Massachusetts nursing license set to expire: The biggest story of the day
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A Massachusetts nursing home license will expire in two weeks and the nursing profession is bracing for the potential fallout from a new law that could affect hundreds of thousands of residents, including some who have never before worked in a nursing home.
The state’s Department of Public Health and Environment released its proposed deadline for the expiration of a nursing license on Thursday, which means those who have already applied for licenses will not be able to renew them.
That means people could lose their jobs at the facilities or have their licenses revoked, said Lisa Wolk, director of the Department of Nursing Care Services.
Some residents will be able apply for licenses to work at a nursing facility they currently work at, Wolk said, but not those who are transitioning to nursing care.
Wolk didn’t give any specific details on who would be affected.
“We don’t know who’s impacted at this point,” Wolk told reporters on Friday.
Massachusetts has been working on a nursing licensing overhaul since it was created in 2006.
The legislation was signed into law in August, allowing licensed nursing homes to reopen and allowing residents to work as a caregiver while waiting for a license.
Under the proposed new law, nursing home licenses will expire after 90 days from the date of the expiration.
But in practice, it’s unclear how long residents would have to wait for their licenses to expire.
Under current law, those with nursing homes in Massachusetts who have completed the 10-year nursing licensure period can renew their licenses.
But the expiration date on their licenses is still up in the air, according to the Department.
Some of those affected by the expiration will need to move back to their home state to start their nursing careers, which is why the nursing community has been fighting to renew licenses in a hurry.
“The goal is for people to get their licenses and go back to where they were before,” said Sarah Kestenberg, senior policy director for the Massachusetts Association of Nurses.
She said the association was in touch with state legislators and was told the legislature was considering legislation that would allow people to work in nursing homes if they’re already licensed.
“It’s not going to be easy to get the law changed, but we’re working very hard to get it passed,” Kestenburg said.
The bill that would have allowed residents to stay in nursing home homes has been in limbo, as some lawmakers have opposed the bill’s proposed expiration date.
That bill would have changed the expiration for nursing home resident licenses to 180 days.
A number of nursing home owners have also voiced concerns about the proposed expiration of their licenses, saying the changes would cause a financial burden on them.
But Wolk has told reporters that the department is optimistic the bill will pass and the licenses will be renewed in time for the coming year.
“This is not going away,” Wollk said.
“I think there are a lot of folks who feel that way and I know there are some folks who are worried about it.”
Massachusetts lawmakers and the Department are currently in the process of drafting a new bill that is expected to be signed into statute by the end of the year.
Wollks work will be replaced by a paid position, but she said it’s not expected to impact her time with the association.
Wolk said the department expects the nursing license renewal process to be relatively quick and it’s possible that the state will have some nursing homes open again by the time the bill is signed into effect.
“If we get it done and it goes into effect in the spring, I don’t think it would take us long to get some more nursing homes operating,” Wolls said.
A Massachusetts nursing home license will expire in two weeks and the nursing profession is bracing for the potential fallout…