Today, the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) stated that it will consider requests from hospitals for program flexibility to implement team nursing models. These requests average the number of patients among nurses, which are distinct from other flexibility with regard to nurse-patient staffing ratios. In essence, the type of team nursing model that CDPH will consider involves waiving the Title 22 provision that prevents hospitals from averaging the number of patients and the number of nurses to meet the numerical ratio requirement.
For example, without an approved program flex, a hospital would need two ICU-experienced nurses to care for four ICU patients. However, if a team model program flex is approved, the hospital could assign one ICU-experienced nurse and one less experienced nurse to care for four ICU patients. Although this model does not decrease the total number of nurses needed overall, it allows an experienced or specialized nurse to lead a team that includes less experienced nurses to best care for patients.
Hospitals seeking to implement these models can submit a 5000a program flexibility request form to CDPH. For the most expedient path, CDPH recommended that hospitals submit it directly via email to the Centralized Program Flexibility Unit.
CDPH advised that any hospitals submitting these requests, should still also request staffing resources from the Medical Health Operational Area Coordinator and indicate that they have done so in their program flexibility requests.