Nurses in Wisconsin may need less training to become certified, should a Republican-backed bill pass the state Senate and earn the governor’s signature.
Assembly Bill 432, which passed the aforementioned chamber last Thursday, prohibits the Department of Health Services from requiring a minimum total training hours or hours of supervised practical training that exceed the federal minimum requirements for certified nurse aides (CNA).
The proposal comes in response to a shortage of healthcare professionals throughout the state, which currently stands at 11,500 vacancies in related positions.
“Wisconsin CNAs are required to have 45 more hours of training than those in Michigan, Minnesota, and Iowa,” John Vander Meer, Executive Director of the Wisconsin Health Care Association and Wisconsin Center for Assisted Living said in a statement. “Members of the Wisconsin State Assembly in a bipartisan vote passed AB-432, which will help address Wisconsin’s ongoing workforce shortage by removing this barrier to employment.”
State Representative Lisa Subeck, D-Madison, criticized the bill in a press release, arguing that “the Republican plan would diminish nursing care quality.”
Subeck offered three amendments to the bill that would raise CNA wages and increase training access in order to encourage people to enter the field. The amendments failed on a
A Wisconsin Hospital Association report found that the Wisconsin population of people over 65 is expected to double by 2030, and the healthcare workforce will need to increase by more than 30% to meet the demand of care.
“In the midst of a significant long-term care workforce crisis, we must encourage more people to enter the CNA profession,” said Vander Meer. “Without an adequate workforce, it is very difficult for facilities to focus on advancing quality.”
Subeck explained that CNA training must be more accessible and affordable while ensuring that caregivers earn a wage with which they can support themselves and their families.
“These professionals are on the frontline providing daily care to our parents, our grandparents, or to our loved ones when they are at their most vulnerable,” Subeck said. “Any reduction in the training these individuals receive puts our state’s most vulnerable residents at risk.”