What They Are Saying: U.S. House Ways & Means Committee Chair, Health Care Advocates Add To Growing List Of Voices Sounding The Alarm On Proposed Staffing Mandate For Nursing Homes

Advocacy; Regulations; Workforce

With the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announcing its proposed rule for a staffing requirement for nursing homes, voices from across the country are expressing concern that a federal mandate without funding and supportive measures to help facilities increase their workforce will further limit vulnerable seniors’ access to care, especially in rural communities. Even after a leaked CMS study revealed that no single staffing level would guarantee quality care, and previous statements from CMS about the flaws of a one-size-fits-all-mandate, the Biden Administration still moved forward and rolled out the misguided rule. 
Read what lawmakers as well as patient and health care advocates are saying about the proposed mandate and the consequences for our nation’s seniors and the long term care workforce:
​“Ensuring and expanding access to health care in rural and underserved areas, especially for America’s seniors, must be a priority. Unfortunately, that will not happen under President Biden’s proposal to impose a federal mandate for nursing home staffing levels. The Biden Administration’s own estimates of the impact of their proposal reveal it would cost nursing homes more than $40 billion and disproportionately burden nursing homes in rural and underserved areas. This one-size-fits-all deal would ripple through local communities, siphoning staff away from other facilities in desperate need of personnel such as hospitals and hospice facilities, worsening already chronic staff shortages. While President Biden pursues harmful mandates that may shutter nursing homes across the country, Congress will continue to look at solutions that will actually improve access to care for all Americans.” 
“Rural nursing homes are disappearing due to a shrinking direct care workforce, not a lack of quality standards. The uniform application of minimum staffing requirements doesn’t get to the root of the problem: we need greater investment in developing the pipeline of skilled workers for these positions.
“We urge the administration to work toward solutions that address this crisis and support providers in recruiting and retaining the workforce needed to ensure that all older adults can remain in the communities of their choice.”  
“Assisted living communities are at risk of losing staff. No matter where an assisted living community sits on this continuum, a federal minimum staffing mandate threatens to take away the essential staff on which these communities depend to provide high quality care for hundreds of thousands of residents.”
“While not directed at the senior living industry, there will certainly be communities – such as continuing care retirement communities with a nursing component, and those who participate in the Medicaid home- and community-based services program – impacted if the proposed CMS rule is implemented. The administration should redirect its efforts on ways to increase the workforce pipeline for the long-term care industry.” 
Read what more experts are saying about the federal staffing mandate HERE.​