AHCA/NCAL Urges The Centers For Medicare & Medicaid Services To Rescind Federal Staffing Mandate In Final Comments To The Agency

Reinforces Devastating Impact On Access To Care, Displacement Of Nearly 300,000 Nursing Home Residents

Advocacy; Regulations; Workforce
​Washington, D.C. – The American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL), representing more than 14,000 nursing homes and other long term care facilities across the country that provide care to approximately five million people each year, submitted their final comments today to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on the proposed federal staffing mandate for nursing homes. As the comment period closes today, AHCA/NCAL’s submission formally requests that CMS rescind the unfunded mandate. Implementation of the unfunded, one-size-fits-all rule amid a historic and nationwide labor shortage threatens the displacement of nearly 300,000 nursing home residents. 
In the comment cover letter, AHCA/NCAL President and CEO Mark Parkinson writes:
“[A]n unfunded federal staffing mandate will neither improve care nor address persistent staffing challenges. Without workforce development programs, staffing mandates do not create more caregivers, nor do they drive caregivers to work in long term care. Without funding, staffing mandates do not help nursing homes offer more competitive, higher-paying jobs … 
“If CMS proceeds with this Proposed Rule, it will severely limit access to care for  our nation’s seniors and individuals with disabilities. Without a pipeline of new caregivers and resources to recruit, nursing homes will be forced to downsize in order to meet these requirements or close entirely. Nearly 300,000 residents could be displaced from their current nursing home, and countless other seniors and family members will be forced to wait longer and search farther for the care they need … 
“We strongly urge CMS to rescind this impossible, unfunded proposed staffing mandate. It will only result in negative, unintended consequences for residents, staff, and the entire health care system.”
Since the federal staffing mandate was announced on September 1st, there has been a growing consensus among Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle, long term care advocates, and health care experts that the rule will hurt our most vulnerable and that the Biden Administration should reconsider the proposal. AHCA/NCAL notes in their cover letter that the study CMS commissioned this year concluded there was no single staffing level that would guarantee quality care. 
AHCA/NCAL also reaffirmed their shared desire to enhance quality of care while growing the long term care workforce. They highlighted their proactive and robust reform package, the Care for Our Seniors Act, which lays out comprehensive proposals that will aid in workforce recruitment and retention.
Read AHCA/NCAL’s full comments to CMS here.