By Mike Kruzman /

A local lawmaker is fighting to ensure direct care pandemic workers earn credit towards their certification.

State Representative Ann Bollin of Brighton Township helped pass her measure, Wednesday, that would guarantee those who stepped up as direct care workers at nursing facilities during the pandemic receive credit toward their certification.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services waived requirements that nurse’s aides must be certified to work in a nursing facility for longer than four months, in response to the pandemic. This waiver was utilized to address critical workforce shortages and helped bring more than 2,000 workers into the long-term care setting. These aides worked primarily as caregivers providing care and services normally provided by certified nursing aides, or CNAs.

House Bill 5089 ensures that the hours these aides worked during the pandemic will count toward the 75-hour training requirement for becoming a CNA. The measure also provides options for online training and an online competency evaluation.

Wellbridge Group CEO Michael Perry said, in a release from Bollin’s office, that they and others embraced the opportunity to bring these enthusiastic and dedicated caregivers into their facilities, and that allowing them to continue to provide that care will benefit both staff and residents.

Bollin said health care professionals have been on the front lines of the most severe public health crisis of our lifetime, and that this will help the temporary nurse aides obtain certification and continue to advance their careers.

The plan now moves on to the Senate for further consideration.