HARRISBURG – The House of Representatives gave final approval today to a bill that would allow temporary nurse aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to receive certification to continue working in the field, according to the bill’s sponsor, Senator Judy Ward (R-30).
At the outset of the pandemic, Pennsylvania authorized individuals to be hired as nurse aides on a temporary basis after they completed an approved 8-hour online training and examination. Unfortunately, under current law these individuals will no longer be able to work as nurse aides once these temporary provisions expire.
Senate Bill 1268 would amend the law to deem temporary nurse aides hired during the COVID-19 emergency declaration to have satisfied the necessary training and testing requirements to be certified to work as a nurse aide on a permanent basis.
Candidates would be required to complete the online training program and competency assessment, complete a minimum of 80 hours working as a nurse aide under the supervision of a licensed or registered nurse, and competency by way of exam, certification or assessment.
“Temporary nurse aides served admirably and compassionately during the severe challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the on-the-job training they received should count for something,” Ward said. “In light of their tremendous contributions to the health and safety of our citizens, temporary nurse aides deserve a pathway to continue full-time employment after the pandemic is behind us.”
The bill was approved by both the Senate and the House of Representatives and was sent to the governor to be signed into law.
“LeadingAge PA thanks Senator Judy Ward for sponsoring SB 1268. Final passage of this bill by the general assembly today sends a beacon of relief to long-term care providers as it moves to Governor Wolf’s desk. This legislation allows temporary nurse aides to continue their selfless work of compassionately caring for the commonwealth’s most vulnerable citizens. We greatly appreciate Senate and House leadership for understanding the workforce crisis amplified by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Adam Marles, President and CEO Leading Age PA. “We are also grateful for swift and unanimous action by the Senate and House to assure thousands of healthcare heroes who stepped up during the pandemic are offered a path to permanent employment. These individuals have proven they can successfully provide temporary nurse aide care to nursing facility residents and have been true heroes during the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in the current surge.”
“Since the temporary nurse aide position was formally approved in the Commonwealth, nearly 3,000 Pennsylvanians have completed the training program, and hundreds have been hired to assist long-term care providers in their response to COVID-19. We are grateful to members of the Senate Education Committee for moving this legislation forward, and for Senator Judy Ward’s leadership in standing up for nursing homes in her district and throughout the state. If enacted, this bill will recognize the heroic and compassionate work these caregivers have performed since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and put them on a path to full-time employment as certified nurse aides,” said Zach Shamberg, President and CEO of Pennsylvania Health Care Association.
CONTACT: Cheryl Schriner (717) 787-5490