SENATE HEALTH, HUMAN SERVICES AND SENIOR CITIZENS COMMITTEE

 

STATEMENT TO

 

SENATE, No. 2878

 

with committee amendments

 

STATE OF NEW JERSEY

 

DATED:  DECEMBER 10, 2015

 

      The Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee reports favorably and with committee amendments Senate Bill No. 2878.

      As amended, this bill establishes minimum ratios for the number of certified nurse aides (CNAs) to the number of residents in nursing homes.

      Under current regulations, the Department of Health requires nursing homes to meet a minimum number of hours of direct care staff-to-resident time per day. 

      Under the bill, CNA-to-resident ratios will be as follows:

      (1)  one CNA for every eight residents on the day shift;

      (2)  one CNA for every 10 residents on the evening shift; and

      (3)  one CNA for every 16 residents on the night shift. 

      The bill sets forth a methodology for computing the appropriate ratio, and provides that a nursing home that experiences an increase in resident census is exempt from increasing the number of CNAs for nine consecutive shifts.

      Nothing in the bill would affect any other minimum staffing requirements as may be mandated by the Commissioner of Health for nursing home staff other than CNAs, and nothing in the bill would prohibit a nursing home from establishing staffing levels above the established minimum.

      The committee amended the bill to make the required CNA-to-resident ratios less strict than the introduced version of the bill.  The ratio for the day shift would be one CNA per eight residents rather than six; the ratio for the evening shift would be one CNA per 10 residents rather than nine; and the ratio for the night shift would be one CNA per 16 residents rather than 14.  The amendments also correct instances of the phrase “certified nursing assistants” to “certified nurse aides,” the term used for these workers in other New Jersey statues and regulation.