SENATE BILL 58
51st legislature - STATE OF NEW MEXICO - second session, 2014
Mary Kay Papen
RELATING TO HEALTH CARE; ENACTING THE COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS ACT; PROVIDING FOR DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH CERTIFICATION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS; PROVIDING FOR RULEMAKING, FEES, CRIMINAL BACKGROUND SCREENING AND DISCIPLINE RELATING TO CERTIFIED COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS; CREATING A BOARD OF CERTIFICATION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF NEW MEXICO:
SECTION 1. [NEW MATERIAL] SHORT TITLE.--This act may be cited as the "Community Health Workers Act".
SECTION 2. [NEW MATERIAL] DEFINITIONS.--As used in the Community Health Workers Act:
A. "applicant" means an individual applying to be certified or recertified as a community health worker;
B. "board" means the board of certification of community health workers;
C. "certificate" means the document issued by the department to qualified applicants for certification as community health workers;
D. "certification" means the voluntary process by which the department grants recognition and use of a credential to individuals who have met predetermined and standardized requirements;
E. "certified community health worker" means a community health worker to whom the department has issued a certificate to practice as a certified community health worker;
F. "community health worker" means a public health worker who:
(1) applies an understanding of the experience, language and culture of the populations that the individual serves and who provides one or more of the following services:
(a) culturally appropriate disease- and injury-prevention and health-promotion education and skill-building;
(b) health and social service information and outreach in community-based settings;
(c) cultural mediation or bridge-building among individuals, communities and health and social service providers;
(d) support for individual and community capacity to achieve positive health outcomes;
(e) facilitation of access to health and social services;
(f) direct services aimed at optimizing individual and family health outcomes, including: 1) informal and motivational counseling; 2) interventions to maximize social supports; 3) care coordination; and 4) health screenings;
(g) advocacy for individual, family and community health and social service needs; and
(h) other services that the secretary defines by rule;
(2) is employed primarily on the basis of the individual's understanding of, and connection with, the populations and communities that the individual serves; and
(3) has experience providing services in community settings;
G. "core competencies" means a set of overlapping and mutually reinforcing skills and knowledge that is essential for effective community health work in core areas that include:
(1) understanding of the community health worker profession;
(2) effective communication skills;
(3) interpersonal skills;
(4) health-coaching skills;
(5) service coordination skills;
(6) capacity-building skills;
(7) advocacy skills;
(8) technical teaching skills;
(9) community health outreach skills;
(10) community knowledge and assessment; and
(11) clinical-support skills;
H. "department" means the department of health;
I. "practice as a certified community health worker" means a community health worker's application of the education, training and experience in the core competencies to effectively provide services to the communities and populations that the community health worker serves through one or more of the roles of the community health worker;
J. "recertification" means a renewal of certification; and
K. "secretary" means the secretary of health.
SECTION 3. [NEW MATERIAL] RULEMAKING--COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER CERTIFICATION--RECERTIFICATION--FEES.--
A. The secretary shall adopt and promulgate rules relating to the following:
(1) establishment and administration of a voluntary program for certification of community health workers, including criteria for:
(a) minimum education;
(d) attestation of an applicant's good moral character; and
(e) other qualifications that the secretary deems appropriate in accordance with the provisions of the Community Health Workers Act;
(2) forms and procedures for the receipt, review and action upon applications for initial community health worker certification and for biennial recertification;
(3) establishment of standards for continuing education and other requirements that the secretary deems appropriate for biennial recertification; and
(4) procedures for disciplinary action relating to applicants or certified community health workers. Department rules shall include guidelines for:
(a) disciplinary action;
(c) probation; and
(d) the denial, suspension or revocation of certification or recertification.
B. The secretary may adopt and promulgate rules on the following relating to the Community Health Workers Act:
(1) the board and its membership;
(2) the determination, assessment and collection of certification fees, recertification fees and disciplinary fines;
(3) the establishment of criminal background screening pursuant to Section 8 of the Community Health Workers Act; or
(4) other matters that the secretary deems appropriate to carry out the provisions of the Community Health Workers Act.
C. The department shall apply any fee it collects pursuant to the Community Health Workers Act to cover the costs of administering the community health worker certification program established pursuant to that act.
SECTION 4. [NEW MATERIAL] BOARD OF CERTIFICATION OF COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKERS--CREATION--MEMBERSHIP--DUTIES.--
A. The "board of certification of community health workers" is created. The board is administratively attached to the department and shall meet periodically at the call of the chair.
B. The board shall consist of nine members who shall be:
(1) residents of the state;
(2) appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the secretary; and
(3) composed of:
(a) the secretary or the secretary's designee, who shall serve as chair of the board; and
(b) eight additional members, at least three of whom shall be community health workers.
C. In determining the membership of the board, the secretary shall endeavor to appoint community health worker stakeholders such as health care providers, individuals from institutions of higher learning and members of the community from various geographic regions of the state.
