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BBB investigates nursing assistant programs

The Better Business Bureau has been investigating Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) programs in the area because of the rapid increase in “fast-track” CNA programs that require less training and education than state-approved CNA programs.
Certified nursing assistants are registered, not licensed like licensed practical nurses and registered nurses are. CNAs work in hospitals and long-term-care facilities. They assist patients with personal care tasks including bathing and they may take patients’ blood pressure and temperature.
Previously, CNAs worked solely in long-term-care facilities such as nursing homes. Now, CNAs work in hospitals and long-term-care facilities and for home health care agencies as personal care assistants and home health aides.
Anyone in North Carolina may take the Certified Nursing Test without completing a state-approved, proprietary-licensed CNA training program. This loophole has quickly made Mecklenburg County a hot spot for fast-track (also known as quick-track) CNA programs. These fast-track programs prepare individuals to take the CNA competency test, but the programs are not state-approved or properly licensed.
Individuals who are trained through state-approved nurse aid training programs must:
– Complete 100-190 instruction and training hours
– Complete hands-on clinical training in a hospital or long-term care facility
– Have liability insurance
– Be up-to-date on all vaccinations
– Buy a textbook and pay registration fees at an approximate cost of $450
Individuals who enroll in fast-track CNA programs receive little training, but pay higher fees. Although they are eligible to take the CNA test, they will have completely different training requirements to complete the fast-track program:
– Instruction may be limited to a few days which can be done online.
– No clinical training may be required.
– No liability insurance is required.
– No up-to-date vaccination verification is required
– No textbook may be required.
– Registration fees are higher, between $450 and $700
So, how do you know if the CNA who is caring for you or your loved ones has the education and training to provide the highest quality of care? Or, if you are planning to enroll in a nurse aide training program, how do you know if it is properly licensed?
The Better Business Bureau has the following suggestions:
– Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there are any complaints on file about the specific home health agencies, retirement facilities or hospitals you are considering.
– Contact the N.C. Proprietary Licensing Division ó Call Dianette Jackson at 919-807-7149 to verify the school’s license.
– Contact the Division of Health Service Regulation to verify if the nurse aide that you are considering hiring is properly registered or is on the “not to be hired” list. You can check on www.ncnar.org, if you have the person’s Social Security number or you can call Kathy Turner at 919-855-3972.
– Contact the Division of Health Service Regulation 919-855-3969 to verify that the nurse aide training program is approved by the state of North Carolina.
– Ask the home health agencies, retirement facilities or hospitals that you are considering if they require their personnel to pass criminal history background checks, have current vaccinations and be covered by liability insurance.
For more information, visit www.bbb.org or call the Better Business Bureau at 704-927-8611 or toll-free in N.C. and S.C. at 1-877-317-7236.

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