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Home Care Workers Should Give Out Medication, Connecticut Governor Says

February 9, 2012

Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy (D) has proposed that home health aides and agency-based personal care attendants (PCAs) in the state should be trained to administer medication to consumers.

Currently, only nurses are permitted to administer medication to consumers receiving care in the home. Nurse visits cost an average of $54 each last fiscal year, for a total cost to the state of nearly $130 million.

The Malloy administration says that the plan would save the state more than $28 million a year, once fully implemented.

It would also help thousands of elders and people with disabilities to remain in their homes — rather than enter nursing homes or other long-term care facilities — by ensuring that the cost of home care is as low as possible, administration officials say.

Nurses and many home care agencies say they oppose the idea, arguing that medication is more safely administered by highly trained nurses.

Malloy’s plan comes as part of a set of proposed adjustments to the state budget, which will go to the legislature for approval.

Details of Plan

Malloy’s plan would allow home health aides to administer oral medicine, topical medications, and eye drops, so long as they are trained and certified to do so.

The plan would also permit agency-based PCAs to administer medication. Currently, only independent PCAs who have been trained by their clients can legally give out medicine.

“Allowing home health aides and agency-based PCAs to administer medication is a positive step for Connecticut’s home care industry,” said PHI National Director of Curriculum and Workforce Development Peggy Powell.

“However, it is extremely important that these direct-care workers are properly trained in handling and administering medication in order to keep their clients as safe as possible,” Powell added.

Additionally, the Malloy administration’s proposal would reduce by 10 percent the rates paid to nurses administering medication. It would also allow certain medicine-related assisted technologies — such as medication reminders and automatic pill dispensers — to be covered under Medicaid.

— by Matthew Ozga

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