NH emergency order allows temporary nursing assistant licenses for EMTs
The order permits EMTs and military members with medical training to apply for temporary licenses to assist in nursing homes and other long-term care facilities in the state
The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester
CONCORD, N.H. — Emergency medical technicians and military members whose training has equipped them for work in nursing homes can work in long-term care facilities with temporary licenses, after Gov. Chris Sununu signed an emergency order Thursday.
Military members with certain specialty codes indicating medical training, who have used that training in the last three years, can apply for temporary nursing assistant licenses through the state Board of Nursing. Emergency medical technicians can apply for temporary nursing assistant licenses, too.
Nursing homes and other long-term care facilities have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and industry leaders say there are not enough staff in many facilities.
"We're in a real battle, and we need all the troops we can get until we get everyone vaccinated," Brendan Williams president and CEO of the New Hampshire Health Care Association, a trade group for nonprofit nursing homes, said in a statement Friday.
New Hampshire has had a shortage of nursing home caregivers since before the pandemic, and is losing LNAs as people leave the profession because of irregular hours, worries about COVID-19 and the low pay that is tied to the state's low Medicaid reimbursement rate — the lowest in the country.
In the past two years, the state has seen a net loss of 1,000 licensed nursing assistants over a two-year period according to Board of Nursing data analyzed by the New Hampshire Health Care Association. According to the association, there are many health care workers who choose to work in Massachusetts instead of New Hampshire because they can make more money.
To help with the shortage of health care home workers, Sununu has also issued an emergency order that will let nursing students get temporary licenses.
Another program aimed at keeping nursing homes staffed was a $300-per-week stipend for workers, on top of their wages. The program was funded by the federal CARES Act relief package from last March.
The additional stipend ended Dec. 31, the deadline to spend the CARES Act money.
(c)2021 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)