As the country recovers from the pandemic, it is key that we do not forget about some of the critical shortcomings of the American nursing home system. In the midst of the COVID pandemic, family members, administrators, and others noticed some serious flaws in the system that had a huge impact on residents, staff, and families as they struggled to properly care for aging loved ones and residents. Older Americans are among the most vulnerable in our communities, and it became apparent that protecting them would require some key changes to the nursing home industry.
Because there is ample evidence to support the fact that higher staff numbers equal better care, part of the changes proposed by the Biden administration in early 2022, was a focused effort on establishing minimum staffing requirements for nursing and care facilities. This would mean a regulated standard that all facilities would have to abide by in order to be considered in good standing and provide the best care for residents. After this announcement, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) started to survey residents, nursing home managers, and other key parties, “determining the minimum level and type of staffing needed to enable safe and quality care in nursing homes.”
To do so, CMS will be conducting a comprehensive study, and here’s what you should know.
What the Staffing Study Contains
- CMS intends to use their study to “inform future proposed rulemaking on minimum staffing requirements” which will hopefully be announced in 2023. The current rules in place have proven to be too vague, so CMS is hoping their new study will help make guidelines clear. These new rules will be enforced and facilities held accountable if they fail to meet the requirements.
- CMS issued a Request for Information which yielded 3,000 responses from advocacy groups, long-term care ombudsmen, industry associations, labor unions and organizations, nursing home staff, industry experts, family members, and caretakers of nursing home residents.
- One major concern with instituting staff minimums is cost. Medicaid labor reimbursement varies from state to state and often does not keep up with current labor costs, sparking concern over whether facilities will be able to afford it. It’s been suggested that a benchmark instead of an absolute minimum number be set to offset the strain of meeting the requirement.
- The CMS study will be a mixed methods study which will include a literature review, site visits and analysis of nursing homes across 15 states, a quantitative analysis comparing staffing numbers to quality of care, and a cost-benefit analysis.
Read more about this study and what is involved, as well as next steps, by visiting the CMS website and fact sheet.
If you or a loved one have been a victim of nursing home abuse, call Gharibian Law (877-875-1119) today for a free consultation and the best legal representation.