill, including Leading Age Florida, AARP and the Florida Health Care Association, the state’s largest nursing home industry organization.
If signed by Gov. Ron DeSantis, it would take effect July 1.
Information from WFSU's Regan McCarthy was used in this report.