Last Friday, the White House and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released their long-awaited proposal for a federal minimum staffing mandate in nursing homes.
The proposal would require Medicare and Medicaid nursing homes to provide a baseline minimum 0.55 hours of care from a registered nurse per resident per day and 2.45 hours of care from a nurse aide per resident per day, Skilled Nursing News reports. Non-rural nursing homes will have three years to comply with the standards and rural nursing homes will have five. Over 75% of current nursing homes will be required to hire new staff under the rules.
LeadingAge President and CEO Katie Smith Sloan expressed her disappointment in the rules:
To say that we are disappointed that President Biden chose to move forward with the proposed staffing ratios despite clear evidence against them is an understatement.
But labor unions applauded the president’s decisions, saying that the new mandates would protect patients and workers, according to NPR. SEIU International President Mary Kay Henry said that nursing home workers suffered greatly under COVID-19, and that she looks forward to the “bold reform” that should provide “better, safer working conditions.”
According to a White House Fact Sheet, the proposed rule would also require an RN to be on staff 24/7 and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will begin working on oversight to increase enforcement of existing standards. The Health Resources and Services Administration will also invest $75 million in nursing scholarships and tuition reimbursement.