Personal Protective Equipment: Health Care Employees

Personal Protective Equipment: Health Care Employees

Personal Protective Equipment: Health Care Employees

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Law and Legislation




Assembly Bill 2537 (AB 2537), Personal Protective Equipment: Health Care Employees is created to protect staff from COVID-19 exposures in the workplace. Starting on April 1, 2021, employers in hospital settings are required to maintain a three-month supply of new and un-expired personal protective equipment (PPE). In addition, the bill requires employers to create and execute effective written procedures for periodically determining the amount and types of equipment used in its normal consumption. The bill classifies seven specific types of PPE that must be maintained in an amount equal to three months of normal consumption: “N95 filtering facepiece respirators, powered air-purifying respirators with high-efficiency particulate air filters, elastomeric air-purifying respirators and appropriate particulate filters or cartridges, surgical masks, isolation gowns, eye protection, and shoe coverings” (Bill Text – AB-2537 Personal protective equipment: health care employees., 2020). In addition, hospitals must be ready to verify their respirator fit testing program up to date and compliant with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) Respiratory Protection Standard. Employers should provide training for PPE donning and doffing procedures to minimize the risk of exposure to the employee or contamination of the transport vehicle or health care facility environment.  Ensure all PPE is disposed of after use and kept separate for waste disposal, minimizing the risk for exposure to housekeeping and waste disposal workers and for contamination of other environments. The California Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1973 states that the legal obligation of the employer is to provide and maintain a safe and healthful workplace for employees. Nurses and health care workers should be protected while doing their jobs to impact our health care system’s ability to respond to pandemics. Personal Protective Equipment: Health Care Employees





          A healthcare initiative or legislative statute that is currently underway in California is the AB 890. It updated the Nursing Practice Act (in the state Business & Professions Code) to allow NPs who meet specific criteria to practice without physician supervision. AB 852 would update these other sections of California law, which govern health care providers, to also include nurse practitioners. Clarifying that NPs are included in these existing laws is critical to ensuring that NPs can practice to the full extent of their education and training. AB 852 passed the full Assembly on a bipartisan 75-3 vote in May 2021. In June 2021, Assemblymember Wood made AB 852 a two-year bill, meaning that the bill can still move forward in 2022 as a vehicle for allowing NPs to practice without physician supervision. The extended timeline gives advocates and legislators additional time for key conversations around AB 890 implementation. In order to implement the provisions of AB 890, the  Board of Registered Nursing (BRN)  will follow state law for outlining, editing, and finalizing regulations. CANP is actively engaged in ongoing discussions regarding AB 890 implementation occurring at the BRN and at the BRN’s  Nurse Practitioner Advisory Committee  (NPAC). NPAC was established by AB 890 and will report to the BRN Practice Committee, which will then report to the full Board. BRN staff are in the process of drafting AB 890 regulations, as is NPAC, and are prioritizing transition to practice regulations. Additionally, the BRN has had a preliminary presentation by the Office of Professional Examination Services to investigate whether NPs will need a supplemental examination. No determination has been made yet.

In conclusion, AB 890 passed out of the California Legislature on August 31, 2020. The great news is that the measure was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom on September 29, 2020 (California Association for Nurse Practitioners, 2022).