The Kansas Statehouse
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Legislation to increase the number of people eligible to work in Kansas long-term care facilities and hospitals is moving forward after receiving approval from House lawmakers this week.

Providers have applauded the legislation as much-needed help. They also challenged lawmakers to find a more permanent solution to address severe staffing shortages. 

The legislation, HB 2477, received nearly unanimous House approval Tuesday, with a 106-5 vote. It closely mirrors an emergency order issued by Gov. Laura Kelly (R) in early January that allows the issuance of a temporary aide authorization to non-certified staff who have received minimum training within a nursing facility. It also allows temporary aides to provide direct care for residents in nursing homes.

Such measures are being protested by consumers nationally, with some groups arguing that relaxed training standards are threatening quality of care. 

In Kansas, the hope is that legislation will free certified staff to focus on residents with more care needs.

“HB 2477 is not the panacea that will solve all of our workforce needs,” Linda MowBray, president and CEO of the Kansas Health Care Association/Kansas Center for Assisted Living, said while testifying before House lawmakers last week.

“Instead, it is a much-needed safety net, which will allow providers to work together with their associations, agencies, the legislature and the governor’s office to find and create more permanent solutions to our staffing crisis,” she added. 

The legislation has since been referred to the state Senate’s Judiciary Committee. No action has been taken there yet.