Mandating federal staffing ratios for nursing homes would accelerate the labor shortage across the continuum of care and reduce access to care for America’s seniors, AHA and the American Health Care Association told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on April 3.
“We anticipate many nursing homes will be forced to further reduce their capacity and even close their doors if they are unable to meet these staffing mandates,” the organizations wrote. “This would accelerate the domino effect across the entire continuum of care and leave vulnerable seniors with fewer care options. Furthermore, mandating staffing levels is a simplistic, one-size-fits-all approach to the needs of complex and unique nursing home residents and patients.”
As CMS prepares to issue a federal staffing minimum for nursing homes this year, the letter instead urges the agency and other policy makers to: support a temporary visa option for registered nurses and apprenticeship, loan repayment and other incentive programs to retain and attract talent; extend COVID-19 public health emergency flexibilities that provide nurse aides with job experience to become certified nursing assistants; and examine the business practices of travel nurse staffing agencies.