Are nursing homes ready to comply with new staffing standards?

While only 19% of nursing homes across the U.S. currently meet the new staffing standards finalized by the Biden administration in April, most facilities will have between two and five years to get in compliance, according to KFF.

Nursing homes in urban regions will have until 2026 to meet the new, overall 3.48 hours per resident per day federal staffing requirement. Facilities in rural areas will have until 2027 to meet the new standard.

But in addition to the 3.48 hours per resident day requirement, the new standards also include a registered nurse work a minimum 0.55 hours per resident day and 2.45 for nurse aides. To meet these more specific staffing requirements, nursing facilities in urban areas have until 2027 and those in rural regions have until 2029, according to KFF.

Upon the final enactment dates, facilities in the U.S. will be required to meet staffing standards of 3.48 hours per resident per day, 0.55 hours per resident day and 2.45 for nurse aides. 

Readiness, however, is something each facility must work toward in the coming months, in order to continue receiving federal funding from CMS. 

An analysis of the current landscape by KFF revealed that:

  • Privately owned, for-profit nursing homes are less likely to be among the 19% of U.S. facilities that currently do meet the revised standards.

  • Nursing facilities can request an extension on the compliance timelines, those in rural settings could be more likely to receive an exemption or extension.

  • In Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas and Louisiana, 5% or fewer nursing facilities currently meet the new staffing standards.

  • In Alaska, North Dakota, Maine, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, D.C., 50% or more nursing facilities currently meet the new staffing standards.

For its analysis, KFF looked at Nursing Home Compare data from April 2024 for 14,448 nursing facilities in the U.S.

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