AHCA/NCAL Reacts to the Biden Administration’s Plan to Strengthen Oversight of Poorest-Performing Nursing Homes

Regulations; Survey and Certification; Workforce

WASHINGTON, D.C. —  Today, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and assisted living communities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, released a statement in reaction to the Biden Administration’s announcement on strengthening oversight of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Special Focus Facilities program for nursing homes.

The statement is attributable to Mark Parkinson, president and CEO at AHCA/NCAL:

“We appreciate some of the steps the Biden Administration is making today to address the small portion of chronically, poor performing nursing homes as well as grant opportunities to help address our long term care labor crisis. However, we remain concerned that the rhetoric surrounding these reforms is degrading to the millions of nursing home caregivers who are committed to caring for their residents like their own family and have risked their lives serving on the frontlines during this pandemic. 

“Residents are not victims of the nursing home industry. Too many were victims of a vicious virus that targets the elderly as well as terrible public policy decisions—made by both parties—that failed to support and prioritize our most vulnerable. We hope to work with the Administration to fully appreciate the role of nursing homes in our nation’s health care system, the dedication that our caregivers have to their residents, and the need for policy that pushes improvement, not punishment.
“The Special Focus Facilities program is supposed to identify facilities in need of improvement and assistance. Escalating citations and penalties have neither helped turn these facilities around nor prevented other facilities from becoming chronic poor performers. Last year, we proposed substantial reforms, including a five-step process on how to address chronic, poor performing nursing homes. The survey system needs to adopt this process to make meaningful changes for the residents in these facilities.” 
“Meanwhile, much more is needed if we wish to rebuild and expand the long term care workforce. Nursing homes have experienced the worst job losses of ​any ​health care sector. Analysts​ have projected that it will require billions of dollars to hire more than one hundred thousand more nurses and nurse aides if a federal staffing minimum moves forward. Long term care needs a concerted and considerable investment to recruit and retain more frontline caregivers and address access to care issues for millions of seniors.”