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Illinois Lawmakers to Consider Registered Nurse Care Rule

March 15, 2012

Illinois State Capitol in Springfield

Registered nurses will be required to provide at least 46 minutes of direct care each day to residents in Illinois nursing homes, pending a decision from a panel of state lawmakers.

The requirement stems from the state’s wide-ranging 2010 nursing home reform law, which mandated that skilled-nursing facility residents receive 3.8 hours of “nursing and personal care” each day by 2014, up from the current level of 2.5 hours a day.

As originally passed, however, the 2010 law did not specify how much of that care must be provided by a registered nurse.

The panel of lawmakers is considering a proposal that would fix that. The proposed rule would require a minimum of 46 minutes of care from a registered nurse each day. The figure represents 20 percent of the total 3.8 hours required.

Effect on CNAs

David Vinkler, associate state director of advocacy and outreach for AARP‘s Illinois legislative office, which supports the proposed rule, told the Chicago Tribune, “I wouldn’t be surprised if some homes might be staffing more heavily with [certified nursing assistants] in the absence of definition.

“That’s why it makes sense to do all of this,” Vinkler added. “You have to be comprehensive about how you address staffing in nursing homes.”

The legislative panel was originally scheduled to vote on the ruling March 6. However, it opted to delay the vote until at least April 17.

— by Matthew Ozga

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