A new state law was just passed that will eventually give non-nurses the ability to give medications to poor and disabled patients living at home. The governor's bill lets trained home care aides -- who cost about half what nurses do -- administer medications.
That's called nurse delegation, and Governor Dannel Malloy says it would save millions of dollars. And that, he says, would make it easier for Medicaid clients to live in their homes.
Anne Foley works in the governor's Office of Policy and Management. She says the new program will save the state about $6 million a year. Also, Foley says that professional, trained caregivers will make the call as to which clients are well-suited for the program. "It's really within the control of the medical professionals who are responsible for providing the care to that person to determine whether they could benefit from a homemaker/home health aide providing them the medication rather than a nurse coming in to do it."
Tracy Wodatch works at the Connecticut Association for Homecare and Hospice. Her organization has been working with the state on the changes. "We will have our work cut out for as far as identifying enough home health aides and the right home health aides and then sending them through a training to ensure that they are competent in being able to carry out the tests that they are being asked to do."
The new program will go into effect in January.