D. The secretary shall adopt and promulgate rules that establish the duties of the board and the conduct of its meetings. At a minimum, the duties of the board shall include making recommendations to the secretary on the following matters:
(1) standards and requirements for the establishment, board evaluation and board approval or board acceptance of community health worker education and training programs in the state, the successful completion of which shall qualify an individual as eligible to apply to the department for certification as a certified community health worker;
(2) standards and requirements for approval or acceptance of continuing education courses and programs as the board may require for the biennial renewal of a community health worker certificate;
(3) minimum education, training, experience and other qualifications that a certified community health worker shall possess to qualify as a trainer in any education, training or continuing education program for community health workers approved or accepted by the board;
(4) a means to acknowledge, document and assess relevant education, training, experience, mastery of core competencies or other qualifications acquired by community health workers practicing in the state before the effective date of the Community Health Workers Act for purposes of certification while waiving minimum training and experience requirements established pursuant to Paragraph (1) of Subsection A of Section 3 of the Community Health Workers Act; and
(5) the type of certification examination or other means to assess community health worker competency in connection with certification that the department shall require if the secretary determines that a certification examination would enhance the advancement of the practice and profession of community health workers.
SECTION 5. [NEW MATERIAL] REQUIREMENTS FOR CERTIFICATION--RECERTIFICATION.--
A. An applicant for certification or recertification shall submit an application for registration to the department in a form prescribed by rules that the secretary has adopted and promulgated. The application shall be:
(1) in the name of the applicant;
(2) signed or otherwise authenticated by the applicant under penalty of perjury;
(3) accompanied by any fee that the secretary has established by rule; and
(4) accompanied by proof that the applicant:
(a) is at least eighteen years of age;
(b) is of good moral character; and
(c) has met all the educational, training and experience requirements and any other qualifications that the secretary has established by rule for certification or recertification.
B. Subject to limitations that the secretary may establish by rule, the department may issue provisional certification to a minor who is at least sixteen years of age and younger than eighteen years of age if the minor otherwise meets the requirements for certification.
C. A certificate holder shall carry department- issued documentation of certification. A certificate holder shall present documentation of certification upon request.
D. The department shall issue certificates that shall be valid for two years to certified community health workers. A certificate may be recertified in accordance with department rules.
SECTION 6. [NEW MATERIAL] USE OF CERTIFIED COMMUNITY HEALTH WORKER DESIGNATION--UNAUTHORIZED PRACTICE.--
A. In order to use the title "certified community health worker", the initials "CCHW" or other designation indicating that the individual is a certified community health worker, an individual shall be certified pursuant to the provisions of the Community Health Workers Act.
B. To ensure compliance with the provisions of the Community Health Workers Act or any rule that the secretary has adopted and promulgated pursuant to that act, the department may:
(1) issue cease-and-desist orders to persons violating the provisions of the Community Health Workers Act; or
(2) institute any legal proceedings necessary.
C. A certified community health worker shall engage only in those activities authorized pursuant to Subsection F of Section 2 of the Community Health Workers Act and by rules adopted and promulgated pursuant to that act. While engaging in practice as a certified community health worker, an individual shall not engage in or perform any act or service for which a professional license or other legal authority is required. Nothing in this section shall be construed to prevent or restrict the practice, service or activities of any individual simultaneously certified as a community health worker and licensed, certified, registered or otherwise legally authorized in the state to engage in the practice of another profession if that individual does not:
(1) represent to the public, directly or indirectly, that the individual is a certified community health worker; and
(2) while engaged in the authorized practice of another profession, use any name, title, the initials "CCHW" or other designation indicating that the individual is a certified community health worker.
SECTION 7. [NEW MATERIAL] LIABILITY--COMPLAINTS--INFORMATION OR ASSISTANCE.--A person shall not be liable for the following actions if performed in good faith and without malice:
A. filing a complaint alleging a violation of the Community Health Workers Act or rules that the department has promulgated pursuant to that act; or
B. providing information or assistance to the department in furtherance of the department's administration and enforcement of the community health worker certification program established pursuant to the Community Health Workers Act or rules that the department has promulgated pursuant to that act.
SECTION 8. [NEW MATERIAL] CRIMINAL HISTORY SCREENING.--
A. The department may obtain from the department of public safety, the federal bureau of investigation or any other law enforcement agency or organization the criminal history records of those applicants who apply to become certified community health workers.
B. The secretary shall adopt and promulgate rules that provide for criminal background checks for applicants and community health workers that may include:
(1) requiring and setting forth the procedures for criminal background checks of applicants who wish to become certified community health workers pursuant to the Community Health Workers Act;
(2) requiring applicants to be fingerprinted;
(3) providing for an applicant who has been denied certification or a certified community health worker whose certification has been suspended or revoked based on a background check to inspect or challenge the validity of the background check record;
(4) providing for the use of criminal history records of the applicant obtained from the department of public safety, federal bureau of investigation or any other law enforcement agency or organization;
(5) providing for submission of an applicant's fingerprint cards to the federal bureau of investigation to conduct a nationwide criminal history check and to the department of public safety to conduct a state criminal history check; and
(6) identifying what information obtained from a criminal background check may form the basis of denial, suspension or revocation of certification pursuant to the Community Health Workers Act or any other disciplinary action.
C. Arrest record information received from the department of public safety and the federal bureau of investigation shall be privileged and shall not be disclosed to persons not directly involved in the decision affecting the applicant. The department shall comply with applicable confidentiality requirements of the department of public safety and the federal bureau of investigation regarding the dissemination of criminal background check information.
D. Electronic live fingerprint scans may be used when conducting criminal history background checks.
E. An applicant or certified community health worker whose certification or recertification is denied, suspended or revoked, or who is otherwise disciplined based on information obtained in a criminal history background check, shall be entitled to appeal the decision under rules promulgated by the department.
F. The applicant or certified community health worker shall bear any costs associated with ordering or conducting criminal background checks.
G. The provisions of the Criminal Offender Employment Act shall govern any consideration of criminal records required or permitted by the Community Health Workers Act.
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