NA Hiring & Training Flexibility Supports a New Position - Basic Care Aide

The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) has issued guidance and clarification relating to nursing assistant training requirements, providing flexibility on hiring and training practices for caregivers in skilled nursing facilities during the COVID-19 emergency. Today we provide clarification on what this means for providers and share news of a new Basic Care Aide position we are creating with a FREE curriculum for members.  

This clarification from MDH is important, as it provides organization the ability to expedite training and focus on providing quality care to older adults.

Several weeks ago CMS issued a temporary blanket waiver of federal requirements at 42 CFR §483.35(d) (with the exception noted below), which requires that a facility may not employ anyone for longer than four months unless they met the training and certification requirements under §483.35(d). CMS waived these requirements to assist with potential staffing shortages seen with the COVID-19 pandemic. 

For the health and safety of residents, CMS did not waive §483.35(d)(1)(i), which requires any individual working as a nurse aide for more than four months be competent to provide nursing and nursing related services, or §483.35(c), which requires facilities to ensure that nurse aides are able to demonstrate competency in skills and techniques necessary to care for residents’ needs, as identified through resident assessments, and described in the plan of care.

Against that background, the MDH guidance memo provides key clarifications. MDH begins by noting that Minnesota has its own, state-level “four month rule” in Minn. Statutes §144A.61, but that this state requirement is effectively waived because it is identical to federal provisions waived by CMS. The Department then goes on to explain the federal waiver. The MDH clarification states that requirements are waived except for proving staff competency.

What do the waivers described by MDH mean for providers during this temporary COVID-19 emergency period?

  • §483.35(d)(1-4) Staff competency training does not need to be in the form of a state-approved Nursing Assistant Training Curriculum and staff do not need to sit for the nursing assistant training state exam
  • §483.35(d)(4) Registry verification. Staff do not need to be on the Minnesota State Nursing Assistant Registry
  • §483.35(d)(5) Multi-State registry verification. Staff from out of state do not need to be on the Minnesota State Nursing Assistant Registry
  • §483.35(d)(6) Required retraining. Staff with an expired Registry status can work once trained and competency tested, without re-gaining Registry status

Note: Paid Feeding Assistant Training Requirements Remain in Place

A separate guidance document issued by MDH notes that the CMS blanket waivers did not include the federal requirement of an 8-hour training for individuals working as a Paid Feeding Assistant.  MDH does not have the authority to waive that federal requirement, and so it remains in place, along with Minnesota’s own, state-level requirements for feeding assistants.

What does this mean? Basic Care Aide and other Training Solutions Available

Organizations now have the ability to expedite training and focus on providing quality care to older adults. LeadingAge Minnesota is launching an effort to help you though this process.

The Basic Care Aide curriculum will be FREE for members. The Basic Care Aide concept is a path to efficiently train displaced workers or redeploy current staff (like marketing or receptionists) in this crisis environment. It includes 9 hours of online training with 2 hours of skills and competency testing. Skills learned include infection prevention and control, emergency preparedness, abuse prevention, dementia care, bathroom assistance, mobility and more. Contact Jenna Kellerman for more details.

OnTrack Nursing Assistant Training is available to all members. Remember – after the emergency orders have lifted, organizations will need to resume the standard Nursing Assistant Training. If you are interested in implementing OnTrack, an online hybrid model of nursing assistant training, now is an excellent opportunity to expedite this pathway in your organization! The OnTrack curriculum can be used during the waiver period to train and competency test staff at the higher nursing assistant level. Contact Jenna Kellerman for more details.

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Next Basic Care Aide Registration Now Open

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