The Biden administration said Friday that the federal government will, for the first time, regulate staffing levels in nursing homes in response to the systemic problems nursing homes have exposed. Mass COVID-19 Deaths.
While allies of the elderly and disabled have sought such regulation for decades, the proposed threshold is far lower than many advocates would like. It also drew the immediate ire of the nursing home industry, which said it amounted to an impossible task.
Criticism expected, but promise made with fanfare President Joe Biden’s 2022 State of the Union Address Details of the speech were revealed as many Americans were off the news due to the holiday weekend.
“We are working to ensure that no nursing home can increase profits at the expense of residents’ safety,” the president said in a statement. An opinion piece in USA Today.
The American Healthcare Association, which lobbies nursing facilities, called the proposal “unfathomable,” saying it would exacerbate existing problems and cost families billions of dollars.
“We want to convince the administration never to finalize this rule because it’s unfounded, unfunded and impractical,” said AHCA Chairman Mark Parkinson, a former Democratic governor of Kansas.
The proposed rule, which is now in a public comment period and will take years to fully take effect, would require the equivalent of three hours per resident per day, with more than half an hour from registered nurses. The rules also require facilities to have a registered nurse on staff 24 hours a day.
Nursing staff in U.S. nursing homes work an average of about 3.6 hours per resident per day, with registered nurses working a little over half an hour, according to government reports.
Still, the administration insists that most of the country’s roughly 15,000 nursing homes, which house about 1.2 million people, must add staff under the proposed rules.
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), called the move an “important first step.” CMS oversees nursing homes.
A senior White House official, speaking on condition of anonymity before the announcement, said the Biden administration was willing to review staffing thresholds after implementation.
Stacy Sanders, an aide to Health Secretary Xavier Becerra, said: “I would caution anyone who thinks the status quo — that there is no federal floor for nursing home staffing — is more critical than our proposed standards. Desirable people.” “This standard will increase staffing levels in nursing homes by more than 75 percent, bring more nursing assistants to the bedside, and ensure that every nursing home has a RN present 24/7.”
The new threshold is substantially lower than what advocates have long focused on. Landmark 2001 CMS-funded research It is recommended that each resident receive an average of 4.1 hours of care per day.
Most U.S. facilities do not meet this threshold. Even that is insufficient, many advocates say, without considering quality of life, only to determine the extent to which residents may suffer potential harm.
Supporters were initially elated after the Democratic president raised the issue in his State of the Union address, anticipating the most significant change for residents since the Nursing Home Reform Act of 1987. That changed after the release of a copy of a new CMS-funded study on nursing home reform.theme Accidentally posted this weekclaiming that “there is no obvious platform for maximizing quality and safety.”
Supporters are frustrated, saying they feel betrayed by government officials they consider allies. As news of the proposal became public earlier Friday, the reaction from some intensified.
Richard Mollot, leader of the Coalition for Long-Term Care Communities, called it “completely inadequate” and a “once in a generation opportunity” missed that “disregarded any evidence” of what residents needed and failed to deliver promise. The heart of Biden’s promise. He begrudgingly admits that the 24/7 RN rule can bring small improvements to the worst facilities, but his criticism is drying up.
He called the move “heartbreaking” and “disgusting” and said it would do more harm than good, see the government recognize understaffed housing and jeopardize wrongful death lawsuits.
“It’s a huge dereliction of duty,” he said. “We continue to allow nursing homes to stockpile people and deceive the public.”
current law Only requires families to be “adequately” staffed, but it leaves almost all interpretation to the state. Thirty-eight states and the District of Columbia have their own staffing regulations. Some are so low that advocates say they’re pointless, and law enforcement, taken as a whole, is often helpless.
For frontline nurse aides, this problem has long been evident — a cadre of underpaid facility workers, overwhelmingly female, and disproportionately represented minority cadres — and the residents themselvesTheir bells go unanswered, their showers become less frequent, they starve and wait for help with food.
The coronavirus pandemic has claimed the lives of more than 167,000 U.S. nursing home residents, sparking the greatest focus on understaffing in history.But it follows that many families See their staffing become leaner.
Across all job types, nursing home employment was 218,200 fewer than it was in February 2020, when the first U.S. coronavirus outbreak hit nursing homes outside Seattle, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
AHCA has waged a relentless campaign alleging crumbling facilities, inadequate Medicaid subsidies, widespread hiring problems and rampant housing closures. While there have been sporadic factory closures, the profitability of housing has been repeatedly exposed, with critics arguing that workers would come if they paid higher wages.
Katie Smith Sloan, head of LeadingAge, which represents nonprofit nursing homes, said rules requiring facilities to hire additional staff come at a time when the industry is already in a workforce crisis and “simply has no one to hire.” Meaningless.
“It would be an understatement to say we are disappointed by choosing to move forward with proposed staffing ratios despite clear evidence against President Biden,” she said.