More RN Involvement in Nursing Homes and Foster Care

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More RN Involvement in Nursing Homes and Foster Care

Federal and statewide legislation is pending

By Working Nurse
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Among nurses’ many strengths is the ability to provide skilled observation and reporting. Now, several new pieces of proposed state and federal legislation seek to put that talent to good use helping elders and foster children.


At the federal level, H.R. 952, known as the Put a Registered Nurse in the Nursing Home Act, would mandate 24/7 RN staffing for nursing homes and skilled nursing facilities that receive Medicare or Medicaid funds. If the bill passes, facilities would no longer be allowed to only provide registered nurses on the day and evening shifts while using lower-paid, less-qualified staff during the late evenings and at night.

The bill, introduced by Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D-Ill.), recognizes that many nursing home residents have medical needs too acute to rely on only part-time nursing support. So far, four California representatives have signed on as cosponsors of H.R. 952, which has the support of the ANA. You can follow the bill’s progress at


In Sacramento, the California State Senate recently passed S.B. 319, a measure introduced by Sen. Jim Beall (D-15) that would require each county to provide a public health registered nurse to oversee foster children’s medical, dental and developmental care. This nurse would also be responsible for working with county social workers to monitor any foster child receiving psychotropic medication.

S.B. 319, which is now being considered in the Assembly, would create many new public health positions statewide, but some counties have decided not to wait. On June 15, the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to authorize the hiring of a public health nurse to oversee psychotropic medication for approximately 350 foster children — currently, judges have this responsibility. During the board’s brief deliberations, County Supervisor Joe Simitian said that having a nurse monitor those cases was a better solution.

You can follow S.B. 319 at

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