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LeadingAge NY Calls for Updates to Nursing Home Administrator Qualifications at BENHA Meeting

At the Oct. 11, 2023 meeting of the Board of Examiners of Nursing Home Administrators (BENHA), LeadingAge NY's Karen Lipson spoke about the challenges nursing homes face in recruiting administrators and the need to update qualifications and administrator-in-training program requirements. Noting the demographic changes facing NYS and high turnover rates among administrators, Lipson called for reforms in the qualifying criteria for administrators and for administrator-in-training programs.

Specifically, Lipson pointed to the need for additional flexibility in the educational prerequisites that candidates must meet to qualify for the examination and the types of work experience that can substitute for administrator-in-training time or field experience time. For example, under current policies, a candidate with extensive nursing home experience and a master's degree in a relevant field would not be eligible for the examination unless he or she had taken the required 15 credits of approved courses within the last five or 10 years (depending on the course). As a result, a recent college graduate can more easily qualify for the examination than an experienced executive. In addition, Lipson recommended that NYS follow the lead of Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Vermont and allow for licensure by endorsement or reciprocity.

The Board was receptive to Lipson's comments and asked her to provide additional information regarding changes that can be made without amendments to statute or regulation, and those that cannot.

The meeting also included a discussion of the possibility of accepting the Health Services Executive designation and educational pathway offered by the National Association of Long Term Care Administrator Boards (NAB). Board members expressed support for this designation as a means to improve recruitment and expand the pool of candidates. The Department of Health (DOH) staff expressed some resistance to the concept due to its lower required hours of field experience (1,000 hours versus 1,800 hours).

A recording of the meeting is available here. Lipson's remarks largely tracked LeadingAge NY's comments on proposed regulations submitted in December 2022.

Contact: Karen Lipson, klipson@leadingageny.org