New Georgia Bill Would Authorize Certified Medication Aides to Administer Liquid Morphine to Assisted Living Community Residents

The Georgia House and Senate have passed House Bill 374, which would authorize certified medication aides to administer liquid morphine to assisted living community residents under hospice care pursuant to a physician’s written orders. On April 4, 2019, the Bill was sent to the Governor for signature. As of May 6, 2019, the Bill has not been signed.

The Bill would add language to the statutes governing assisted living communities permitting certified medication aides to administer liquid morphine to a resident of an assisted living community who is the patient of a licensed hospice when a licensed hospice health care professional is not otherwise available. The medication aide would only be permitted to administer the liquid morphine pursuant to a physician’s written orders, which must contain specific instructions, including indication, dosage, frequency, and route of the liquid morphine. Presently, only nurses may administer liquid morphine. Thus, the Bill would also amend the statutes governing registered professional nurses to clarify that a certified medication aide who administers liquid morphine to an assisted living community resident pursuant to House Bill 374 does not have to be licensed as a professional nurse.

In addition, the Bill would limit the amount of liquid morphine permitted on-site at assisted living communities to not more than 50ml for each hospice patient in the community and would require that the assisted living communities adhere to all security and storage requirements for liquid morphine under state and federal law. The assisted living community would also be required to ensure that any medication aides administering liquid morphine receive adequate training from a licensed hospice prior to such administration and on an annual basis thereafter, and the assisted living community must maintain documentation of all such training.

Note, the Bill would only apply to assisted living communities; it would not create a similar provision for personal care homes.

To read the text of House Bill 374, please click here. For more information, please contact Hedy Rubinger or Charmaine Mech.

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