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CT DPH Issues Order Allowing for Flexibility of Certification Requirements for Unlicensed Assistive Personnel in Residential Care Homes

June 8, 2020

On June 1, 2020, Acting Commissioner Deidre Gifford of the Connecticut Department of Public Health (“DPH”) issued an emergency order modifying section 19-13-D6(m) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies to permit greater flexibility regarding the training, certification, and re-certification of unlicensed personnel in residential care homes to assist with medication administration.

In order to satisfy the current demand for health care workforce in residential care homes, DPH recognized that it needed to make changes to the training and certification process for unlicensed assistive personnel in residential care homes for the duration of the COVID-19 health care emergency. Specifically, DPH acknowledged that residential care homes have a dire need for additional unlicensed assistive personnel to assist with medication administration and that certain individuals seeking to become certified for such positions have been unable to complete the certification requirements due to the restrictions in place during the COVID-19 public health emergency. In addition, certain unlicensed assistive personnel in residential care homes have expired certifications due to the unavailability of training during this time.

The existing regulations regarding the training and certification of unlicensed assistive personnel in residential care homes are quite extensive. Specifically, the regulations require that the individual be trained by a registered pharmacist, physician, physician assistant, advanced practice registered nurse or registered nurse in the methods of administration of medications and that the trainer sign a written verification attesting that the trainee has completed such training. In addition, the individual is required to have successfully completed a written examination and practicum administered by the Connecticut League for Nursing or other department approved certifying organization. Certification for the administration of oral, topical, and inhalant medications is valid for three (3) years.

In an effort to allow such individuals to become certified or re-certified to work, DPH modified section 19-13-D6(m) of the Regulations of Connecticut State Agencies in the following manner:

  1. “Any person seeking a new certification to become an unlicensed assistive personnel in a residential care home, or an unlicensed assistive personnel whose certification has expired after April 30, 2019, shall complete the on-line course requirements on the CT-Train website Course ID # 1089330, FLIS Medication Certification Training, take the on-line test, and obtain a certificate of completion;
     
  2. Such person shall then present the certificate of completion to the Person-in-Charge of the residential care home where he or she will be employed, or to any subsequent employer in such capacity, who will assign a currently certified unlicensed assistive personnel who administers medication to observe the person seeking certification or re-certification in at least one medication administration pass to residents or until such certified unlicensed assistive personnel feels that the person seeking certification or re-certification can safely administer medication to residents;
     
  3. Such certification or re-certification shall only allow such unlicensed assistive personnel to administer oral medications, topical medications, including eye and ear preparation, and inhalant medications but shall not administer injectable medications; and
     
  4. The Person-in-Charge of the residential care home shall ensure that the unlicensed assistive personnel continues to provide safe administration of medications and shall terminate any further administration of medication by such person if there is any question of safety.”

If you have any questions regarding the above changes, please do not hesitate to contact any member of the Health Law Practice Group at Shipman & Goodwin LLP.

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