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Nursing home residents will get less time with CNAs under a law signed by DeSantis

The hands of a senior citizen are in focus in the foreground, a person is out of focus in the background.
Eduardo Barrios

Gov. Ron DeSantis has okayed a bill that reduces the minimum daily hours a nursing home resident must receive care from Certified Nursing Assistants, or CNAs. While critics say the move could risk the state’s most vulnerable residents, supporters say nursing homes need more flexibility to navigate a staffing shortage exacerbated by the pandemic.

“My members have said often, if there were CNAs out there to hire, you better believe we would be hiring them. We just can’t find them. And the result is that our members are now taking beds offline because they simply can’t staff them. We have a member with a little bit north of 700 beds that has taken 200 beds offline because they just don’t have the staff to care for the residents who would be in those beds," says Steve Bahmer who heads Leading Age Florida—a group that advocates for mostly non-profit long term care facilities.

Under the new law, CNAs must provide a daily average of at least two hours of direct care to each resident. That’s 30 minutes less than the old rule, but the AARP points out it amounts to a 20 percent reduction in time residents will spend with the people who take care of their basic daily needs like eating and bathing.

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Regan McCarthy is the Assistant News Director for WFSU Public Media. Before coming to Tallahassee, Regan graduated with honors from Indiana University’s Ernie Pyle School of Journalism. She worked for several years for NPR member station WFIU in Bloomington, Ind., where she covered local and state government and produced feature and community stories.

Phone: (850) 645-6090 | rmccarthy@fsu.edu

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