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Frequently Asked Questions about Certified Nurse Aides

This section lists responses to the eleven most-frequent questions asked of ISDH Registry staff.   It will focus on certified nurse aides, qualified medication aides, and home health aides.  Click on the topic summary below or scroll down to read the responses.

Nurse Aide Registry
Certified Nurse Aide
Home Health Aide
Qualified Medication Aide
Accessing the Registry
Training Requirements
Out-of-State Candidates
Steps in Hiring Practices
Annual Provider Responsibilities
Needed Forms
Aide Misconduct 

.What is the ISDH Nurse Aide Registry?

The Indiana State Department of Health maintains the Nurse Aide and Home Health Aide Registry, which lists the names of nurse aides who, through training, testing and experience, meet federal and/or state requirements to work in Indiana.  All aides working in a licensed nursing home, home health agency, or hospice must be listed on the Registry.  These employers must contact the Registry when hiring an aide to verify that appropriate training and testing was completed and to confirm that there are no findings against the aide.

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.What is a Certified Nurse Aide (CNA)?

The certified nurse aide is a person who works primarily in long term care (nursing homes) assisting residents with activities of daily living under the supervision of the nurse.  A Certified Nurse Aide has met the following requirements:

  • Completed a state-approved nurse aide training program,
  • Pass the nurse aide competency evaluation consisting of both a written and a skills test, and
  • Be listed in good standing as a CNA on the Indiana State Nurse Aide Registry.

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.What is a Home Health Aide (RHHA)?

A home health aide is a person working for a home health agency or hospice that perform home health services ordered by a licensed physician, licensed chiropractor, a licensed podiatrist, or a licensed optometrist.  The home health aide must successfully complete an agency's competency evaluation.  Registered home health aides are abbreviated as RHHA.

Home Health Agencies and hospices are responsible for establishing their own policies on qualifications and needed training.  State government does not certify training sites or the syllabus of each individual agency or organization under contract to provide training services.

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.What is a Qualified Medication Aide (QMA)?

A qualified medication aide is a CNA who has completed additional training, annual in-service training, and demonstrated competency while dispensing and passing medications and or applying/administrating treatments under the direct supervision of a registered nurse or a licensed practical nurse. A qualified medication aide has met the following requirements:

  • Completed a state-approved CNA training program. Must have completed 1,000 work hours as a CNA before making application to the QMA training program.
  • Passed a QMA competency evaluation program consisting of a written test, and
  • Be listed in good standing as a QMA on the Indiana State Nurse Aide Registry.

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.How do I access the registry?

Individuals may use the web-based system provided at no charge by the Indiana Professional Licensing Agency (IPLA). Bulk Registry Aide Data is also available for a fee.

Access the IPLA online Registry Aide Search page.

Access the IPLA online Bulk Data Download page.

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.What are the training requirements to become a CNA, QMA, or RHHA?

Requirements differ for these three types of aides.


The nurse aide-training program consists of at least 30 hours of classroom instructions and 75 hours of clinical training.


The QMA training program consists of at least 100 hours of training to include 60 hours of classroom instructions and 40 hours of supervised practicum.


Federally certified agencies are required to meet the provisions of CFR 484.36 when using home health aides in the agency.  The certified agencies must develop training programs that consists of classroom and supervised practical training totaling at least 75 hours with at least 16 hours devoted to supervise practical training.  The individual being trained must complete at least 16 hours of classroom training before beginning the supervised practical training.

A state-licensed only agencies are required to meet 410 IAC 17-14-1 (k)(l)(1)(A)(B) (2)(3) (m).  The training of home health aides pursuant to a continuing education program must be performed by or under the general supervision of a registered nurse.  The home health agency shall maintain sufficient documentation to demonstrate that the continuing education requirements are met.  The home health agency shall be responsible for ensuring that, prior to patient contact; the individuals who furnish home health aide services on its behalf meet the requirements of this section as follows.  The home health aide shall have successfully completed a competency evaluation program that addressed each of the subjects listed in subsection (h) of this rule; and be entered on and be in good standing on the state aide registry.  The home health agency shall maintain documentation which demonstrates the requirement of this subsection and subsection (h) of this rule were met.  If the home health agency issuing the proof of the aide’s achievement of successful completion of a competency evaluation program is not the employing agency, the employing agency shall keep a copy of the competency evaluation documentation in the home health aide’s employment file.  The home health aide shall be assigned to a particular patient by a registered nurse.  The home health aide may not be assigned to perform additional tasks not included in the original competency evaluation until he or she has successfully been evaluated as competent in that task.  

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.What steps are needed to register or certify an out-of-state job candidate?

1. Check for good standing of the candidate in the out-of-state registry.  Contacts in the out-of-state registries

Next steps will be different for CNAs and RHHAs


2. Complete the CNA Final Examination Application (Click here for form) (see attached file).
3. Schedule a testing date with Ivy Tech Community College at 317-917-5948.
4. Refer to the CNA training requirements.


2. Certified QMAs in another state may petition the ISDH to be exempt from the Indiana QMA training course and supervised practicum.
3. If the petition for exemption is granted, the individual will be required to take and pass the competency evaluation test before that individual can be certified as a QMA in Indiana.


2.   Refer to the RHHA training requirements.

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.What steps should a provider take prior to hiring a job candidate for a nurse aide position?

1. Provider should contact the Registry (automated telephone system or web-based system), enter the social security number of the aide, and confirm that the aide is in good standing.
2. Provider should request a criminal background check on the candidate from the Indiana State Police.

Next steps will be different for CNAs and RHHAs.


3. If acceptable results are received, can make an offer to hire.


3. Must meet the qualifications


3. Perform a competency evaluation on the aide.

4. Complete and send a paper or electronic Home Health Aide Registration Application to ISDH. 

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.What steps should a provider take every year to keep employees registered and/or certified?

Steps differ for these two types of aides.


QMA shall be recertified by the ISDH every year.  To be recertified, a QMA must obtain a minimum of six hours per calendar year of in-service education in the area of medication administration.  


Licensed HHAs and hospices must inform the ISDH registry that each RHHA has received at least 12 hours of annual inservice for the previous year. 

In March of each year, ISDH staff will remind each agency to complete a RHHA Record of Continuing Education on each RHHA.

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.What paper and electronic forms are needed?

The department has paper forms and an electronic version on a CD-ROM.  The following paper forms can be printed.  A written request can be made to the Department for a copy of the CD-ROM. 

Home Health Aide Registry Application 
RHHA Record of Continuing Education
Nurse Aide Registry CNA Renewal
CNA Final Examination Application
Test Application for Qualified Medication Aide
Documentation of QMA Practicum
QMA Record of Annual In-service Training

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.How do I report misconduct of a CNA, QMA, or RHHA?

State and federal rules specify that ISDH must investigate any allegation of client abuse, neglect, or misappropriation of a client’s property by an aide.  The rules indicate that once an investigation is completed and appeal rights have been exhausted, the Department can enter a substantiated finding on the Registry, and prohibit the aide from future employment as a CNA or RHHA.

Specialized QMA findings may be made related to fraudulent QMA certification or medication theft or misuse. 

As a first step, providers should follow their own policy to assist the client or patients.  Some steps could include (1) finding a new aide for needed care, (2) recommending family members contact the police for an investigation, and (3) suspending or terminating the aide. 

Complaints on aide misconduct can be reported by mailing or faxing a written description of the incidence(s), or filing an oral complaint at 800/246-8909.

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