Legislation Increasing Nursing Hours Per Patient Day on Senate Floor

A bill introduced earlier this year that would require the California Department of Public Health to develop regulations increasing the number of required nursing hours per patient day (NHPPD) in skilled nursing facilities is currently waiting to be heard on the Senate Floor.

AB 2079 (Calderon, D-Whitter), would require the California Department of Public Heath to develop regulations that increase the number of required nursing hours per patient day from 3.2 to 4.1. Furthermore, the bill specifies that within the required minimum of 4.1 nursing hours when fully implemented, skilled nursing facilities are required to have a minimum of 2.8 hours per patient day for certified nursing assistants (CNAs) and 1.3 hours for licensed nurses. The bill phases in the implementation of the 4.1 NHPPD over two years, starting with 3.5 NHPPD in January 2018 and 4.1 in January 2019.

LeadingAge California members have strong concerns with this bill as it does not take into account where skilled nursing facilities would be able to recruit extra staff to meet the requirements set forth in AB 2079. Furthermore, staff retention is also a cause for concern, as skilled nursing facilities are constantly competing with larger hospitals, health systems and other entities for nursing talent.

If AB 2079 passes on the Senate Floor, the bill will likely head back to the Assembly for Concurrence before heading to the Governor. LeadingAge California is actively advocating the legislature to reconsider this bill, and will be meeting with the Governor’s office soon to express our opposition. We will continue to encourage our members to visit our Legislative Action Center to contact your legislator on this bill.

For questions, please contact Jedd Hampton, director of policy – health services at jhampton@leadingageca.org or (916) 469-3366.