Is there a federal or state law that states that people must be CPR certified to work in the healthcare field? Or is it hospital policy?
Nancy Brent replies:
CPR certification has been a requirement for healthcare workers for at least the past 40 to 50 years. Its requirement can be found in several places, including American Hospital Association guidelines and Joint Commission requirements. State licensing laws for healthcare facilities and/or the rules to administer and enforce the laws may also include this requirement.
Likewise, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has supported this requirement as well. In fact, in 2006, a monograph, Individual Providers: A Guide to Employing Providers Under Participant Direction, was published for CMS and included the basic training that should be required of healthcare providers. CPR/first aid was included in that list. The monograph, prepared by the Human Services Research Institute and The MEDISTAT Group, can be accessed at www.cms.hhs.gov/downloads/IndividualProviders_final.pdf.
Employers, then, are well within their rights and their obligations to mandate its employees be proficient, on an on-going basis, in the provision of CPR. One would be hard-pressed to find a healthcare facility that did not require current CPR certification for its employees.
Nancy J. Brent, RN, MS, JD, is an attorney in private practice in Wilmette, Ill. This information is for educational purposes only and is not intended as legal or any other advice. The reader is encouraged to seek the advice of an attorney or other professional when an opinion is needed.