A certified nursing assistant (“CNA”) performs “basic patient care services” in relation to the “safety, comfort, personal hygiene, and protection of patients.”[1] A CNA works under the supervision of a registered nurse or a licensed vocational nurse, and may not perform any services that must be performed by a licensed professional.[2]
Certification requires successful completion of an approved training program, which includes an examination to test the applicant’s knowledge and skills related to basic patient care services.[3]
One might think that CNAs are regulated by the California Board of Registered Nursing, but it is actually the California Department of Public Health that oversees the rules of regulations regarding CNA certifications.
The state department has the power to investigate complaints concerning misconduct by CNAs, and may take disciplinary action.[4] CNA certification can be suspended or revoked for unprofessional conduct, conviction of a crime substantially related to the functions of a CNA, controlled substance abuse, or impersonating a registered nurse, among other things.[5]
Within 20 days of notice of the disciplinary action, the certificate holder may make a written request to the state department for an administrative hearing.[6] If the state department determines probation is the appropriate action, the certificate holder can request to enter into a diversion program agreement in lieu of an appeal.[7] A diversion program includes, but is not limited to, training, counseling, treatment programs, and progress reports.[8] Upon successful completion of a diversion program, no further action against the certificate holder will be taken.[9]
For the 2014-2015 fiscal year, the Department received 1,201 complaints regarding CNAs, Home Health Aides, and Certified Hemodialysis Technicians.  Only 18% resulted in disciplinary action.[10] For the first quarter of fiscal year 2015-2016, beginning September 30, 2015, there are already 408 complaints, 15% of which resulted in disciplinary action.[11]
 


[1] H&S Code §1337(d)(3)
[2] Ibid.
[3] H&S Code §1337.2
[4] H&S Code §1337.8(a)
[5] H&S Code §1337.9(b)
[6] H&S Code §1337.9(g)(1)
[7] H&S Code §1337.9(d)
[8] Ibid.
[9] Ibid.
[10] https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/PCB%2014-15-Q4.pdf
[11] https://www.cdph.ca.gov/programs/Documents/1st%20qtr%202015-2016%20posted%2012%207%2015%20-%20PCB%20Complaints.pdf