Federal staffing mandate will reduce access to care for Georgia seniors
For immediate release
Sept. 6, 2023
Sept. 6, 2023
The Biden administration announced Friday new minimum staffing regulations for long term care homes that will result in less access for seniors who require these services, the Georgia Health Care Association said today.
“Georgia's skilled nursing homes fill an irreplaceable need for seniors and their families, who want peace of mind that their loved ones are getting proper care,” said Chris Downing, President & CEO of GHCA. “This one-size-fits-all approach from the Biden administration mandates hiring a trained workforce that simply doesn't exist in enough numbers to fulfill it. Homes that aren't able to hire enough – either because they can't find trained nurses or because this mandate is unfunded and therefore unaffordable – will face difficult choices, such as reducing the number of beds available or even closing their doors completely.
“At a time when Georgia's senior population is growing exponentially, this mandate will reduce supply of these services as demand surges,” Downing said.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services rule, the first of its kind in history, would require 24/7 staffing by an RN, triple the 8-hour standard in place today. CMS estimates that 75 percent of nursing homes in the country would need to hire additional staff to meet the new mandates. The new rule comes in spite of the fact that CMS's own research study concluded that no particular staffing level guarantees quality care. Further, the proposed rule does not account for other vital staff that are currently providing invaluable assessment, care and support such as LPNs, therapists and social workers.
“In urban and suburban areas, nursing homes compete with hospitals, doctors' offices and other providers to hire and retain nurses, and all of these providers are facing the same shortage,” said Downing. “In many rural areas, finding enough RNs to fulfill just that one aspect of this rule is simply not possible. The loss of small-town nursing homes means seniors leaving their communities and moving farther from their families in search of long term care – and that's if they're able to find access elsewhere.”
The mandate does not come with additional Medicaid funding, even though it will cost billions more annually to implement by CMS's own estimation.
“Nursing homes need supportive solutions – not unrealistic and unfunded staffing mandates – to enhance our workforce, improve quality and protect access to care for seniors,” Downing said.
For additional information, please contact Devon Barill at firstname.lastname@example.org.