West Virginia Regulates Health Maintenance Tasks

By Michael Klazema on 6/20/2013

The West Virginia legislature passed legislation regulating the performance of health maintenance tasks by unlicensed personnel. The new law amends West Virginia Code Sections 16-5O treating the performance of routine “health maintenance tasks” by unlicensed staff in the same way that it previously treated the administration of medication.

The new legislation is called the “Ken Ervin Community Living Act” and replaces the former Medication Administration by Unlicensed Personnel Act.

“Heath maintenance tasks” are defined as administering glucometer tests, gastrostomy tube feedings, enemas, and performing ostomy care which includes skin care and changing appliances. These tasks are to be performed according to the written or printed directions of a physician or other authorized practitioner, and under the supervision of a registered professional nurse. Health maintenance tasks do not include judgment, evaluation, or assessments. Nor do they include injections of medication or monitoring of medication or self-administration of medications by a client.

The Ken Ervin Act allows unlicensed staff to administer medication and perform health maintenance tasks in certain personal care facilities. Personal care facilities include assisted living facilities and private residences in which health care services are provided under the supervision of a registered professional nurse. The Act also applies to intermediate care facilities for individuals with an intellectual disability and behavioral health group homes.

The requirements for the oversight of unlicensed staff are also amended. Registered professional nurses are responsible for monitoring unlicensed staff. The nurses are expected to exercise judgment and evaluate and assess patients. They are also expected to inject medicine, monitor medications, and the self-administration of medications and self-injections by the residents. Agencies or facilities that employ licensed health care providers to supervise unlicensed staff must maintain liability insurance.

Other provisions in the law remain the same, but are extended to unlicensed staff performing health maintenance tasks. Staff members must successfully complete a training program every two years and receive a satisfactory competency evaluation. The facility must search the state nurse aide registry and conduct a criminal background check or, if applicable, check the State Policy abuse registry to determine if there are any disqualifying records. Disqualifying records are those of abuse or convictions against persons or drug-related crimes.

The Act is available at: %20SUB%20ENR.htm&yr=2013&sesstype=RS&i=2731

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