H.P. 1504 - L.D. 2007
Resolve, to Address the Crisis in Direct-care Staff in the Long-term Care System
Emergency preamble. Whereas, Acts and resolves of the Legislature do not become effective until 90 days after adjournment unless enacted as emergencies; and
Whereas, in one recent month alone, up to 299 state long-term care consumers did not receive needed home care services and hundreds more did not receive all the home care services they were scheduled to receive, due to shortages of unlicensed direct-care staff in the long-term care system, thus endangering these consumers' health and welfare; and
Whereas, a recent study of 1/4 to 1/3 of the private duty staffing providers in the State reported that each week more than 5,000 hours of needed health care service went unmet and nearly 200 new patients were turned down or placed on waiting lists because of staffing shortages and vacancies, most of which were for unlicensed direct-care staff positions; and
Whereas, in other segments of the long-term care system, including nursing facilities and residential care facilities, the shortage of unlicensed direct-care staff is equally acute and equally dangerous to long-term care consumers; and
Whereas, in the judgment of the Legislature, these facts create an emergency within the meaning of the Constitution of Maine and require the following legislation as immediately necessary for the preservation of the public peace, health and safety; now, therefore, be it
Sec. 1. Rulemaking; report on legislation. Resolved: That, by November 1, 2002, the Department of Human Services, the State Board of Nursing and the State Board of Education shall review their rules and applicable law regarding the training and certification of unlicensed direct-care staff in the long-term care system and the barriers to entering or retaining work in long-term care and shall report by December 15, 2002 to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters regarding such legislation as may be required to:
1. Eliminate inconsistencies in training curricula, experience requirements and certification requirements for unlicensed direct-care staff whose job duties are similar in scope and level of responsibility;
2. Allow unlicensed direct-care staff who have job duties that are similar in scope and level of responsibility to transfer their credentials more easily among different long-term care settings; and
3. Create a career ladder that encourages unlicensed direct-care staff to build upon their previous training and experience to progress to higher levels of responsibility and certification without duplicating or forfeiting investments already made in their education and careers.
For purposes of this resolve, "unlicensed direct-care staff" means personal care attendants, certified nursing assistants, certified residential medication aides, residential care specialists I, home health aides and unlicensed mental health workers; and be it further
Sec. 2. Public awareness campaign. Resolved: That the Department of Human Services shall convene a meeting of interested parties, including, but not limited to, the Maine Health Care Association, the Maine Hospital Association, the Home Care Alliance of Maine, the long-term care ombudsman program and the area agencies on aging, to work together to develop resources to conduct a public awareness campaign on career opportunities in long-term care. By December 15, 2002, the Department of Human Services shall report to the joint standing committee of the Legislature having jurisdiction over health and human services matters regarding the progress of the parties to the discussions under this section.
Emergency clause. In view of the emergency cited in the preamble, this resolve takes effect when approved.
Effective March 25, 2002.
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