Study finds nursing homes rarely have enough RNs on staff

RN staffing levels fall much lower than CMS standards in most nursing homes, according to a study published July 1 in Health Affairs.

"Seventy-five percent of nursing homes were almost never in compliance with what CMS expected their RN staffing level to be," the study's authors wrote. They also found half of skilled nursing facilities only met standard staffing benchmarks on 19 days or fewer between April 2017 and March 2018.

The study supports previous analyses that also revealed staffing problems in nursing homes, according to Skilled Nursing News. The problems came to light when CMS stopped using self-reported data in favor of the payroll-based journal system in April 2018. CMS gave almost 1,400 nursing homes one-star ratings after The New York Times and Kaiser Health News analyzed the PBJ data and found a large gap between self-reported and payroll-based staffing records.

Going forward, the study's authors advise improved measures of staffing levels based on day-to-day variation rather than averages, among other measures.

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