On November 14, 2018, the Pennsylvania Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators voted to reduce the number of continuing education credit hours required every two years for licensed nursing home administrators. The Board voted seven to three to reduce the credit hours from 48 to 36.
The continuing education requirement is in place to maintain an active administrator license. The hours can be obtained through lecture, college or university, computer interactive, distance learning, or correspondence courses. There are programs offered on nursing homes, assisted living, and home and community-based administration. The goal is to keep facility leaders aware of elder issues and changing environments, so the best quality of care can be provided to residents and patients.
Prior to the official vote, advocates for the elderly and a Pennsylvania nursing home trade group expressed their opposition to the proposal, which initially planned on reducing the continuing education credits in half. The opposition stemmed from the concern that the quality of elderly care in nursing homes would diminish.
The initial proposed cut was to 24 hours. While the previously required 48-hour continuing education requirement was above average for the Northeast, 24 would have put the state in the bottom tier on a national level. There are currently nearly 2,400 nursing home administrators in Pennsylvania who are required to pursue these continuing education credit hours.
According to a spokeswoman from the Pennsylvania Department of State, this change is being made in hopes of modernizing and improving job licensing requirements. This cut is among a number of changes that have occurred in the licensing branch – which saw the elimination of 13 job licenses in June.
While licensing for select occupations has been seen as a form of consumer protection that ensures a basic level of competency, it may also be seen as something the restricts the number of individuals who can enter those areas of employment.
In regard to the cuts, Governor Tom Wolf said, “We must cut red tape, reduce the bureaucracy, and ensure overly burdensome rules and fees do not block hardworking people from getting a good job, supporting their families, and growing our economy.”