Ron DeSantis
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis Credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Florida nursing homes now have more staffing flexibility after Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) signed a measure Wednesday that “modernizes [the state’s] outdated staffing requirements.” 

“This legislation will bring more individualized, comprehensive care to residents while easing the burdens posed by significant staffing challenges,” Emmett Reed, CEO of the Florida Health Care Association, said in a statement. 

His comments came after DeSantis signed HB 1239 into law, following weeks of uncertainty. The measure, which was supported heavily by provider advocates in the state, reduces the minimum number of hours of direct care per resident day provided by CNAs to 2. It also accounts for time other workers, including therapists, spend with residents.

Florida currently requires certified nursing assistants in the Sunshine State to provide a minimum of 2.5 hours of direct care per resident/patient day. CNAs and licensed nurses also are required to provide a weekly average of 3.6 hours of direct care per resident/patient per day.

The revised staffing requirements originally passed the Florida legislature in early March.

FHCA said the measure “will allow the work of highly trained caregivers, such as mental health counselors and respiratory therapists, to help satisfy direct care requirements in long term care facilities. This will enable residents to receive the more personalized care they need.”