The Florida Health Care Association today applauded Florida lawmakers for passing legislation that will make Personal Care Attendants (PCAs) a permanent part of Florida’s long term care workforce. The Florida Senate’s passage of HB 485 by Rep. Garrison, R-Orange Park/ Sen. Aaron Bean, R-Jacksonville sends the bill to Governor DeSantis for his signature.
In a statement, FHCA Chief Executive Officer Emmett Reed said, “The Personal Care Attendant Program has been a win-win for Florida, addressing critical staff shortages at our state’s nursing centers and helping out-of-work Floridians find new career opportunities in a rewarding field. We are grateful to the Legislature for recognizing the positive impact that PCAs have already been making in our nursing centers, adding essential staff who are helping to meet the needs of the residents entrusted to our care. We are especially thankful to Senator Bean and Representative Garrison for championing this issue to make Personal Care Attendants a permanent part of the workforce. Our nursing centers have vacancies to fill, and this program will help support those recruitment efforts and expand the pool of front-line caregivers who perform heroic work every day caring for our growing aging population.”
Personal Care Attendants must undergo 16 hours of classroom instruction from a Registered Nurse and then demonstrate competence in various resident care skills. The PCAs work alongside an experienced Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA), receiving supervised on-the-job training, until they have the knowledge and skills to challenge the CNA exam. Similar to Nurse Aides in Training who are enrolled in CNA school, Personal Care Attendants can be counted toward a nursing center’s minimum staffing hours after the individuals complete their 16-hour instructional program. By performing such important tasks as taking temperatures, delivering water, helping residents get dressed, and providing other care, PCAs are helping to ensure that nursing centers are properly staffed so residents receive the quality care they expect, need, and deserve.
Prior to the passage of HB 485, the Personal Care Attendant program would have expired when the COVID-19 State of Emergency ends.
ABOUT THE FLORIDA HEALTH CARE ASSOCIATION
The Florida Health Care Association (FHCA) is a federation that serves nearly 1,000 members and represents nearly 700 long-term care facilities that provide skilled nursing, post-acute and subacute care, short-term rehab, assisted living, and other services to the elderly and individuals with disabilities in Florida. The mission of FHCA is to advance the quality of services, image, professional development, and financial stability of its members. As Florida’s first and largest advocacy organization for long-term care providers and the elderly they serve, the Association has worked diligently since 1954 to assist its members with continuously improving quality of care and quality of life for the state’s growing elder care population. For more information about the Florida Health Care Association, visit http://www.fhca.org.