Adviser Fall 2018 Vol 1 - Page 38

37 Medication Certified Aides in Skilled Nursing Facilities: An Innovation Whose Time Has Come ONE of the New York State Department of Health’s (DOH) stated Strategic Priorities is to strengthen its capacity to achieve its goals – through improving organizational responsiveness to the needs of the public, ensuring the delivery of high quality products and services and improving the performance of its programs and systems through employee development, as well as organizational learning. We all recognize the many challenges in health care. We talk about innovation. We talk about transformation. Unfortunately, many roadblocks and old paradigms stand in the way of realizing our goals and true potential to do good. Utilizing Medication Certified Aides (MCAs) in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) is one innovation whose time has come. At the forefront of advocating for this practice in New York State has been United Helpers in St. Lawrence County, an organization whose leadership has been working for years to get a demonstration project assessing the value of utilizing MCAs in SNFs approved. New York State approved an MCA training course decades ago, and several successful State programs currently allow MCAs – programs that provide far less Registered Nurse (RN) supervision than a SNF is able to provide. In the face of a state and national nursing crisis that experts agree is only going to get worse and an industry that struggles to recruit and retain employees, why not try something that over 30 states are already doing successfully? Think of the possibilities: career opportunities and wage increases for our best CNAs, stabilized staffing and nurses available to do nursing! There are over 630 SNFs in New York State. Allowing each of them to conservatively utilize five MCAs would free up over 3,000 badly needed nurses – going a long way toward alleviating their workforce challenges, improving the quality of care provided and even assisting DOH in fulfilling its Strategic Priorities. There are over 630 SNFs in New York State. Allowing each of them to conservatively utilize five MCAs would free up over 3,000 badly needed nurses... Adviser a publication of LeadingAge New York | Fall 2018