New law creates oversight of staffing agencies but doesn’t protect against ‘price-gouging’

A bill signed into law on Thursday will create oversight and accountability for staffing agencies operating in Pennsylvania’s assisted living communities and other long-term care facilities, but it does not address the rates charged by the agencies.

Gov. Tom Wolf (D) signed House Bill 2293, which took effect immediately, requiring staffing agencies that provide temporary employment in assisted living communities, personal care homes and nursing homes to register with the state, validate the healthcare credentials of contracted employees and carry medical malpractice insurance. The new law also bans non-compete clauses in agency contracts and requires agencies to pay workers’ compensation coverage for all employees. 

The bill also creates a system for reporting complaints and allows the state Department of Health to issue penalties and sanctions.

“With the stroke of the governor’s pen and the backing of the General Assembly, Pennsylvania will now implement regulations and guidelines for staffing agencies that have never existed before,” Pennsylvania Health Care Association CEO Zach Shamberg said in a statement. “This law will protect residents, workers and long-term care providers by creating oversight, accountability and strict operating procedures.”

Margie Zelenak, executive director of the Pennsylvania Assisted Living Association, told McKnight’s Senior Living that PALA advocated for the bill and that it is a good first step in the state’s effort to recognize issues with agencies that benefited from the workforce shortages  in Keystone State personal care and assisted living communities. 

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