Requirements for Basic Life Support

Would Pediatric Advanced Life Support (PALS), Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS) or Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) for healthcare workers be accepted instead of Basic Life Support (BLS)?

The requirements for BLS certification are outlined in “Chapter Five – Clinical Staffing” of the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) Health Center Program Compliance Manual (Compliance Manual – Chapter Five: Clinical Staffing), as well as the “Clinical Staffing” section of the HRSA Health Center Site Visit Protocol (SVP) (Site Visit Protocol: Clinical Staffing).  Per “Element C, Procedures for Review of Credentials” of the SVP, the health center must demonstrate compliance with Question Five by providing current documentation of BLS or comparable training completed through licensure or certification for all clinical staff, including Licensed Independent Practitioners (LIPs), Other Licensed or Certified Practitioners (OLCPs) and Other Clinical Staff (OCS).    

On March 8, 2023, additional guidance was posted publicly regarding this question stating HRSA does not define the specific type of BLS training required to demonstrate compliance with this requirement; therefore, the health center is responsible to define what constitutes BLS training including the extent, type, required documentation and whether there is variation based on provider type (Requirements for BLS – FAQ).

A health center’s decision to accept PALS training, ACLS training, CPR for healthcare workers, or BLS is dependent on the types of patients the health center serves and the roles of clinical staff.  BLS is typically considered the baseline requirement due to its comprehensive coverage of basic life-saving skills.  Additionally, PALS is often necessary for those health centers that provide care to a significant number of pediatric patients.  

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