Kemp leads on nursing home access, opposes federal mandate
GHCA CEO: ‘It's reassuring – in fact, it's an honor – to see Gov. Kemp lend his respected voice to this cause'The Georgia Health Care Association thanks Gov. Brian Kemp for leading on protecting access to nursing home care for Georgia's seniors. Kemp joined 14 fellow governors on a letter to President Biden asking him to reconsider “unfunded mandates and instead enter into a genuine state-federal dialogue on how best to serve residents of long-term care facilities in our states.”
“As we continue our efforts to stop a misguided policy that will result in fewer beds and perhaps fewer homes available to Georgia's seniors at a time when demand is growing, it's reassuring – in fact, it's an honor – to see Gov. Kemp lend his respected voice to this cause,” said Chris Downing, the President and CEO of GHCA. “Gov. Kemp and legislators are working together to expand the pipeline of student talent into the healthcare profession, but our leaders recognize that our state today faces a nursing shortage that's at crisis levels. An arbitrary staffing mandate won't result in more nurses; it'll result in less access for patients.”
The Biden administration's Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently issued a rule that will in time require nurse staffing minimums far beyond what many Georgia nursing homes currently employ. A recent study found the mandate would require the hiring of 3,652 more nurses at a cost of $187 million per year in Georgia – numbers that are simply unachievable and unaffordable.
The governors' letter states that the onerous regulations “will force many long-term care facilities in our communities to close, eroding access to healthcare for some of our most vulnerable citizens” and does not consider “the unique needs of facilities and the communities they serve.”
The letter points out that the CMS regulation contradicts its own study which found the staffing minimums don't guarantee quality outcomes and that they should consider nurse pay and local workforce availability. The governors ask Biden to abandon a one-size-fits-all approach and instead join their workforce development efforts.
“The nursing workforce shortage is not a new issue and our states are making significant investments to address it,” the governors wrote. “We are creating and expanding innovative programs to entice young students to pursue careers in healthcare, while working in partnership with industry on this issue. That includes the expansion of nursing school capacity, grants to hire more nurses, and pioneering new healthcare apprenticeship programs that start in high school.”
Click here to read the governors' letter. Click here to read U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter's op-ed in the Savannah Morning News on why he's pushing in Congress to stop the mandate.