By Jessica Mathews /

A plan sponsored by a local lawmaker to help address staffing shortages in the health-care industry will soon be on its way to the governor’s desk for her possible signature.

State Representative Ann Bollin’s measure is said to make it easier for those who stepped up to serve as direct care workers at nursing facilities during the pandemic to become certified nursing assistants.

It received unanimous support in the Senate and overwhelming bipartisan support in the House.

The Brighton Township Republican said in a release that during the pandemic, temporary nurse aides stepped up to serve the public and accumulated many hours of invaluable on-the-job training. She said the vital work they did on the front lines of the pandemic should count toward their nursing assistant certifications and help continue to advance their careers.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services waived requirements that nurse aides must be certified to work in a nursing facility for longer than four months.

Michigan utilized the waiver to bring more than 2,000 workers into the long-term care setting to address critical workforce shortages. The temporary aides worked primarily as caregivers providing necessary care and services typically provided by certified nurse aides (CNAs).

Bollin’s measure, House Bill 5089, ensures that hours worked as a temporary aide during the pandemic will count toward the 75-hour training requirement to become a CNA. It also includes an option for online training and an online competency evaluation.

WellBridge Group CEO Michael Perry, who operates skilled nursing facilities in Livingston County, said the reform is necessary. He said their company and others embraced the opportunity to bring these enthusiastic, dedicated caregivers into their facilities.

A press release is attached.