Two initiatives related to healthcare services introduced by Rep. Ben Frederick were considered in House legislative committees this week.
The first bill, House Bill 4908, would help encourage career advancement and retention of talent within the ranks of Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs) in Michigan’s nursing homes. Under the proposal, CNAs would be able to pursue a Medication Aide certification to assist in administering basic ongoing medication needs to nursing home patients under the supervision of a Registered Nurse (RN) or Licensed Nurse Practitioner (LPN).
Medication aides would be required to have served in that capacity for more than 2,000 hours, meet rigorous training standards, and complete nationally recognized coursework to ensure patient safety. More than 20 other states presently provide in law for this specialization.
“This change in Michigan law will help address longstanding problems with healthcare workforce shortages and turnover which have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Frederick said. “It will also provide CNAs with a pathway to grow professionally in their careers which will mean higher pay, expanded training and duties and a higher likelihood of continuing toward a nursing degree.”
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Frederick also noted that medication aide programs have resulted in improved medication error rates in other states while freeing up nurses for more mainline care. The bill was approved by the House Ways and Means Committee and now moves to be considered by the full House.
The second bill, House Bill 5446, would help make dental health care specialists more accessible to the public by recognizing additional dental specialties in Michigan’s Public Health Code. Including dental public health, oral and maxillofacial radiology, and dental anesthesiology in the list of specialty trainings through which a dentist may receive a health profession specialty field license, ensures these qualified professionals are recognized formally for their training specialization.
“This legislation ultimately allows other dentists to more easily find specialists when referring their patients for necessary oral health procedures and examinations and helps patients in underserved areas,” Frederick said.
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