What They Are Saying: Lawmakers & Long Term Care Advocates Continue To Raise Concerns Over Federal Staffing Mandate

Advocacy; Regulations; Workforce
Local long term care advocates, as well as Members of Congress, continue to sound the alarm that the one-size-fits-all federal staffing mandate for nursing homes proposed by the Biden Administration will further limit vulnerable seniors’ access to care. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced its proposed rule despite their own study finding no single staffing level would guarantee quality care. 
A report by the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living (AHCA/NCAL) found that access to nursing home care is already a growing crisis because of nationwide labor shortages, rising inflation and chronic underfunding. As of June 2023, 55 percent of nursing homes are limiting admissions, nearly half of nursing homes have days-long waitlists and 24 percent of nursing homes have closed a unit, floor or wing due to labor shortages. AHCA/NCAL warns this crisis will worsen with an unfunded federal staffing mandate. 
Read what Members of Congress and local long term care advocates are saying about the proposed rule and the negative implications for seniors:  
“The unique needs and challenges present in regional and local workforces show us that one-size-fits-all mandatory minimum staffing standards are not appropriate policy.” 
“The proposed rule is completely out of touch with Nebraska’s reality. This proposed rule isn’t a path to quality. It is a path to closure.”
“It does not make sense to saddle an industry that is crying out for help to attract and retain qualified caregivers with an arbitrary and potentially unfunded mandate that providers know they cannot meet for lack of qualified staff.” 
“A federal staffing mandate that requires more employees than are available simply means that more nursing homes will have to limit admissions or close wings of their facilities if they can’t increase staffing levels to be in compliance. In many rural areas, where access is already difficult, nursing homes could shut down completely, forcing seniors to leave their communities and live farther away from loved ones.”

Brendan Williams, President, New Hampshire Health Care Association (NHHCA): 
“Despite federal data showing that the COVID-19 pandemic contributed to massive job losses for nursing and residential care facilities – with the workforce 218,200 workers smaller last month than pre-pandemic – the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Biden Administration has proposed an unfunded staffing mandate for nursing homes… The Biden proposal is a regulatory Death Star aimed at nursing homes that is fatally undermined by its bad engineering.  Let’s hope the resistance blows it up.” 
Read what more experts are saying about the federal staffing mandate HERE and HERE.