CNA Training Lockout Fix Reintroduced in Congress

Bipartisan legislation to address a critical shortage of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) has been reintroduced in Congress. Reps. Ron Estes (R-Kansas) and Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia) introduced the Ensuring Seniors’ Access to Quality Care Act, which would allow nursing homes that have been forced to suspend in-house CNA training programs after receiving a certain level of penalties to resume those programs once quality standards are met. The bill is HR 3227.

Under current law, nursing homes that receive a threshold number of penalties for deficiencies in quality have a two-year mandatory suspension placed on in-house CNA certification programs. The Ensuring Seniors’ Access to Quality Care Act allows suspensions on in-house CNA education to be rescinded once deficiencies are assessed and found to be remedied while allowing for additional oversight of facilities, not exceeding the original two years.

A previous version of this bill was introduced by former Wisconsin Congressman Sean Duffy, who has since retired from Congress. WHCA/WiCAL discussed the importance of ending the arbitrary and punitive measure of 2-year prohibitions on CNA training due to certain penalties recently while meeting with members of Congress in Washington, DC. WHCA/WiCAL staff and members will again emphasize the importance of this policy change during AHCA/NCAL’s upcoming Congressional Briefing, held June 5-6.

“Amidst an historic shortage of CNAs, our efforts should be focused on bolstering the workforce and ensuring that the needs of our seniors living in nursing homes are met,” said Rep. Connolly. “That’s exactly what our bill will accomplish. I’m grateful to Rep. Estes for his leadership on this critical issue and I look forward to continuing to work together to get this important legislation signed into law.”

“We thank Reps. Estes and Connolly for reintroducing this important legislation as our sector continues to face a historic workforce crisis,” said Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association. “Nursing homes have experienced the worst job loss out of any health care sector during the pandemic, and now more than ever we need solutions like the Ensuring Seniors’ Access to Quality Care Act to help nursing homes vet and train crucially needed caregivers. With this legislation, we can help our nation’s seniors receive high-quality care delivered by highly trained and dedicated caregivers.