caregiver with resident
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There’s nothing the long-term care industry needs more right now than to get more people into its workforce. A new proposal that modifies nurse aide training lockouts is just what the sector needs, some providers believe. 

“Anything to allow us to get more people into our workforce will certainly be beneficial in our industry,” said Nate Glendening, administrator at Prairie Wind Villa Assisted Living and Phillips County Retirement Center in Phillipsburg, KS. “[This] seems like something that is going to allow people to get into our industry easier than the way it has been with these lockouts.”

Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Tim Scott (R-SC) on Monday reintroduced the Ensuring Seniors’ Access to Quality Care Act, which would give nursing home operators access to the National Practitioner Data Bank national background check system. 

However, providers are even more eagerly eyeing another piece of the legislation that would allow them to more quickly reinstate their certified nurse aide training program after being hit with a civil monetary penalty. Current federal regulations prohibit facilities that have received a CMP above $10,000 from conducting CNA training programs for two years.

Under the legislation, providers would be able to reinstate their CNA training program if they’ve corrected the deficiencies they were cited for; if the deficiency didn’t result in an immediate risk to patient safety and isn’t the result of abuse or neglect; and if the facility has not received a repeat deficiency related to direct patient harm in the preceding two-year period. 

LeadingAge hailed the proposal Monday and vowed to work with the senators to get it passed. 

Glendening told McKnight’s Long-Term Care News on Tuesday that Prairie Wind was under a CNA training lockout in 2017. He called the experience a “nightmare” that “basically handcuffed you.” 

The issue stemmed from a resident being transferred from the assisted living side to the community’s nursing home side. While in assisted living, the resident could leave more freely from that part and had access to the door code. However, the codes to both facilities were the same, so the resident was aware of it following the transfer. The facility received an Immediate Jeopardy citation despite there being no resident harm, he said. 

Prairie Wind typically holds a CNA training class once a year and gets about eight to 10 students. Its employee roster is between 50 and 60 workers. 

“We have the turnover, so in order to fill those positions, it’s imperative to be able to have the CNA training programs to be able to provide the care that folks deserve,” Glendening said. 

He explained that Prairie Wind is the sole provider of that type of program in the area, so for two years nobody in the surrounding communities had access to the courses. 

“Not only do organizations miss out but students miss out on that opportunity to go through that course and have a stable position [waiting],” he said. 

Now, “it’s even more crucial” to get people into the long-term care workforce, according to Glendening. He said he can’t imagine the struggles of an operator dealing with a CNA training lockout in this environment. 

“For somebody going through it right now, it would have to be detrimental,” he said. “Everybody is fighting for the same employees and if you can’t provide that training, then that’s just an automatic loss for your organization.”